Pawprint – digital entrepreneurship with purpose

After graduating in 2001 with an M.A. in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford, Christian Arno set up “Lingo24” a B2B technology-enabled translation service which grew into a £10 million business employing 200 full-time staff in the UK, Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, the Philippines, and Romania. In 2021 he sold it to California-based Unbabel but not before he had founded Pawprint in 2019.  This is a certified BCorp that helps private individuals and the employees of firms identify the small changes they can make in their daily routines, both at home and at work, to make a lasting, positive impact on the environment. The firm’s App, which is free to individuals, has been adopted by more than 30 corporate customers who want to encourage individual behaviour change within the corporate context and believe that “ being profitable and doing good for the planet and society are not mutually exclusive”. The app has helped these firms save a total of 184 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent).

Headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, it is based on scientific calculations made by a team at Lancaster University led by Professor Mike Berners-Lee of the University’s  Environment Centre. He is the founder of Small World Consulting and the author of “How bad are bananas? The carbon footprint of everything” (Profile Books Ltd, 2020). The calculations enable the Pawprint app to calculate an individual’s carbon footprint and to make recommendations on the small changes that can be made, which could have a big positive impact on the planet.

By November 2021, when it launched its £700,000 third round of crowdfunding, Pawprint had already raised £2.2 million which had enabled it not just to develop its B2B product but to build a 28-person world-class team and a highly experienced Advisory Board. With a Total Addressable Market (TAM) value estimated at £57billion, the third round of funding was intended to scale the business not just in the U.K. but internationally. As Christian points out “As we are dealing with a climate emergency we want to grow this business as big and as fast as we can. In addition to supporting this growth, we will be developing the app, broadening its scope, and adapting it for international audiences…the funding will also support us to increase our commercial presence and reach more businesses”. Within 2 weeks on the British crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube, it had raised its £700,000 target from 230 investors.

While the initial goal of Pawprint is to support 1 million people to take one tonne of CO2e off their annual footprint, their long term objective is to make this business global and, as Christian points out,   it is “important to us to be known as a company which has good principles and is people and planet centric”.  As a consequence they have recruited people who could have obtained higher salaries elsewhere but, Christian observes, they joined Pawprint because they believed in the mission.

Clearly, it is a harmonious enterprise which has a triple bottom line of profit, planet, and people and which addresses SDGs 13 (Climate Action) and 15 (Life on Land)  as well as 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 11(Sustainable Cities and Communities), and 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) plus 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure)

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