Young Folks

Sustain.Life owners standing together smiling with autumn leaves in the background

Sustain.Life is the sustainability platform helping organisations navigate their carbon emissions, the easy way

Contrary to our coffee culture, tendency for slang, and number of giant roadside attractions, Australia is a laggard when it comes to climate action. This is due to a few things: we’re one of the world’s largest exporters of fossil fuels (and heavily dependent on them to keep our own homes running), carbon emissions disclosure and reporting isn’t yet mandated, and our leaders have long been hesitant to declare a climate crisis. 

So, when sustainability management platform Sustain.Life saw the opportunity to enter the Asia-Pacific (APAC) market when mandates were on the horizon, they jumped at it. 

‘There was a very obvious and clear gap in the Australian market,’ says Jackson Burnie, APAC country director at Sustain.Life. ‘It just made sense to introduce a solution for those organisations to access comprehensive solutions without the need for consultants.’ 

Sustain.Life is an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) data platform born out of the growing need for medium to large enterprises to measure and understand their carbon footprint. It’s a female-founded organisation and B Corp, first started in North America by three former Walmart executives with over a decade of experience in sustainability. 

‘Walmart had a bold ambition to reduce a gigaton of carbon emissions from their supply chain,’ says Jackson. ‘When they started to engage with their supply chain, they found a huge gap between their requirements and their suppliers’ capacities and capabilities to respond to questions about carbon emissions.’ 

Now, it’s not only other organisations requesting emissions data from brands and businesses — it’s customers, investors, staff, and the government. The Sustain.Life platform exists to set businesses up for success in impact measurement, management, and reporting, allowing them to manage their emissions without relying on spreadsheets, clunky systems, or consultants to do it manually. It also helps them mitigate risks and create actionable tasks to reduce their emissions.

‘Our platform includes the ability to have your data audited, which means that when our clients enter their emissions data, they’re holding themselves up to the strictest and most transparent forms of assurance,’ Jackson says. 

Since launching in the Australian market in March 2023, the pair has already secured a number of enterprises to use the platform, a remarkable effort for such a young company.

The organisation leads by example, offsetting its entire carbon footprint every year. It closely tracks all business travel, has a completely remote team — which means no office emissions — and makes conscious decisions to have virtual meetings with clients, where possible. 

‘Aligning with well-understood frameworks like B Corp means we have to make public disclosures every time we recertify,’ explains Joel Hanna, customer success and enablement manager at Sustain.Life. ‘It’s all super transparent and we talk about it frequently on our own website and socials.’

For both Joel and Jackson, working in the sustainability sector is more than just a 9-to-5. While looking at the current narrative around climate change can be devastating, says Joel, there’s still ample time and opportunity to push back on the social, economic, and environmental impacts of climate change, which is what motivates him. ‘It’s really all about thinking about what I can do with my limited days on this Earth to make it better for future generations.’

Like many startups, there have been challenges. The attitudes and legislations towards ESG and sustainability are all very new and still quite fluid. Knowing where to invest time and effort from a product perspective has been a key challenge, with a constant need to test, iterate, and try new things. 

‘The way we started the business is different to the way the business operates today,’ Jackson says. ‘The product as it stands now is different to the product that was originally launched. It’s all about responding to market and customer needs.’

Despite these growing pains, the unwavering goal of making the planet a better place and commitment to solving its customers biggest ESG problems is why the organisation is so successful. Having this shared and consistent motivation throughout the company helps decrease the gap between their ambition and execution.

‘This is the most capable product team I’ve ever worked with,’ says Jackson. ‘They’re continually pumping out amazing solutions.’

Looking forward, Sustain.Life sees itself as a large player in what will soon be a 60 to 100 billion dollar carbon accounting market. The team foresees a future where carbon accounting and sustainability management software is as much of a household name as Xero or MYOB — especially given the impending emissions disclosure mandates in Australia. 

Above everything, they want a sustainable future for the planet. 

‘We want the planet to be inhabitable, for ourselves and for the people that come after us,’ says Joel. ‘We also want to see a thriving economy within that. There’s no reason why sustainability and economic growth and performance can’t be compatible.’

Interested in finding out more about Sustain.Life? Check out the platform here.

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Experienced in content writing, copywriting, content creation, social media, SEO, and publishing. Sanam has led content strategy development, organic social media management, and content creation for a number of B2B and B2C brands.

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