Sustainability Innovation and Environmental Impact in Corporate Contexts: Conversation with Poyan Rajamand

August 25, 2022

In this fifth episode of Future Ventures, FutureLabs Venture Partner Usman Lodhi speaks to Poyan Rajamand, the Co-Founder of Barghest Building Performance (BBP), an award-winning energy efficiency company enabling businesses to achieve their carbon neutrality and sustainability goals.  

They discuss the challenges around sustainability, prospective solutions, and the role that unique stakeholders can play in helping to fuel this transformation. Poyan lays out a simple roadmap for an impact-oriented approach through which corporations can incorporate innovation and change through new ventures. 

Key highlights of the discussion

Key highlights of the discussion 

In the interview, Poyan begins by discussing the beginning of his own journey into the sustainability space, before moving on to identify the challenges and opportunities he sees in the sustainability space.  

Poyan emphasizes that in the past, one challenge against sustainable transformation at scale was that leaders underestimated the “business side” when bringing a solution to the market. For mass adoption, solutions have to not only create a positive environmental impact, but they must also make financial sense, such as cost reductions or enhanced efficiency. Drawing on both his personal experience at BBP – where they explored novel business models to help motivate building owners to adopt their energy-saving products – and successful examples in other fields such as solar energy, Poyan promotes the importance of business models that combine both short-term value for the intended audiences and a complementary environmental impact.  

One clear driver of corporate innovation in the sustainability space, according to Poyan, is the pressure on financial institutions to invest in green companies, thus incentivizing those companies themselves to become more sustainable in order to continue accessing bank financing. The standardization of environmental reporting is also making it easier for external stakeholders to assess businesses on their environmental impact.   

Finally, Poyan talks about the ability of corporate venturing to drive impact. Poyan suggests that “ventures in the dark” can lack the reliability and credibility of corporate-backed ventures, as their impact and resources are often not tested at scale, providing immense risks of adoption. On the other hand, a venture backed by a household corporate partner allows the delivery of better credibility with established branding and de-risks the process of investing in a sustainable solution from the perspective of customers.  

Poyan believes that corporations should act faster for sustainable transformations with a future-oriented approach. Rather than focusing on the shareholder’s value, a stakeholder value approach should be embraced as we progress rapidly towards the 2030s and 40s when governments will tighten the regulatory processes around environmental footprints.   

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