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Scope 5 Helping Businesses Find New Insights Into Their Sustainability Data

With the continued, rampant growth of our community come countless opportunities to engage with new, innovative companies and the brains behind them. Today, meet Scope 5 founder Yoram Bernet.

Tell us about yourself. How did you come to co-found Scope 5?

I enjoyed twenty-plus years in high tech, at Bell Labs and at Microsoft. I've always had a passion for our natural environment. Around the time my two boys were born, I developed a consumer application and founded a company that helped homeowners understand their carbon footprint. Some of our users suggested that we talk with their employers about what we were doing. I pulled in John Daly, who became our co-founder, and we went to a number of enterprises with our platform. They loved the simplicity and the easy user experience and asked if we could help them with their own sustainability data challenges. Those conversations led to a pivot in early 2011 and to the launch of Scope 5 with a focus on helping organizations efficiently track and manage a broad range of sustainability data.

What exactly is Scope 5?

Scope 5 is a cloud-based software platform that changes the way organizations interact with their sustainability data. Customers use Scope 5 to collect, analyze and report on data ranging from energy and carbon emissions to such esoteric metrics as tree canopy and salmon count. Scope 5 differs from other solutions in its simple, lightweight approach, which manifests in everything from ease of setup and use to affordable cost. We help customers zero in on only what they need.

What do you see as the potential for Scope 5 to impact business?

Organizations using Scope 5 gain newfound transparency into the resources they use — this includes financial costs as well as externalized costs such as carbon emissions. Because Scope 5 is so user-friendly, employees engage quickly. This magnifies impact because it is easy for Scope 5 users to find the 'low-hanging fruit' and to drive positive impact and change. We call this “the power of we,” which is a huge benefit that customers really appreciate. For example, because Scope 5 is in the cloud any user can easily create dashboards with charts and reports showcasing various levels of sustainability detail. These reports ultimately find their way to executives, customers, investors and other stakeholders who benefit from a direct, real-time understanding of the impact of sustainability initiatives. The transparency of information creates a snowball effect. For example, because the data is transparent and available to all users, people get excited by what they see, which could inspire more reporting, a-ha moments and action. We have some client sites competing with other sites in different countries or states. This leads to improvements in operations, materials sourcing and other initiatives that reduce negative environmental impact while positively benefitting the company bottom line.

We regularly see these benefits translate into reductions in waste generated, reductions in carbon emissions, reductions in resources used and ultimately, real cost savings.

Why did you feel it was important to come to the Sustainable Brands conference?

The Sustainable Brands conference provided a great opportunity to learn what prospective customers are thinking, the state of emerging and evolving reporting protocols, and it provided an organized way to collect pearls of wisdom from thought leaders in the field. It also offered a great opportunity to get the Scope 5 name out and increase recognition for our product and the results we are delivering to customers.

What is the most promising innovation for sustainability that you see (in your work or in general), and what are the most immediate hurdles?

There are so many promising innovations in the field of sustainability. I would categorize them in two categories:

  1. 'Sustainability innovations' themselves: alternative energy sources; products that have dramatically improved energy efficiency; new, efficient manufacturing processes; cradle to grave stewardship, etc.
  2. 'Meta-sustainability' innovations: the things that are making sustainability a new societal norm — the reporting bodies and protocols, the social media tools, the forums and conferences (such as SB '13), the emerging research that shows how sustainability does make good business sense and so on.

Relative to sustainability innovations specifically, we need to inspire behavior change so that the sustainability innovations are accepted, fostered and leveraged. We need every person on the planet asking, "What can I do to change our trajectory?" and demanding from themselves, and others, the behavior changes that will be required. This is where the 'meta-sustainability' innovations come in. These tools make it possible to realize the value of the sustainability innovations. I believe that Scope 5 is proving to be an important part of the meta piece because it engages, facilitates telling concrete stories and inspires behavior change.

Relative to hurdles — the biggest hurdle is establishing sustainability as a social norm. We want being sustainable to be second nature. We're not there yet. Too many people still consider sustainability as a 'nice to have' or 'the right thing to do' vs. the natural thing to do. We need to get people to think of sustainability as a core part of every decision —whether it's how to run a business or how our households are managed and run.

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