Christian Heinrich, Co-founder at carbmee, an Enterprise Software Company that enables companies to reduce their carbon footprint by analyzing supply chains on the road to achieving net-zero.
During the conversation, Christian shared his thoughts on culture, the next decade, saying no, pressure points, new currencies, Moscow mules and 2052.
Like Peter Drucker said,
‘You can only improve what you can measure’.
If you do not have an overview of your scope 3 carbon emissions in the value chain – which are usually around about 80% of the overall emissions in a company – then you cannot really start thinking about reduction strategies like replacing material, rethinking logistics and supply chain structure, as well as the carbon costs of your suppliers.
Our mission is also to empower production, manufacturing and logistics companies to get transparency into their carbon emissions, where their suppliers and materials may not be performing well in this area.
carbmee’s unique selling point (USP) is that we understand supply chains and processes in industrial and fast moving consumer goods industries. We also understand the difference between a process supply chain for example, an automotive supply chain’s Bill of Materials explosion, and a logistics supply chain. That’s very important because we automate the carbon footprint calculation on a transactional level so that procurement and supply chain can use this as a fourth ‘decision dimension’, where they may previous not have any carbon emission or sustainability knowledge. In negotiation, I think that’s one of the most important things.
2. What have been the most significant decisions on the carbmee journey so far?
Definitely to say no to consulting projects, as we prefer to focus on improving software without getting too distracted elsewhere. We’ve also said no to a lot of potential clients in software, banking and insurance, but they do not have the production process complexity, like Unilever, Adidas, Volkswagen and General Motors have.
We also decided to focus initially on scope 3 automation carbon footprint calculation, which is what we offer right now. This is based on just output, results and good calculations and scope three, when you have a verified data set compared to just having a dashboard.
3. What do you look for in the perfect customer?
We would rather go with a bigger company; there are more political topics and people to talk to about these sustainability topics.
The easiest, best and fastest results where carbmee thrive is working with companies with $1.5bn to $3bn in revenue!
“Size matters: it doesn’t matter if they work in machine construction, automotive, pharmaceuticals or biotech. Small companies are now approaching us because they need to show their carbon footprint to their customers, where they also face legislative pressure.”
4. What are the foundations of a great team?
“The most important thing is culture – culture, culture, culture!”
Then passion and varied skill sets across super diversified teams.
From a knowledge perspective, it’s highly important that you have a team that is very aware of state-of-the-art tech, AI, data engineering and enterprise software topics:
How our ERP system structured? How can you make API’s to ERP systems and connect to them?
Many of our team members have history in real B2B, which helps in our Customer Success Management team. Along with my co-founders and colleagues, Robin and Hendrik, we are super strong believers in that you can only create a product which serves the industry if someone has worked in this industry. It’s not a copy and paste thing, because the industrial processes that need to be covered in workflow automation and data, cannot be generated.
5. As we emerge from COVID what will you be doing differently?
It is possible to organise processes virtually, although I’d still highlight meeting person is still great – it’s just a different set up. During COVID, we started building up all of our processes; we have an office in Berlin and we might get a satellite one in Munich so we can build up interactions between the team there.
“It’s interesting that we are able to offer our products, services and solutions virtually to customers. We have a lot of customers who we haven’t met physically but are happy, because trust is more results based and driven, even if I am a fan of good old in person meet ups!”
But in the end, delivering feedback virtually is still good for product development and iteration as you can get direct interactions and feedback quickly.
6. What is the vision for carbmee for the future and what will be most important to achieve it?
“What will happen in the market? Every week, everybody becomes more aware about carbon becoming a new currency.”
In some regions of the globe there are already taxes, penalties and certifications in place, but this will increase heavily. We will see parallel organisations where they may have 50/100 controlling employees, where they will be responsible for preparing the company’s P&L.
We see the same organisations for carbon controlling and carbon accounting because this will be a big part of the overall balance sheet. What does that mean for us?
We think there will be new emission databases which are globally relevant and have to be established so we can all connect.
“From a technology perspective, we are staying open and flexible so that we always can adapt to new global standards. We want to manage carbon accounting for our clients so they can make the right decisions, but also choose the right suppliers if they improve their carbon processes.”
Our operations will mainly remain in Europe, but I think from next year we will expand as we already have international customers in the USA. As of next year, we will extend our market options to Scandinavian countries, Singapore and Japan, all within the next 3 to 5 years.
“We want to really be the next carbon ERP system – in a more modern way!”
It’s important as carbmee expands quickly, not to make too many mistakes! It’s all about talent and team. We are getting the right team members in place with experience and passion, so it’s a good mix.
We hope Asia will be a part of global discussions about net-zero and acknowledge global warming of 1.5ºC. Everybody will have more and more environmental issues which results in more costs for their country.
“There is a ‘pressure point’ which will create an impact without having to explain to someone that they need to reduce their emissions.”
We hope we can stop that as of 2030, so until then, it will be super stressful!
“The decisions we make today will have an impact over the next 10 years. We can work together to help the next generation and help create a planet (and home) where we all want to live.”
7. How are you doing good for the planet?
More broadly, carbmee participates and has established decarbonisation council talks where we, for example, cooperate with global climate universities and climate institutes. This acknowledges political debates such as the global standardised co2 price. This is important because if you have a global standardised co2 price, then all emission reduction approaches are even easier to understand for everybody and then we can also gain or achieve our targets together faster. We have worked with the Potsdam Climate Institute and with colleagues from the US, where we invest heavily. Instead of donating at the moment, we prefer to engage in political opinions and thought processes where we can help establish global rules and reach a common understanding.
INSTANT CHRISTIAN INSPIRATION
1. What is your favourite book or blog & why?
2052 by Jorgen Randers. It was written in 2012 and predicted what would happen to the world throughout each decade.
I also like reading blogs on Medium, which is helpful if I need to find out how to build up the next level of B2B SaaS.
2. Who is your favourite inspirational leader and why?
I’ve become a fan of the Green Leadership in Germany.
People said to me they have no experience, but I’d say they’re doing a pretty good job, especially as they did not have any leadership experience before.
It’s all about survival of the fittest!
3. What is your favourite app or piece of technology?
The Deutsche Bahn app which helps with travel.
4. What is your favourite cocktail?
A Moscow Mule
5. What’s your favourite way to celebrate a success?
It depends on the success, but a good dinner. If it’s a big company success, then a dinner or pizza party. If it’s more of an intimate team win, then dinner and some good wine.
1. Gain visibility into your supply and value chain – then you can really think about carbon reduction strategies.
2. Passion is key to create a product you believe in and will work.
3. Build a passion and diverse team with depth in your area of focus eg B2B enterprise solutions.
4. Be flexible to adapt to global ESG standards especially as they are evolving rapidly.
5. Just say no to potential clients, if activities are non-core or not aligned to your future visions – it’s down to how you can provide the most value in the future.
6. In person communication is great, and virtual options can work too – it makes in person interaction more valuable.
7. Let’s work together to create the planet and home we want to live in now for the next decade and generation.
Our industry is moving forward faster and faster, empowered by innovative, progressive digital procurement solutions created and led by inspiring teams. ProcureTechSTARS are the digital procurement company CEOs and Founders that are leading the change, they are entrepreneurs, engineers and architects collaborating to transform procurement and the enterprise. In an open conversation with these leaders Lance Younger will be discussing the highs and lows of building the future now, the challenges they’ve faced, their perspective on accelerators and hot topics, and what keeps getting them up in the morning (and keeps them up at night).