Mauro Cozzi, who previously launched successful start-up called Researchably, co-founded Emitwise in 2019 and has since secured support from a raft of Silicon Valley investors, including former Uber CEO Ryan Graves. Cozzi’s technology aggregates data across businesses and maps their operational and supply chain emissions automatically to help organisations to drive value from environmental sustainability.
We caught up with Cozzi to talk about Emitwise’s exciting journey of success, what drives his passion for climate action and who inspires him to make the world a better place.
Tell us about you and Emitwise – what’s your mission?
Emitwise is a technology company whose mission is to accelerate the transition to a net zero carbon world. We achieve this by empowering businesses to understand their environmental impacts and giving them the tools to profitably reduce their carbon footprint.
I’ve always been an entrepreneur and Emitwise is my second company. I’m an engineer by training, but I’ve always loved to get involved in the full spectrum of business activities, from product development and design to the implementation and commercialisation of technology.
I’ve had the privilege of being involved with a number of social and environmental projects that were geared towards creating change within the capitalist system that we live in today. Businesses are outstanding at internalising meta-challenges and applying innovation and investment to address them. Given the urgency of the climate crisis that we face, business must be a key part of the solution, but to fulfil their role they need a clear line of sight on their value chain impacts. That’s where Emitwise comes in, to provide firms with state-of-the-art machine learning technology to monitor, report and reduce their emissions in line with science.
What drives you?
The idea of creating a world where you can truly maximise human utility – happiness, enjoyment, fulfilment – so as many people as possible can live comfortable and fulfilling lives.
What is your greatest achievement to date?
I am relatively early in my career, but to date I’m most proud of getting Emitwise off the ground. It’s all down to assembling a team of incredible minds in technology and carbon accounting who are deeply passionate about what they do, as well as the sphere of people that we have surrounded ourselves with, from our investors to our partners.
Working with people like Ryan Graves, one of the earliest employees at Uber, and companies like Greenhouse PR, is a testament to the strength of our mission and that we’ve been able to convince so many people to join us this far.
What are the challenges you face?
Our biggest challenge right now is scaling as fast as we can. There is an eye-popping level of disclosure nowadays, so sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the number of companies reaching out. It’s really encouraging to see so much activity in the space, but building technology and growing an organisation quickly requires laser focus. The climate clock is ticking and we’re always looking to zero in on the highest impact customers and activities.
What are you working on that’s getting you fired up and excited?
Our work with Generation Investment Management is ground-breaking. We’re helping one of their portfolios to start reporting its carbon footprint, and more importantly, to construct a decarbonisation pathway for the multiple companies within it. Working with lighthouse customers such as Generation, which has always been a pioneer in this space, is very exciting. When we deliver our results this year, I think it will be a blueprint for other investment organisations to follow.
I’m also very excited by the work we are doing to create a truly practical, global standard for pricing carbon within businesses. There’s been a lot of work around creating certifications and methodologies to quantify and embed carbon reduction. Emitwise is standing on the shoulders of giants in leveraging all the inspiring work that has been done to date – and empowering businesses and governments with practical, automated tools that make it easy to monitor and manage environmental impact.
Where do you want to take Emitwise next?
Our next step is moving from assisting single customers within a restricted number of regions to transforming entire organisations with global supply chains. We’re building that level of scalability into our company, so that as more and businesses come on board, we can help them engage their stakeholders on the mission to achieve net zero economies. To achieve this, we are always looking to hire the best global talent and to scale our business internationally.
At a personal level, we’re always hearing anecdotal examples where friends and contacts say that they are proud of us for creating jobs that help fight climate change.
We also see clear change happening within our customers using our software. We help environment and sustainability teams inspire change within their organisations by equipping them with state-of-the art tools that underpin decarbonisation strategies. The data empowers sustainability leaders to raise their voices – showing that sustainability is a driver of profitability, which always engages every seat around the board room table. From an investor point of view, we are creating evidence that investing in companies that fight climate change is good business.
Can you recommend a life- or game-changing book and useful website for our readers?
‘Founders at Work’ by Jessica Livingstone was life changing for me. It’s a beautiful narrative on the creation of some of the world’s biggest companies. It shows how tools such as Microsoft Excel started off as somebody’s pet project. It’s interesting to think about how many of the tools that we take for granted today started in somebody’s garage before becoming some of the most innovative solutions in the world.
Changing a small process within a large organisation can lead to thousands of lives being positively impacted, and even, for example, millions of tonnes of CO2 to be avoided. So, I think it’s a really inspiring book for anybody, but particularly for aspiring climate entrepreneurs.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Really think about the ‘why’ behind what you’re doing. At a macro level, it’s looking at what you’re working on in your career and as a person. At a micro level, it’s considering the reasoning behind everything at a task-to-task basis. That’s the world’s biggest hack, right?
If you really know why you’re doing something, you’ll know what’s next and how you should go about taking the next steps. I think it’s much more difficult and less fulfilling to work on projects when you don’t understand why.
Who inspires you the most and why?
Above all, my parents. They worked through extreme hardships growing up and demonstrated the value of perseverance and sheer strength of will. And despite having a relatively privileged upbringing myself, they always instilled these qualities in me, teaching me the importance of caring about others and the planet. They’re just normal people, living day-to-day lives, trying to make the world a better place and to me, that’s deeply inspiring.
Another person I’m inspired by is an entrepreneur called Insiya who runs a start-up called The Shellworks. They’re trying to disrupt the way we create materials so that that they are biodegradable. Insiya is one of those people who is going to fundamentally change the world by literally changing how we build things. She’s creating a team, developing extremely complex technology, and proving everybody who doubted her wrong.
We also recommend:
Greenhouse Pioneer: Rick Sandhu, Six Miles Across London (small.)
Greenhouse Pioneer: Climate Symphony
Greenhouse Pioneer: Nnimmo Bassey, Home of Mother Earth