EnviroTechStar of the Week

“There are two trends that will change every industry – digitisation and sustainability.”

So says Daniel Klier, HSBC’s former global head of sustainability and now CEO of ESG Book, which has just raised £29 million in Series B funding.

The hypergrowth cloud platform makes environmental, social and governance data accessible and transparent, enabling financial markets to allocate capital towards sustainable assets.

“If you ignore them, you miss the biggest commercial opportunity,” he explains to TechBlast. 

“My tips on how to build a sustainable business are listen to your customers – they care; integrate it into business decisions – this is not just PR; and make sustainability something that you measure and track.”

Incubated by sustainable finance firm Arabesque in 2018, ESG Book is now ploughing its own furrow. “It’s not an overstatement to say that the ESG data industry is pushing us towards what is essentially a market failure, with investors simply unable to access the information needed to make effective decisions,” says Klier. 

“This, coupled with the continued growth of ESG investing, meant the time was right to give ESG Book the autonomy and focus to single-mindedly develop and refine solutions to these problems.

“Our lead investor Energy Impact Partners is the perfect partner for us. They share our vision for radical transparency in sustainability data, and our appetite to disrupt how this data is integrated and measured on a global scale.” 

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Additional investors include global sustainability leader Meridiam and Allianz X, the digital investments arm of leading global insurer and asset manager Allianz. 

Covering over 25,000 companies globally, ESG Book’s solutions are used by many of the world’s leading financial organisations which collectively manage over $120 trillion. 

“ESG Book represented an opportunity to progress the sustainability agenda,” he says of his decision to leave HSBC to join the firm in February 2021. “The company remains uniquely positioned to lead this transition, with our focus on data and technology.

“Lots of companies simply don’t know how to do it. Sustainability reporting can be too big a burden for corporates thanks to a multitude of different frameworks. Markets also struggle to get the information they need, with data being held by firms using black box methodologies, or with access being restricted only to those willing to pay.”

Managing business growth

Klier, a former partner at McKinsey, adds of his earlier career: “Throughout this time, it became very clear to me that sustainability is a megatrend that will re-shape the global economy. 

“In order to do this, the world requires significant investment. High quality, trusted data is critical to mobilise this investment. This is the problem we are now looking to solve at ESG Book.” 

The company has offices in London, Frankfurt, Boston, Singapore, Delhi and Tokyo and serves clients worldwide from offices in Asia, Europe and North America.