Dave Solsky’s data analytic company Envizi is riding the massive wave of environmental net zero activism that’s coming out of governments and corporates globally, with plans to double the size of the company in the next 12 to 18 months.
We caught up with Solsky who co-founded the data company 12 years ago, after a tip by an observer about the company’s rapid growth, not just in numbers but in the wider share of reporting initiatives it’s dealing with – in everything from Scope 3 emissions supply chain, to ESG reporting, property risk and even diversity.
Solsky told The Fifth Estate on Tuesday that the appetite from a widening array of stakeholders and the climate focused actions of the Biden administration in the US in addition to that Europe meant his company was now directly liaising with chief investment officers and chief financial officers.
“Everyone talks about the Larry Fink letter [from the BlackRock chief executive] encouraging all his portfolio companies to be net zero; that’s been a driver, and there’s no doubt the US federal administration under Biden’s multi trillion dollar energy plan has really changed the landscape.”
The investor community was also driving things hard with JP Morgan for instance committing $US2.5 trillion over 10 years to “advance long-term solutions that address climate change and contribute to sustainable development” and Morgan Stanley has also making massive commitments to similar “clean green agenda”.
Competition with the EU will only intensify the momentum, Solsky said.
“Put all these things together and you can see money is moving to ESG. It’s come as a bit of a perfect storm in the first months of ’21.”
The company could see two clear trends emerging: greater engagement from clients about how to streamline reporting, and how to make data more widely available to different stakeholder groups.
“We are quickly becoming a multi stakeholder platform.”
CFOs and CIOs were engaging more directly as they realised they needed to keep tabs on how their own net zero commitments are tracking in a rapidly changing world where renewables prices are frequently reset, timelines for zero commitments are increasingly updated by various jurisdictions and there’s a fast evolving general landscape around sustainability.
Solsky said the demand is for how his tech company can help underpin financial reports and integrate “data lakes” into broader analytics programs, ESG and the broader eco system.
The people lagging in this are those in the North American market which has been hampered by the politics of the past few years.
“The American market is clearly behind the European market and what we know about the US market is when they move quickly and at scale.
“The level of inbound activity on our website in the past six months is more than in the last six years combined. That’s the level of engagement.
“Call it ESG, call it sustainability or call it net zero – people are realising that this is a whole of organisation undertaking.”
The world was “rapidly moving away from warm and fuzzy reporting” to a “much higher level of transparency and higher accountability”.
The company had in the past four months employed an additional 15 people taking total numbers to 65, with 10 in the US and five in the UK.
“And we’ve got plans to double in the next 18 months.”