Lepaya is a young and dynamic company that is already making a significant impact in the HR sector. With over 230 employees working alongside freelance trainers, it is quickly becoming a leading provider of upskilling and workforce development solutions. Through innovative training programs and learning interventions, Lepaya helps companies to unlock the full potential of their employees, driving success and growth in a competitive market.
Julian Merkle is one of the many talented professionals working at Lepaya. With a strong background in data analytics and a passion for using technology to drive business success, Julian has quickly made a name for himself at the company.
Having previously worked at Lepaya as an intern, he has since gone on to complete his Masters degree, after which he joined as a customer analyst. In his current role as BI Analyst, Julian is responsible for building sophisticated dashboards that allow stakeholders to easily interpret user data for their product.
Julian was able to find like-minded colleagues who shared his passion for climate and sustainability. Julian: “Together, we formed an internal committee with the goal of raising awareness about these issues within the company. But we also wanted to pitch initiatives that would reduce the company's environmental footprint, even though our industry is not particularly materials-heavy.”
This grassroots initiative was very much in line with Lepaya's company culture. “What I really enjoy about Lepaya is that it still has that sort of startup vibe. If you come up with a good idea, you get quite a lot of freedom to pursue it.” The management culture at Lepaya is also known for being data-focused, and Julian and his colleagues recognized that data could be a powerful tool for persuasion.
Julian’s committee was dubbed the Sustainability Guild, after Spotify’s internal ‘Guild’ model. Having first considered some other emission analysis tools, they ultimately decided to go with Coolset's platform to set up emission reports and analytics. This decision was partly based on Coolset's focus on scale-ups and SMEs, which made it a logical choice for Lepaya.
But first, Julian’s team would have to convince Lepaya management to give Coolset a try.
After some guidance from the Coolset team, the Sustainability Guild managed to put together a concise slide deck to present their pitch. Julian: “We were a bit nervous as to how management would react - we were a rather unofficial internal body, of course - but we felt confident in our ability to deliver a compelling case.”
The presentation was smooth and effective, taking them only half an hour to walk through the pitch. In the process of talking with Coolset, the Guild had also learned about the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), scheduled to go into effect in 2024, which they were able to share with management as well.
This EU regulation will mandate publicly traded companies, as well as 250+ employee or €40m+ revenue companies, to establish carbon accounting and reporting, alongside the regular financial reporting.
Knowing they are scaling fast and already at 230 employees, currently, it made sense to start building out emission reporting now, instead of waiting until later.
The team was successful in convincing management to give Coolset a try as a means to coming up with a plan for carbon emission reduction. Their main goal was to prioritise their efforts and identify areas where they can have the biggest potential emissions savings.
While they were aware of emissions associated with heating the office, reimbursing lunches for trainers, colleagues flying to attend events, and data centres, they were unsure of the relative size of these emissions. They were hopeful Coolset would be able to provide them with insights to help them identify areas where they could make the most impact.
Although Lepaya’s finance department has formal ownership over Coolset itself, the Sustainability Guild is using the data to prioritise sustainable alternatives and decarbonization initiatives. When an opportunity for improvement is identified, they draft a proposal that is then pitched to management.
For instance, the Sustainability Guild can use data from Coolset on the emisssions related to air-travel to give more weight to a proposal for company policies favouring train travel.
Before kicking off, there were two challenges that needed to be addressed pre-emptively. Firstly, the accounting data they could access through their finance department was from 2021, which may not be entirely relevant to Lepaya’s current reality. Secondly, Lepaya works with freelance trainers, whose decisions (say around travel) can affect overall Scope 3 emissions associated with Lepaya. However, those decisions are hard to trace through Coolsets accounting-based methodology.
Challenges aside, implementing changes based on Coolset data happens in two ways:
For the first type of implementation, initiatives go through Lepaya’s People team (for subjects like company-sponsored lunches) or management (for bigger projects).
For communication, there’s already an internal sustainability Slack channel for people who are interested and passionate about this subject. Additionally, the Guild regularly updates the whole company about what they’re doing and the results of the Coolset integration in Lepaya’s Monday ‘all-hands-on-deck’ meetings. The Sustainability Guild also works together with the marketing department to communicate efforts externally.
Julian: “Personally, I’m averse to greenwashing, hence I'm hesitant to share such initiatives for marketing purposes. However, as Lepaya is taking steps to address sustainability challenges it's great to reflect on our story and build stronger legitimacy internally.”
“What I love most about this platform is that it allows you to really dive into the measurements themselves. It's not just about seeing the data, but about being able to interact with it in a meaningful way, which is incredibly valuable for anyone who needs to make data-driven decisions.”
“Another thing I find really great about this platform is how easy it is to use. Logging in is a breeze, and adding other people to the workspace is just as simple. This means you can focus on using the platform to its fullest potential, rather than wasting time on administrative tasks.”
When Coolset’s data analyses came in, it soon became clear Scope Three emissions accounted for 95% of total emissions, which is to be expected for a company not primarily involved in material supply chain activities.
The next step for Lepaya and Coolset will be to gain a more granular view on what type of Scope 3 emissions are the most important ones to tackle first. There are a few challenges that make this difficult.
For instance, based on financial data, sometime’s Coolsets distinctions weren’t quite granular enough to enable truly actionable insights. For instance a lot of travel reimbursement tickets weren’t categorised by travel mode (e.g. flight vs train) - making further research by the Sustainability guild necessary.
Overall, while there are certainly areas where further investigation is desired, there is reason to be optimistic about the future. The prospect of analysing emissions data for 2022 is a promising opportunity to gain insights and develop strategies for further reducing the company's environmental impact.
Julian: “Within the Sustainability Guild, we’ve been discussing the importance of achieving net zero emissions as a company. We believe that having a formal, written declaration by the founders would create accountability and help us work towards this goal. However, before we can pursue this goal further, we will draft a roadmap that outlines the steps we need to take to achieve net zero.”
This roadmap should provide a general overview of what achieving net zero means, as well as some specific strategies we can implement to get there.
“We believe that by taking a thoughtful, proactive approach to this issue, we can make a meaningful impact on the environment and set an example for other companies to follow.”
Lepaya is also moving into a new office soon, in which they will have full control over their energy provider. They are eager to see the data on this as an emissions factor, and believe it could provide valuable insights that they can use to improve our sustainability practices.
In addition to exploring the potential of Lepaya's new office, they are also hoping to use the momentum to set up new procedures and policies that can help them achieve their sustainability goals. Julian: “By taking a proactive approach to sustainability, we can create a culture of environmental responsibility that extends beyond just the Sustainability Guild.”
“One of our main priorities is to gather more granular data on our emissions, particularly in areas like transportation. By having a more detailed understanding of our carbon footprint, we can identify areas where we can make the biggest impact and develop concrete projects that will help us achieve our sustainability objectives.”
“Ultimately, our goal is to use Coolset as a means to build awareness and promote sustainability throughout the company."
"We believe that by formalising our commitment to sustainability and getting the founders to sign agreements for implementing concrete projects, we can make a meaningful impact on the environment and create a culture of environmental responsibility that extends beyond just the Sustainability Guild.”
With renewed data sets for 2022 and beyond, more experience under their belt as to Coolset’s potential, and the platform’s continuous product updates, the future definitely looks bright (green) for Lepaya’s sustainability goals.