Member Spotlight: the ESG Transition CompanyTuesday, November 16th 2021
Dynamo Energy Hub is delighted to present an interview with Greg Streiff, Founder of The ESG Transition Company. Greg has more than a decade of experience in the energy & power sector working as a principal investor and in corporate development. In April of 2021, he founded the ESG Transition Company to help small to midsize companies achieve their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals. Companies are now rushing to proactively integrate these principles into their operations for several key reasons. For one, many of the largest institutional investors are incorporating both ESG and economics into their underwriting process. Second, an increasing number of large capital companies are incorporating ESG requirements into their vendors requirements; otherwise known as supply chain sustainability. Federal and local policy is also quickly evolving, forcing businesses of all sizes to proactively reduce their carbon footprint and foster a more equitable and socially conscious work environment. As this movement trickles down from large firms to small and mid-size enterprises, accomplishing ESG targets has proven to be a challenge.
That is where The ESG Transition Company steps in. Greg sat down with Jessica Krejcie, Chief Operating Officer at Dynamo Energy Hub, to discuss how the ESG Transition Co is bridging this gap.
Jessica: Thanks so much for being here, Greg. Can you share what inspired you to found the ESG Transition Company?
Greg: Thanks so much for having me! My entire background has been in principle investing within the energy and power space. Most recently I headed up M&A and business strategy for a national solar business. Within this role, I learned that most businesses would prefer to engage with a single source provider of all things ESG as opposed to a myriad of companies. Folks need help navigating the complex and evolving world of ESG and achieving their sustainability goals.
While companies know that sustainability and ESG will inevitability be increasingly expected from their operations, many of them are not sure where to start. There are so many different sustainability pathways: from renewable energy purchasing, to LED lighting, to B-Corp certification; however, the real challenge lies in knowing which lever to pull first and which ones should get pulled together.
I realized it was transaction-prohibitive to only offer one ESG product or solution to an end user. I wanted to build a company that removes the transaction barriers for SMEs by filling a void in the market by offering a combination of products and services to companies searching for ESG solutions; ESG Co does everything from connecting our clients with best-in-class vendors to explaining technology options to acting as a trusted advisor during the transition.
Jessica: Can you tell me more about what ESG solutions you connect with your clients?
Greg: Right now, we’re building a nationwide network of ESG solution providers. We’ve primarily focused on the environmental part of ESG given that’s mostly where our clients’ focus is and easiest to quantify and solve overnight. Our network also includes social and governance competency enabling us to cover all aspects of ESG goals.
“Integral to our business are small and medium companies both from the provider side as well as end-user side. Otherwise known as sellers and buyers of ESG solutions. Ensuring that both sides of the transaction are regional and local will serve small and medium businesses best.”
For example, a lighting provider within our network in New York City has been operating for 20 years — this company knows the building managers, codes, and incentives. You can’t get that value from a large national or international firm. ESG Co has prioritized creating local service networks because it’s the best way to ensure lasting solutions that have the greatest positive impact for the planet, the business’s community, and the business itself.
Jessica: How large of a role does education play in the service ESG Co provides?
Greg: Education is a huge component. Cutting through information is the core service we provide, both for our network of providers and for our end-user clients. We help our provider network members understand what aspects of their product offerings play into the ESG narrative and will resonate best with end-user companies. We illustrate to our end-user clients exactly how each provider gets them closer to their ESG goals.
On the end-user side, many of our clients are aware that they’ll need to incorporate ESG into their operations soon but aren’t sure where to begin. We explain their options, what investors look for, what local and regional policies require as well as help them understand what peers and competitors are doing.
Jessica: Tell me more about the relationship between providers and end-users as it pertains to ESG Co as well as the kind of clients you’re looking at.
Greg: Our provider network is mostly comprised of hyper local and regional companies providing behind-the-meter demand-side management products. For these providers, we’re educating their business development teams on the genesis of ESG, how their product fits into the larger ESG equation, and what a sustainability manager at the corporate level of the end-user is seeking. In this way, we are often breathing new life into these smaller businesses.
What really excites me is performing outreach for these companies and helping them punch above their weight class. For example, we helped a regional lighting outfitter in Nashville, TN reposition themselves by incorporating ESG into their outreach and target market strategy. Coupled with our data driven lead generation support, ESG Co was able to get the attention of Hines, one of the largest property owners in the world, on the Nashville lighting company’s behalf. We help our provider network tap into larger projects and different verticals they historically didn’t consider possible.
On the other side, we offer corporate-level advisory for the end-users. We work with companies that need to adopt ESG solutions by laying out what their peers are doing, provide insight into investor restrictions, vendor requirements, and provide emissions data on all their properties. We then connect them to bankable solutions within our network to meet those goals.
We bundle our providers products and services to represent them as part of a broader set of solutions, a one-stop-shop for all things ESG. It allows us to sell more things to more people and the ESG vernacular works. For example we recently got the attention of a global plastic manufacturing company regarding their facility in upstate New York. ESG Co as a one-stop-shop for all things ESG resonated with their C-Suite. This plastics manufacturer had just been instructed by their board of directors to roll out sustainability and carbon neutrality goals at all fourteen of their medical-grade plastic manufacturing plants across the U.S. ESG Co facilitated engagement with a myriad of energy efficiency providers in our network based on each facility’s needs and the geographic coverage area of our providers. Some of the providers included LED lighting, community solar off-take, solar development, EV charging.
We are close to going live with our proprietary ecosystem portal which will be similar to Angie’s List but for all things ESG. The portal will allow end-users to browse our provider clients’ information and connect directly.
Jessica: Why has ESG become a buzzword that has caught on so quickly? What are the benefits of this?
Greg: There are certainly a few different factors at play. First, Europe, which is typically ahead of the United States on sustainability fronts, has started incorporating ESG principles into reporting requirements; Elizabeth Warren has proposed similar constructs to the SEC in the US. Europe in this respect is a good signifier of what’s on the horizon in the US.
Secondly, people genuinely care about the environment as well as having an equitable society and fair pay.
“The world is moving toward leveling the economic playing field so that everyone has access to opportunity and to a clean environment. Shareholder value is transitioning into more than just earnings per share or free cash flow.”
Lastly, having sustainable business practices creates long-term value for shareholders as it ensures that a company continues to operate, especially given that money managers consider ESG practices when it comes to their investments. Companies must be aware of these industry wide changes to stay competitive.
Jessica: Can you elaborate on the difference in resources and opportunities for small and mid-sized companies versus large companies in the pursuit of ESG and why these middle markets are underserved?
Greg: Currently, ESG markets are somewhat conceptual. While there are some state incentives, in the US they are mostly self-reporting markets. Meaning large companies have the discretionary capital and bandwidth to set precedents.
Even though small and medium sized companies make up the bulk of the US economy, once you go beyond the trendsetters to the middle market, there is a slower pace of adoption of ESG practices since there is less discretionary capital to hire a firm to help end-users figure out how to adopt these practices. That’s where we come in for these middle-market firms to simplify the decarbonization process.
Further, our providers are also resource constrained. They often don’t have the discretionary capital to beta-test new packaging or selling techniques to highlight their ESG solutions for end-use users. ESG Co offers a lower-risk way to navigate these conceptual markets to companies that do not have unlimited discretionary capital and an in-house sustainability team.
Jessica: Why did the ESG Transition Company join Dynamo and how do you think interdisciplinary organizations like yours can benefit from a Dynamo membership?
Greg: “I’m so stoked about being part of the Dynamo community. It’s an incredible group of folks — there so many people in the Dynamo collective that we’d love to work with and have in our network. As an aggregator of lots of energy service companies, our job is to connect folks with end-users, so we want to get to know as many people and companies as possible.”
I love having conversations with every single member of the Dynamo collective. We have an immediate demand that needs to get filled, so the more companies we can talk to, the greater maximum value we can provide.
Jessica: Thank you, Greg for taking the time to speak with Dynamo — we couldn’t be more excited to have the ESG Transition Company as part of the Dynamo network. We look forward to seeing all the amazing work you and your team accomplish!
For media relations contactClaudia Prandoni Marketing & Communications Manager