BSc Information Systems
CEO and Co-Founder, Earthchain
How are you helping to tackle the climate crisis?
We provide a digital platform which enables banks and retailers to educate consumers about the impact of where and how they spend their money, incentivise behavioural changes, support high integrity climate projects with unprecedented transparency, and make it easier for small businesses to measure their emissions and set targets.
How did you get to where you are now?
After graduating I didn’t want to see another computer again for quite some time. I worked in tourism for a while as a country manager in Switzerland which was challenging and gave me great skills in customer service and dealing with complaints. A few years later I was offered a development job developing and delivering payment systems to financial institutions in Switzerland. I then spent 20 years working in payments including co-founding a software company. I exited that company in 2020 and used the time and experience to focus on building a new digital climate action platform to integrate into payment systems. I recognised that greenhouse gas emissions are fundamentally an externality of consumption, and that payments data are a useful proxy for consumption data, and that payment systems and banking apps are a great venue to intervene and help consumers learn better habits. Demonstrating our approach to the Gold Standard Foundation and Lloyds Banking Group and getting an enormously positive response was extremely encouraging.
What do you do as part of your role?
As a startup CEO it’s everything. From technical work, to sales and marketing, to conferences, consulting, product design and concept testing – a real mix. There’s genuinely never a dull day.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I like that what we do is positive, aiming for a better world. I am an optimist on humanity’s ability to adapt, but it won’t happen top-down in the appropriate timescale. We need a consumer-led approach too, and I want to be a part of that. All this technology which is almost “weaponised” to sell stuff to us could be hacked around to sell positive behaviours to use instead. I love building the relationships, connections and partnerships which could help us do that at scale.
What advice would you give to University of Leeds students wanting to pursue a similar career?
There is no one direct way to your destination, and it’s good to do other things along the way – work in a front-line job for a bit, experience everything, you’ll be better equipped for your target career. In everything you do, identify the climate-positive actions you can take. Every employee can help their company be more sustainable. Many companies I have talked to have employee-led initiatives – if yours doesn’t then be the person to start it!
Are there any resources that you would recommend to individuals interested in pursuing a climate-related career?
Climatebase is a pretty cool job site for climate related careers.
We Don’t Have Time is a good climate community online, a good place to see who’s taking action.
Climate Pledge Passport is another place to make connections and potentially find the right people to join.