Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues are playing an increasing role in the decisions companies are making and link together in the sense that the environment, the social factors, and the extent to which you have good governance affect your license to operate as a business within the external world. To what extent do you manage your environmental footprint? To what extent do you enhance diversity? To what extent are you transparent in your contributions to a country?

In this episode of The Godel POD, Jack Snelling, Client Director at Godel spoke with Bryan Flynn, CTO and Rob Bressler, Technical Director at Rio ESG to share their insights around all things green tech. Rio is committed to helping organisations improve their impact on the planet, manage ESG risk, and save money. Combining market-leading knowledge with its proprietary AI, Rio delivers data analysis, Governance tools and education to organisations of all sizes.

This is an edited transcript. For more conversations on the latest in tech, subscribe to The Godel POD on Podbean and Spotify.

Podcast transcript

Jack Snelling: [Intro] Hey guys and welcome to this next instalment of The Godel POD focused around all things green tech.

Jack Snelling: I’m joined by two people today, both Rob Bressler and Brian Flynn of Rio ESG. Rob, Brian, obviously, I know you both pretty well as we’ve been working together for the last six months or so. But I won’t try and hash your introduction. So over to you to tell us a little bit more about yourselves and, and why you’re here today.

Brian Flynn: Thanks Jack. I’m the CTO at Rio, having been with the company for several years. Back in the day I studied psychology at university, to go on to work in finance. I didn’t enjoy my work, so I changed my path to software development, when the opportunity came along to work in a company that was at the intersection of software and artificial intelligence. That’s when I had the opportunity to work with Rob here and Dan, who is the CEO of Rio.

It’s been an interesting journey seeing the market in automation and AI get to the point where it is today; a market which is now on the radars of most companies having been quite a niche interest 15 years ago. Similarly with the sustainability market, which back in 2012 was, again, considered a pretty niche market. It’s especially become busier and more competitive over the last two, three years as demand is increasing and we are finding ourselves demonstrating all the work we’re capable of as a company, which has been richly rewarding.

Jack Snelling: For sure it’s kept you busy. I know, you’ve spoken about your journey where you’ve come from and yeah, now certainly seems to be the right time to be in the industry that you’re in the industry. And Rob, what about yourself? How have you found yourself here today?

Rob Bressler: I studied Environmental Sciences, again at a time when it was quite a niche subject, and the course itself was quite small not that well attended. Whereas now it’s become a really popular and quite common subject area. Back in the day, getting into the environmental sector either meant working for the Environment Agency, or working for a consultancy. There were very limited environmental or sustainability roles or companies but that’s changed dramatically.

I got into the sustainability world through working at a very large consultancy where I met our CEO, Dan, who was working at another consultancy on a peak national project at the time. When we talked, we found that both of us felt that it was very repetitive work and not really that interesting; you never really felt that you were getting on board with a company or seeing end results. I know I felt a little bit disconnected from the kind of work I really wanted to deliver. From this sense of frustration, Dan and I began looking to digitise our expertise in consultancy, to make a process for organisations and give them tools to do it.

I think, in some ways, you could argue that we were ahead of the curve, and perhaps the market wasn’t quite ready for it. At the time I was still educating people about cloud computing and moving them away from storing everything on servers. As Brian was saying, it’s been a fascinating few years because we’ve been pushing the sustainability agenda for over a decade but it’s only in the last few years where it’s become mainstream.

Now companies are not only waking up to it but also obligated to do it. What’s been especially fascinating is how the general public and investors are approaching it. It’s on their minds all the time, people are getting nagged by their children, asking them why we’re not doing better. It’s a great time to be in the industry.

Jack Snelling: Yeah, well, it sounds like Rob, you sort of found yourself where you are through, obviously, more of your, your initial passion was around the environmental side of stuff, obviously, you studied at university. And Brian, it sounds like you’ve got to where you are, whilst that’s probably something you’re incredibly passionate about now, was at the time, it was more the AI side of stuff, and maybe the technology challenge that that that brought you to obviously, the business, and that’s where you’ve probably fed in your expertise and developed the platform. I mean, on the note of the platform itself, obviously Rio, I suppose I don’t know who wants to pick this one up initially? What is it? What does RIO do? And what purpose does it look to serve at a kind of high level?

Rob Bressler: Our main goal is to drive a sustainability agenda to give people and individuals the information and the toolkit they need to meet, not only their legal requirements, but also the reporting or carbon requirements. We focus on education and providing solutions. We have found that if people are on board with the subject matter, they’re more likely to give you good data and investigate the right places. Moreover, we also look at governance; what is an organisation doing? How are they facing these global challenges and making sure we can get real data from them and report that and disseminate that knowledge, both down to the workforce, but also push information back up.

Data is a massive part of what we do. Without valid data, you can’t say how you’re performing with any accuracy, which means companies can’t set real targets or see how they are doing against peers and investors. We have developed an all-encompassing platform to not only cover these areas of learning and engagement, compliance and governance, but also data analytics and forecasting. This is where we come up with the ideas on what we want to do for people and how we want to consult with people to help them understand that, the art of which being getting that into a way that our software can deliver this information attainably and that’s where Brian and developers really come into their own.

Brian Flynn: I think the point Rob made earlier about the initial mission of the company was to digitise the process of consultancy. We wanted to adapt and change the manual process where only larger organisations could afford that expertise, whereby in order to serve more clients, you needed to bring onboard more consultants. The aim of the portal as we have it is to find the ways we can automate as much of that process as possible, thereby making it visible and available to small companies who wouldn’t normally have that access. But also, it’s used as an aid to the consultants who are part of our company to provide a full, rounded service, which is data-led, and based on actualities rather than subjective assessments.

Jack Snelling: Yeah, and I think that definitely, all makes sense. And I think it links in quite nicely to something I was going to ask you both about next. And I suppose this is a little less Rio centric and more the space that you sit within, and I assume that the reason that a lot of the customers that you have and future customers onboard will look forward will obviously work with you is around this topic of ESG. So obviously, my understanding of it is that ESG is a form of assessment of environmental, social, and governance layers, for businesses, and usually, I think what I’ve read more and more particularly in a recent tech nation report is that it’s often the criteria as to which investment houses now decide whether or not what businesses they will invest in is how they align to these, you know, environmental, social and corporate sort of governance layers. Rob, I don’t suppose in terms of ESG as a concept and what it actually means outside of RIO, why is it something that’s being taken so seriously now and how long has it been taken seriously for and what is it kind of mean for your potential clients and partners? What are they actually looking to achieve and why they’re looking to do it do you think?

Rob Bressler: I think a lot of ESG terminology stemmed from the financial sector and a big reason that companies are sitting up to it now is that the subject is getting into that boardroom. The topic of sustainability has been there in the background but the wider scope of ESG takes it a step further, looking at a companies’ entire performance and its resulting impacted.

The impact of the climate crisis affects all businesses because a lot of processes are interconnected. Not only that, we must look at the social side of things, which has become a lot stronger kind of conversation. For example, how diverse is your workforce? What’s the pay gap? Are your people being treated appropriately? So, it opens out those areas and brought these issues into a boardroom environment, Meaning, investments could be affected in the long term, such as pensions. There are long term massive global changes happening and I want to protect my pension from those so how can I best insure myself against those?

Our due diligence is about providing that transparency as, a lot of the time, a company will produce an annual report and be able to greenwash it in a CSR report, with no real data or information, and without anyone tracking it. People are now demanding greater transparency, and that’s got to be built on solid information and real data. Data reporting is becoming mainstream now as the microscopes on these companies become more focused so they can’t get away with tepid and often inaccurate information leads they have previously led with. We want to see better environmental management; sustainability should be auditable and transparent. And that’s what we really work towards.

Jack Snelling: And who’s driving that accountability? You mentioned now, you know, companies have got the spotlight on them. They know they need to improve across it’s not even just that so much that the pure-play environmental stuff in terms of reducing carbon emissions and things like that it’s now the social and governance layers of it as well. Who is that? Is that a government initiative? Who’s driving that agenda and holding people accountable?

Rob Bressler: COP26 produced some good targets. It means that larger companies will be held accountable. They must drill into their emissions and overall risks to demonstrate and explain what they are, how they’re going to adapt, how they’re going to mitigate those areas and report on it. It’s now become embedded in law, and this is what companies must do. And as part of that they’ll generally go for the highest organization and as most of these legislative drivers go down, that filters down to smaller companies, but also it gets pushed down the supply chain, meaning all these large organisations are going to need this chain of information.

One of the things we’ve found is that there are a lot of different reporting frameworks, alongside a lot of companies that aren’t sure which one to go for. One thing we’re trying to do is guide businesses towards their individual needs and help create bespoke packages. We want to make a more uniform guide but it’s still quite a busy and confusing area for a majority of organisations.

Brian Flynn: There’s no true seats, it’s investor led as well. There’s a lot of pressure from, certainly the large, investors for any company that they look to invest in to prove their credentials.

Rob Bressler: Yes, it’s all about risk. All investors want to reduce their risk as much as possible meaning that the more information they can get, the better. And some of that information has been quite scant. In the past it might have been information scraped off the internet or what statements an organisation has made or things on turnover, but there is now a lot more scrutiny out there.

Investors are looking at quantifiable carbon emissions, numbers of international flights, factory emissions, whether the workforce is being treated fairly. Greater transparency greatly reduces investor risk.

Jack Snelling: And I assume, with the growing pressure on businesses to be held accountable. And obviously, as you mentioned, it’s something now that’s not just done this or you’re not investable, let’s do this, or you’ll be sort of breaking certain laws. And I’d imagine the marketplace for those offering assistance or help or guidance has boomed and I’m sure as a business that found themselves there probably earlier than most, is it something that you’ve seen a massive increase in terms of people trying to come into the market? Obviously, we read a lot about businesses that are, I suppose, classes Tech for Good and green tech now receiving in percentage terms, I think, more investment for the first time in a long time. Then the financial services market, not in terms of the value, but the percentage increase? How is that market changing? How’s the market that you want to be stepped into changing? And how does it feel different to what it was when you first started?

Rob Bressler: Currently there are businesses and people flooding into the market, claiming to be experts in this area. People’s job titles are changing to incorporate the ESG role and title. This is where we lead via our consultancy in our expertise and history of being clean and transparent on that data. Whilst the market is a lot more saturated now, we’ve been doing this for a substantial time and if it is properly managed it can be seen right at the very top of your organisation.

Brian Flynn: Yes, it seems to me from the tech side that the types of companies that are looking to move into this market are either accountancy firms looking to provide auditing services or people in the tech sector. What we have, which only a small number pose of competitors have, is the depth of experience of operating in this market, a decade’s worth of experience. The data we accumulate means that we can provide rigour to what we do that certainly the newer players to the market aren’t really seeking to emulate, rather focusing on a smaller, narrower offering, whether that’s a carbon footprint reporting tool, or being able to provide a service against a single reporting framework. Where we stand out is that we the experience, the expertise and the tools to be able to manage multi-dimensional approach.

Rob Bressler: What is quite interesting is that a lot of consultancies can go through this process and produce some fantastic spreadsheets but they still need someone to translate that data to be held by one person, whereas by having an effective SAS platform we can have multiple sources of information coming in from all over the world and can translate it into a uniform way, to then pass the necessary information on in a clear and uniform format. Which is the really fascinating thing about all of this, you can really open up and actually give ownership of this agenda to the people that need it rather than as a consultant just controlling it and withholding all those cards. We need to democratise this knowledge and share it and engage with people properly to make it their own. Meaning, we don’t necessarily want to have to do for them. We want to give them the toolkit and shared expertise, not just our expertise, but the expertise we are gathering from all our other clients as well.

Jack Snelling: So, it sounds to me like, to be honest, that I assume an opinion of many that you speak to. And if it’s a terribly manual process, it’s harder for someone to adopt. So, I suppose building a platform that isn’t pure self-serve but feels a little bit more like that, you know, you’re giving them the toolkit to go out and understand these things and get these recommendations themselves, is a lot better than necessarily paying someone an exorbitant amount of money as a consultant and just to come in and sit there and do it all for them. And then, if there’s ever a question asked about what’s happening in this space they divert to the consultant as opposed to being able to own it internally. Brian, you mentioned the data there a minute ago, we’ve mentioned it a few times on the session so far. How do you go about collecting data around these areas? Is it something that I suppose the platform can help do? Or is it something that data in general, obviously, I know, data is king at the moment is what most industries are saying about? How do you go about collecting that? And then, I suppose leading on from that, it’d be good to understand the technology behind Rio, and how it helps me make people make sense of that as well.

Brian Flynn: There’s different types of data that we bring into the platform. There’s the profile around the organisation itself, which tends to be straightforward to capture from the user, but the real value for both the customer and us, in terms of interpreting the position of the organisation, is in the bigger data. Such as the supply curve, utility usage, travel, waste, recycling disposal and anything financially linked within the performance of the organisation. So, they can upload that data straight into our platform. We have a versatile upload system, which we’ve worked on for a number of years. Businesses can take the data they would normally store in Excel or some other similar system and load it directly into our platform. More interestingly, though, we couldn’t connect to other systems.

For example, a utility provider system connection sets up with water, electricity and gas, which is where we can pull across data direct from electricity metres and water metres, and have that Firehose straight into our data warehousing back end, for it to go through a processing phase to be stored. This allows us to accumulate a critical mass of data, which we can then report against, and help detect trends and mash performance against targets that the companies will have set themselves. Data is the bedrock of all that we do. Being able to make informed decisions based on data is the driving force with everything we do. We’ve got our reporting system that sits on top within the platform. We have a big package of off-the-shelf dashboards, which we provide to all our customers, so we can work with them to develop dashboards which are more useful to them. So again, these can be sliced in many ways.

But then again, the endpoint really is being able to provide insights by having dashboards that dig directly into the data and tell the story which the users wants to be told. Again, the timing is right for us in terms of bringing tech to this area, partly because data storage is cheap. Now cloud computing has moved to the point where we can bring in half-hourly utility data for the huge national organisations that we work with and store it, but at almost no cost at all. And have that reported on almost instantly. There’s almost zero-time lag between bringing it into our system and being able to reproduce it back out again in a way that was unthinkable six, seven years ago. That would be fighting against sort of clunky data visualisation packages, and you would have been paying huge storage costs to data storage providers. Now everything is hooked up to our cloud services provider, we connected services together, we combine the structure, we do the processing, and everything happens in close to real-time. Again, it’s only been really the last 24 months where all of this has been doable at a realistic cost. We’re right at the cutting edge of all that.

Rob Bressler: One thing that’s also important as well is the quality of data we produce; we’re not just getting it from one source rather multiple sources and making sure that those data sets match and marry so essentially you are comparing like for like and you can spot anomalies. Previously this process was time-consuming and real pain to do. And this is why we’re getting so much interest in the sort of consultancy sector. Rather than multiple people spending hours on end in Excel, we can do that process a lot more easily for them. We have seen that the consultant’s delivery has switched on to this seeing that they can still provide their services, but more quickly and cheaply. I have found myself doing more in-depth consulting with clients, which is the part of consultancy that I missed, which is time bought from not having to churn through some pretty poor information before we can get into the job of getting things done. That just allows us to get the job done for those clients a lot quicker and smarter, which is great.

Brian Flynn: Also, it has been learning from our side, the best way of doing this with the clients that we’ve had. We have some of the most demanding clients you could have in terms of managing their data such as big government agencies and national organisations, who must report correctly and precisely on what they do. The data must be good and the whole thing has to be useful as well. So, we know that over the past, certainly last couple of years, when we’ve been dealing with these customers that we get it right for them, we get it right for anyone.

Jack Snelling: Yeah, well it helps to have demanding customers, doesn’t it? Because then it refines what you’re doing and makes it better for everyone that follows as well. And obviously, I can understand from what both of you said, there, the importance of data. Rob, from your perspective, it means that people like yourself can add the value where you should be adding the value as opposed to sitting there mindlessly going through spreadsheets and living in living in Excel.

And obviously, Brian is as you mentioned, from your perspective, that data is what feeds the platform, it’s what brings those dashboards that you spoke about in life, it’s what makes the data more presentable to end clients that maybe didn’t understand it in the first instance, and now can get a grip on it and see exactly what they’ve got to do to hit these metrics that are now so important. I suppose data is one thing. And I think it probably leads us quite nicely through to maybe where you see the future of the platform or the future of the sector you sit within is then how does that data maybe become a little bit more automated? Or what role does AI start to play? Because I speak to a lot of people where AI and machine learning and everything because it’s a fantastic idea. But the reason they can’t do it is that their data is not in order, or they haven’t got a solid data bank to go off. So, what does that look like do you think that for the sector for Rio and in general, what role do you think that will start to play?

Brian Flynn: You’re right, the data has to be 100% accurate before we can begin to start looking at things like machine learning. There are two kinds of distinct approaches to automation. Machine learning is everywhere and is kind of synonymous with AI. But there’s kind of other aspects to AI which tend to get overlooked. With machine learning, it’s statistical based – it needs that data. So, you need big legs of data with the idea being that you could plug your fairly moderately sized database into a machine learning service and get worthwhile data at the end. In order to have machine learning you also need to have a clean use case; it needs to be the right way around and the problems you look to solve and then work your way down the chain and then see machine learning is the solution. Often, a lot of companies think about it the wrong way around.

They think we need to have AI as part of our system or offering. How to crowbar into system setup and it means that a lot of money gets spent. And this is where machine learning is potentially valuable. In terms of sustainability, what’s our energy usage going to be next year, the year after? How does it fluctuate within the year with time for the day?

These are ways if you haven’t known dates are captured over a longer period than it can provide some sort of insight to run obviously, for anomaly detection. So, use the machine learning model to figure out what normal looks like within bounds and then if something sits outside those bounds it can be flagged or investigated further. Essentially, a pattern matching system and if something doesn’t quite match the pattern, it throws up a warning and helps you fix the future-by-future periods. It’s always worth remembering there’s always a margin of error around anything it outputs and you need clean data, but you need lots of it. Everything you’ve done over a long period needs to be in the right format and captured and made available for these machine learning models to be of any use whatsoever. The other branch of AI which is of particular interest to me in the sphere that I’ve been operating over the past 15 years is Intelligent Automation. So, when you look at manual tasks you rethink as to how can we scale this or operate it more efficiently?

There are two available tools. One is RPA, which is particularly good for more repetitive simple tasks. You’ve got the closer as market light, blue prism and automation anywhere in UiPath. Big, mega organisations that can help you put together your workflows connected to other systems. Something that may have taken 50% of employees can simply be scaled up in such a way that they can focus on higher-level tasks where you want your human workers to be doing distinctly human things rather than the kind of repetitive tasks that a computer can do. Within that, there’s a role for a type of AI, which is historical of course symbolic AI which is particularly around decision making where the governor RPA systems to a point in the process normally would need a human to make a decision, and this is where you can stick a symbolic AI module or Intelligent Automation module. A way of thinking about it is this module represents human expertise – can you map the knowledge that you would normally bring to this part of the process? So, we have a whole decade’s worth of experience in producing these modules. We’ve captured expertise from key players in that sustainability industry and we can plug that knowledge into these automated process flows, which means decisions can be made.

It’s all going back to audibility. We have something in our system which provides an example around this, where a person might want to know what kind of heating system is most suitable to their circumstances. We work through a sort of automated chatbot process. And after a five-minute consultation, we can provide a customised report which tells them that it might be solar panels or heat source prints or something along those lines, based on the information given to them. That’s kind of a mini version of demo purposes but it helps explain the concept.

What we’re looking to do is deploy more and more of these modules right through our system and where customers find them useful. It helps us scale our consultancy offering which means that we’re getting closer and closer to that ideal of digitising perhaps the majority of the consultancy experience and that’s where we see the future. It’s kind of the interface between Max’s knowledge, bringing in data and pulling all this together to provide insights and to make the whole process a lot less manual.

Jack Snelling: Yeah, I mean, it’s so interesting to hear, I suppose because you know from a layman’s point of view and turns on it quite often you don’t understand why it would be the correct place for it to be deployed. And I think quite often, I think you hit the nail on the head, Brian, that problem misconception is that if you’ve got it, it will do good, regardless of maybe where it is and often as well thinking that deploying some sort of machine learning or AI tool will make redundant the need to still have a human input certain stages of the process which obviously isn’t the case it can only do so much and an unnatural fact that probably makes the time that is then spent with us, you know, human doing something more impactful and in the right areas. Is that something that Rob, I assume will continue to make your life much easier? As more and more of that sort of service can be deployed across the platform.

Rob Bressler: I think from our point of view, the more hooks and triggers you get into an organisation to demonstrate how a bit of data has changed is going to have an impact on this piece of law. For example, flagging that a company has hit a new threshold for emissions, or a legislation has changed, or even this material is now deemed as a hazardous site, we can interpret what impact that has on your business. A lot of the time these kinds of issues are found a way down the line, six months after you’ve may have been doing something wrong. We can hook in all these different bits of AI to form triggers that alert people to certain things at the time meaning they can act upon it at the right time, which is important. That’s a hard job to do, particularly on such a broad subject like sustainability. There are so many different moving parts and to be able to have all these hooks on the piece of legislation and this and the other is incredible. It alerts people to do things.

Businesses can either manage it themselves or can bring in a consultant. It’s all about making sure people are planning properly. How can you actually put in different activities and make sure all these things are aligned? Implementing new processes isn’t easy. There’s the whole education piece to it. There’s the dissemination of that knowledge and the training assistance so the more we can automate that the better. There’s always going to need to be that human interface, we’re not planning to remove consultants. We look to work with these consultants and allow people to get more access to this data and that’s the great thing about some of the AI. You’ve got some people that are experts in a particular field and there’s only so many of them around and they can only work with so many companies at a time by digitising that expertise. They can work with hundreds of 1000s, 10,000s of different organisations and still give the same quality of information to all those people. So that’s the fascinating bit for us is to work with those experts.

Jack Snelling: Sounds like that’s the end goal to strive towards to get to a more complete system like you said, that can do more and stretch that resource more because you’d hope the way that things seem to be going and companies taking more accountability and certainly people like you said at the top of this Rob, you know that university course that you initially attended now probably be in a much fuller room or bigger room than it was when you joined your first lecture. So, I assume that pool of people that know will grow but you know, equally as will the demand for them. So, it’s about how can technology serve the purpose to ensure that everyone’s still doing what they need to be doing and that doesn’t need to be handheld through every step of the process? I suppose to step away from Rio and I suppose in the interest of wrapping things up what I was interested to know giving you two people that that work within this, you know, green tech space and Tech for Good is what are yours, outside of Rio, what, what are your big predictions for what we might see over the next 10/15 years, you know, I’m talking about certain sectors that you can see coming out, I know where we’re evolving in a certain way and that big thing that you see, changing that currently, we sort of haven’t got sight of or maybe I’ve only just started to change.

Rob Bressler: I think there’s a huge amount of people wanting a lot more information about the products and services, but they all have different labels and no one fully understands what they all mean. And I think with ECS or if you find a handheld device, if you want to know about products, just being able to scan a QR code and finding out all its lifecycle, its footprint, its background, how ethical something is, will drive the market as well. A lot of the time when I was looking at my pension, I was thinking ‘what does it actually mean to me now?’, but now you can get a lot more insight into where your money goes. Is this the right product for me? Is my money being spent in the right places, ethically as well as making a good financial term because a lot of the time they go hand in hand?

That’s the fascinating thing about all of this, this isn’t just about the environment. This is about making good financial decisions for the long term. I think there’s going to be a huge amount of greater and more quality and more scrutiny on that on that information. Companies that don’t, or can’t, provide good quality information are going to get left behind.

Jack Snelling: Yeah, I think I agree with you. You can just tell can’t you from certain the way that new brands maybe brand themselves as well that there’s now a real interest from consumers and people to know what that supply chain looked like, you know, what is it ethical? Is it responsible was there you know, there’s far more I mean, we just you need to take a look and I know they’re still popular brands, but a lot of people now turning their nose up and turning away from fast fashion brands now because they know exactly where it’s coming from and what the process has been and what potentially, you know, people have had to put up with to get that product through their front door?

Rob Bressler: So that’s it, what happens to at the end of his life, where does that go to, you know, are they bringing these things back into the circular economy? This phrase looks at the longevity of products, and whether they can be repaired and reused and, essentially, sustainable.

Brian Flynn: Yes, it’s transparency, isn’t it? People will demand the information to make those decisions. It’s not going to be good enough for a company to just say that they have outsourced all that. There’s a battle between what we do and what our suppliers do. It’s all going to have to be out in the public domain.

Jack Snelling: What about you Brian, anything that differs any big bets for the next sort of 10 years where you see technology may be changing the sector?

Brian Flynn: Again, it’s been talked about for a number of years without really catching fire, but the Internet of Things is going to play a key role I’d imagine because, again, it comes down to data. It’s about capturing data from as many sources as possible. The real power of anything like our platform will be seen when we’re pulling data in from real-time sources. Anything from fridges to vehicles will be passed over to Rob, who knows a lot more about the Internet of Things in sustainability than I do. But it comes back to data; the more data providers you have, the more power you have essentially.

Rob Bressler: Yeah, the Internet of Things has been a fascinating thing. With that sort of digitalization and things like RFID tags, you can essentially track anything, anywhere. Whether it be the yoghurt has run out and it’s already ordered and coming to your door or when you’re disposing of things, is what you’ve said going to the right place? And are you being alerted to the fact that it’s not being handled properly, for example? And I think just having that information is going to be key.

There hasn’t been the boots on the ground to audit things and check and police these things, but we can digitise that process. This becomes a lot easier to track where stuff has come from or where it’s going. But the problem with that is if there’s too much data, or if it’s not used well and is not concise or meaningful, it becomes pointless. There lies the art in what we’ve got to do. I’m working withthe best minds in the business and the great developers to that information to people in a way that’s meaningful, and that’s the great driving force for us.

Jack Snelling: I think it’s certainly but obviously a lot more to come from this phase from this sector. I’m sure if we were to sit down again in five years’ time, there’ll be things that we potentially haven’t even thought of today where we start to see sectors impacted in terms of what they need to do or what’s required and some of the new ideas that will no doubt stem from environmental based technologies, tech for good and as we mentioned before, but I think that’s a pretty good point to wrap up. So I thank both of you today for sharing not just you know more about what it is RIO is doing in this space and how that platform is helping some of your sort of customers and partners at the moment but equally good to pick your brains and get your insight in terms of what the industry looks like as a whole where it might go so yeah, Brian and Rob thanks very much for joining us.

Brian Flynn: Thank you

Rob Bressler: Thanks Jack

Jack Snelling: [Outro] Thank you for listening to this instalment of The Godel POD. If you like what you hear and you’d like to know when we’re releasing more of these, please subscribe to the Godel page on Podbean and Spotify.