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"Scotland is leading the UK with its innovative programme of decarbonisation"

In the lead up to the grand final of ClimateLaunchpad - the world’s biggest green ideas competition - we caught up with Scotland hopefuls Reshape Technology, Go Green Experts and Loch Electronics to find out their hopes for the final and what makes them tick.

The three will compete in the worldwide Grand Final in Amsterdam on 14-15 November, pitching against teams from 50 countries worldwide for prize money of up to €10,000 and a place on the renowned Climate-KIC Accelerator start-up development programme. Next up, Dominic Lavelle of Go Green Experts...

What is your company and product all about, in a nutshell?

We are Go Green Experts. We tell you how green companies really are by providing star ratings for companies based on their CO2 emissions and commitments to being green.

We are launching the business with ratings across the home energy sector (Electricity and Gas). In the UK there are 63 energy companies, of which 32 make claims to be “green”, but some companies are much greener than others. The greenest energy companies receive 5 stars out of 5.

This star rating system makes it much easier for individual and small business consumers to make green purchasing decisions in an otherwise confusing market. The idea came from my own attempts to reduce my carbon footprint. I found the advice out there to be confusing and it often recommended expensive hardware like solar panels, ground source heat pumps and electric vehicles. Big investments such as these put off many consumers.

In contrast switching energy supplier only takes a few minutes and will often save people money. It also massively reduces a household’s carbon footprint - but it needs to be to the right green provider to maximise the impact.

Tell us about your background.

My background is in Product and Proposition development for consumer facing organisations. I spent 8 years working in Energy which is particularly relevant to our start up given the opportunities for carbon savings in that sector. I’m also an economics graduate and chartered accountant.

What plans do you have for expansion?

We want to provide star ratings for the key sectors that impact individual and SME carbon footprints. These sectors include:

  1. Energy (electricity and gas)
  2. Banks and Investment institutions
  3. Food retailers
  4. Holiday companies
  5. Offsetting organisations

Once we have these in place we will provide unique advice to individual and SME consumers on how to go net carbon neutral quickly and at low cost.

The potential carbon savings from this consumer and SME behaviour change are enormous, which I find very exciting.

What’s your ultimate goal?

To build the number one green ratings & advice website in Europe.

What is your greatest achievement?

Obviously being one of the ClimateLaunchpad Scotland winners is right up there.

I am also really proud of the previous start-up I ran with 2 partners between 2007 and 2013 in the online financial education space. I learnt so much from running that company and it was a great feeling to earn a regular income from something I started myself.

Your views on Scotland and Edinburgh’s sustainability scene?

The Scottish Government is leading the way in the UK with its progressive and innovative programme of decarbonisation. The atmosphere of collaboration and support demonstrated by other Edinburgh based sustainability businesses has been amazing. It really engenders a sense of the possible and a can-do attitude to the climate crisis – climate communications can often be negative but in Scotland it is viewed also as an opportunity. Meeting the biggest crisis of our time will require organisations to work together and this is evident by the support we have received since we embarked on the ClimateLaunchpad journey.

What role did the support offered to you by ECCI/CLP play in your success?

The breadth of support and advice has been so helpful to my thinking. Chretien Herben from CLP is a very commercial guy who has launched his own start-ups. He helped a lot with our business model and pitch deck. Clare Wharmby is a genuine expert on all things Carbon related who helped ensure our business was going to have a big impact on consumer carbon footprints, which is fundamental to our proposition.

More widely the CLP process of producing the pitch deck is well thought through. I’ve launched many new products for large organisations and through that process I have engaged with a number of proposition design consultancies. The advice from ECCI and CLP is on a par with the best consultancies, the difference being that the latter charge tens of thousands of Euros for their expert advice.

How do you relax?

Films with my kids. Films with my wife. Getting out into the countryside on my bike.

Keep up with the action in this year's ClimateLaunchpad

Can't make it to the 2019 ClimateLaunchpad Global Grand Final in Amsterdam? Not to worry - Keynotes, sessions, & the Global Grand Final itself will be accessible via the ClimateLaunchpad livestream.