5 minutes with Namrata Sandhu, co-founder of Vaayu
Cleantech company Vaayu develops tools for retailers to track the route of their carbon emissions across their supply chain - and the facilities to cut or offset these emissions.
The company recently announced its $1.6mn funding round and a partnership with Missoma.
Co-founder Namrata Sandhu studied Environment & Sustainable Development at University College London and completed the Sustainability Executive Leadership Program at Harvard University.
Here, Sandhu discusses direct air capture, the Paris agreement targets for 2030 and real-time data.
Hello Namrata! Can you tell us one morning habit you have which sets you up for a positive day?
“Definitely coffee first! The one thing I do try to do is not check my phone for the first 30 minutes of the day at least, otherwise I get started on work emails and get in the work headspace very quickly!”
What is Vaayu?
“We're a software platform which helps online retailers to track their carbon emissions in real time.
“At Vaayu, we focus on specific calculations - and then the reductions. We provide detailed data to then help the retailers to actually reduce or mitigate their carbon impact.
“We also offer offsetting opportunities for any unavoidable emissions that retailers produce, they have the option to offset these emissions. We're looking at adding some removal projects as well.
“We also offer direct air capture projects. However, the pricing on removal is a lot more expensive, so we're looking at options to give customers the opportunity to do offsetting and removal together as a package.
“So for part of your emissions, you do direct air capture and for part of your emissions, you offset.”
What are the benefits for retailers in tracking their carbon emissions across their supply chain in real-time?
“As we want to help retailers to reduce their carbon emissions, to do that we really need to understand what's driving up your emissions. What helps with real time is that you're calculating the data on a daily basis, which means the data is really accurate and it informs the reductions.
“With real time data, you can use it to see what days or activities cause the highest level of emissions. For example, if 80% of your emissions come from one particular day, such as Black Friday, then whatever we need to do will need to be around that period.”
How can this help the retail sector?
“The purpose of what we do is to give retailers the data so they can reduce their emissions and we can help them meet the Paris agreement targets for 2030. Businesses really need to understand what is driving up their carbon emissions, in order to take really significant action to reduce them. That's what we're really focused on.”
Tell us about your partnerships...
“In the case of Missoma, they started their sustainability journey with us. The platform gave them the opportunity to get that data really easily and to make that process quite seamless. For them to start to take action on climate and start to work on sustainability became much easier because the tools were there for them.”
Do you find customers are frightened of starting their sustainability journey?
“Yeah, absolutely. From smaller brands we hear that all the time. I was on a call with a smaller brand the other day. The founder of the business was really keen to cut their carbon emissions and she said: ‘I have looked into this, spent months on it and it feels like I need a PhD to be able to understand what to do here!’ We hear that from a lot of businesses who want to do better, but don't have the tools.
“At Vaayu, we're trying to simplify. By taking all of this really heavy carbon data and explaining: ‘This is how much carbon impact comes from this activity. If you change this, this will be the actual saving.’ We make it easier for customers to understand and begin their carbon cutting journey."