Catching up with environmental reporting startup SustainaBase: ‘Companies of all sizes are starting to really care about this issue’

By Riley Kaminer

In March, the SEC proposed rules that would require publicly traded companies to enhance and standardize climate-related disclosures. If adopted, these companies would be mandated to report their climate-related risks, emissions, and net-zero transition plans. 

While there is uncertainty around what these regulations would actually look like if they were to be passed, one thing is clear: environmental reporting is rapidly turning from a ‘nice-to-have’ to a ‘must-have.’

The good news is that one South Florida company is helping companies report their carbon emissions, water, waste, and more.

Gaida Zirkelbach is the co-founder and CEO of West Palm Beach-based SustainaBase. She told Refresh Miami that the private sector is increasingly looking for ways to monitor their environmental impact. “Companies of all sizes are starting to really care about this issue,” she said. “It’s really exciting to see.”

“This is really the right moment for us,” added Holly Lichtenfeld, SustainaBase’s Chief Growth and Strategic Alliances Officer. “Now that folks in companies have had to actually start dealing with [environmental reporting], they’re realizing that they might not have the time and expertise needed.”

That’s where SustainaBase comes in. The startup’s platform has tools that simplify the process of tracking key metrics related to a company’s environmental footprint. SustainaBase excels at one of the most vexing problems faced by companies: automatically porting in clean, accurate data into their system. That leads to difficulty implementing these platforms. 

“This was a pain point we identified with our clients,” explained Lichtenfeld. “Our unique solution, ESG Data Concierge, efficiently ingests data and enables clients to see their carbon emissions hotspots and report ESG & sustainability data to key stakeholders including investors, customers and reporting frameworks.”

Zirkelbach noted that one of SustainaBase’s major differentiating factors is what she describes as the modularity of their platform. “Wherever customers are on their sustainability journey, we want to make sure that we get them started with what they need.” SustainaBase can equally serve customers who are just looking to track a few elements of their environmental footprint, all the way to companies who want to go as granular as tracing their suppliers’ emissions.

Since Refresh Miami caught up with SustainaBase last July, the startup has also taken part in NextEra/FPL’s innovation incubator. “It has been great to be a part of what is happening in the space,” Lichtenfeld said, noting the usefulness of the connection with one of Florida’s largest companies. “It also gave us exposure to many other interesting and wonderful innovations, including some nascent technologies,” she continued.

Over the last year, SustainaBase reports that it has tripled in size, both in terms of its financials and its headcount. Now, SustainaBase’s roster of clients includes global players as big as Nestle, regional giants such as City Furniture and Garden of Life, and local organizations including the City of Boynton Beach and local clean water startup HAV WTR.

The team expects this rapid growth rate to continue, Lichtenfeld said. “We will continue to meet the needs of customers as they start to understand what’s involved in carbon reporting and as their stakeholders continue to ask for it.”

PHOTO at top of post: SustainaBase team members, left to right: Holly Lichtenfeld, Gaida Zircklebach, Matt Zirkelbach (co-founder/President), Isaac Rodriguez, (VP engineering). ©Erica Dunhill.


Riley Kaminer