Corporate sustainability consultants Tania Crosbie and Melissa Houghton have this week released the first iteration of their VillageHive software, which makes their expertise available to a greater audience than they could work with directly.
Crosbie and Houghton have been advising customers in medium to large business on how to implement environmental sustainability initiatives for three years.
Houghton told StartupSmart they had invested in creating software to enable them to grow beyond the hours they could offer to clients.
“We quickly realised that from a time perspective, there are only so many consulting hours and unless we really drove that and brought more and more people on board, growth was going to be a challenge,” Houghton says.
Houghton says consulting in an emerging industry meant they had to stay agile and tailor their offering to the needs of clients.
“This space is so new and the conversations we were having with sustainability managers was that they really needed to help keep their teams of volunteers motivated, and showing their board or senior executive the impact their programs have,” Houghton says.
Houghton adds the software helps sustainability managers track, measure and manage their programs, and was an easier sell to clients. Most of the clients they work with are volunteers within companies.
“Because consulting isn’t visible, it’s harder to sell into an organisation. But because this platform drives that monitoring, managing and reporting of the programs, they can sell that to their executive more easily,” Houghton says.
They partnered with start-up incubator and tech development group The New Agency to build the software.
Houghton says the software supports companies in making the transition to sustainability easier.
“Our consulting is focused on answering bigger strategic questions, and the software complements that because it shows how to implement the goals. That’s the challenge of most organisations. They know what they want to do, and where they want to go and even how they’ll get there, they just need support to get there,” Houghton says.
Houghton and Crosbie will begin pitching to clients this week, with one company already signed up for the software. Houghton says the global scalability of the software will make attracting large, multinational companies easier.
She adds the framework of the software could work for any behavioural change campaigns in the workplace, including occupational health and safety, as well as health and wellbeing campaigns.