Addressing climate change is about the biggest, baddest, gnarliest problem any solution-loving entrepreneur could ask to tackle. Boy, do humans need help fast. The problem is so big and complicated that it’s hard to grasp the forces at work or to see what good the efforts to stop havoc have accomplished.
CARBON CONTROL™ takes a smart approach to the visibility issue by introducing a brand standard into the market. Like a USDA “ORGANIC” or “Fairtrade” certification, CARBON CONTROL™ distinguishes companies working to reduce carbon emissions by 3% each year. This mark establishes tangible measures for businesses to comply with and gives consumers a label to help them identify more environmentally friendly companies – growing a culture that encourages emissions reduction.
In addition to pushing for the adoption of it’s environmental standard marker, carboncontrol.com serves as an excellent resource for counteracting the effects of climate change by offering news, software solutions and educational materials, and by partnering with other environmentally conscious campaigns. CEO Darragh Kirby tells us more:
What’s your company about? What do you do? Who are your customers?
CARBON CONTROL™ is an independent environmental standard identified by a mark of approval that assures consumers and other interested stakeholders that the companies awarded the mark are committed to reducing their carbon emissions by 3% each year, giving them a competitive advantage.
The CARBON CONTROL™ standard has been developed by a team of environmental researchers, academics, and industry experts, arising from the founders’ award winning research. In summary, we help companies to easily measure and manage their annual emissions and we reward them with a mark that they can put on their products, website, and ads. CARBON CONTROL™ empowers consumers to identify and purchase from companies engaging in significant and verified actions to protect the environment. Our goal is to bring consumers and companies together in a powerful initiative to combat climate change and its destructive effects on our planet.
We aim to contribute significantly to climate change mitigation by supporting business organizations in reducing their carbon emissions and by providing assurance to consumers that those companies awarded the CARBON CONTROL™ mark are working to protect the environment by reducing their emissions by 3% or more annually. Our customers include accredited ISO auditing firms. Our full market, of course, includes companies legally obligated to report their annual emissions and any company reducing its annual carbon emissions by 3%, and it is not limited to companies already having environmental certificates.
What’s the greatest thing about your company/website? Why is it better than the competition?
We have a built-in web app that only our client companies and auditors can use. This app can be used by companies to measure their carbon emissions, and it also helps them to manage and reduce their carbon emissions by at least 3% per year. This is an extremely beneficial tool for companies, as it will not only calculate if they meet the emissions criteria for being awarded the CARBON CONTROL™ Standard Mark of Approval, but will also calculate their emissions in line with legislation. It will give them a breakdown in terms of the different types of greenhouse gas emissions that they are producing. The CARBON CONTROL™ software uses industry standard calculations and combines them with algorithms developed by the CARBON CONTROL™ founders in a unique and innovative way. IP has been established on this software. The founders are industry experts and the methodologies used for measuring emissions are based on international best practice, accepted, and recognized standards.
Darragh Kirby, CEO of CARBON CONTROL
How’d you come up with the name for your company?
The mark was designed by the founders and the mark won an international design award. We brainstormed a hundred names and designs, then presented them to a focus group of consumers. They liked the name CARBON CONTROL™ because it appealed to them as a claim that can be trusted and as an authority. The word CONTROL appealed strongly to them as honest and reliable, over other claims such as ‘low’, ‘less’, ‘reduced’, ‘neutral’, ‘zero’, or ‘free’. The words CARBON CONTROL™ were also perceived as an assurance and a guarantee that companies are controlling their carbon footprint. The words were also perceived by consumers as an empowerment for the consumer to take control of their carbon footprint by purchasing products with the mark.
The innovative CO2/footprint mark was perceived as noticeable, distinctive, unique, understandable and friendly for a consumer audience. The words translate well in Latin languages, too. The mark is concise and easy to read, and is most relevant to the current climate. The brand name is perfect for the target market and assures consumers about the promised product benefits and qualities. The brand name and logo have a lot of desirable qualities for the target market, and CarbonControl.com is very easy to remember. Carbon Control is easy to pronounce, recognize, remember, and provides assurance for consumers.
What time do you usually start work each day? How many hours a day do you usually work?
7 am, 12-14 hours a day.
When’s the last time you went on vacation and where did you go?
1 year ago I won a scholarship trip to Germany to attend a business model master class with the canvas guru Dr. Alexander Osterwalder.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
Started with 2 people, now have 5 people.
A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually go after yours?
Inspired by a master class week with Dr. Alexander Osterwalder – it changed my perception of business and gave me confidence to help the planet in sustainable business fashion.
How do you handle frustration? What has been your biggest professional frustration?
I just handle it by reminding myself that health and happiness are more important than high blood pressure caused by business. My biggest professional frustration was trying to write a thesis and do a startup at the same time. I got the thesis done eventually.
What’s your office environment like? Do you listen to music? Watch movies? Play video games?
We surround the office with music, healthy food, and gym equipment to do some daily exercise – for a healthy body, spirit, and mind.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
The CARBON CONTROL™ mission is to become the world’s first internationally recognized carbon brand, in 5 years to be to the environment what Fairtrade is to the third world. Across the developed world, consumers who want to purchase from companies that are helping combat the problem of inequality in pay and social conditions in the Third World look for the Fairtrade mark. When it comes to the environment, there is no equivalent.
Who or what inspires YOU? Role models? Quotes? Running? Video games? Snack food?
…to tackle the climate change problem with simple ideas.
Smog-Eating Pathways – Amazing!
How’d you fund this venture?
I won a startup contest
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.
What other advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get started?
Milk experts for advice and get all first-time consultancy for free. Be careful giving away equity. Serendipity is great, so turn up at all like-minded events (for free if you can). My favorite quote: Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.
What would you do if you had a year off and $500,000 to spend (on something other than work)?
Start up an incubator / accelerator for social enterprises with good causes.
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur? If not, what’ll make you feel successful?
Not yet a successful entrepreneur. I will feel successful when CARBON CONTROL™ becomes the world’s first internationally recognized carbon brand.
Number 1 country you’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t yet? (And why that country?)
India, because I like the people and the culture.
Three people (other than you) we should follow on Twitter and why?
- Elon Musk – smart tweets about his space rockets and new energy ventures.
- Guy Kawasaki – because he is a true thought leader for startups.
- David Meerman Scott – for great marketing tips.
Would you mind sharing some specific numbers (funding, revenue, visitors) that highlight your growth?
38,319 views on YouTube. 1,500 likes on Facebook. Over 50,000 Euros in free prize funding (without giving away equity). We just went to market and we are currently working with a huge client (CertificationEurope.com). As of now, our revenue is 12,500 Euros. 2013 was the year of the pilot testing; we received extremely positive feedback. 2014 is the year we make noise.
Where else should our readers find you online?