ESG Investing: As carbon reporting becomes mandatory, ASX-listed Simble is ready to cash in
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They say if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – and that holds particularly true when it comes to sustainability.
While all the talk has been on achieving net zero by 2050, little has been done to address the lack of mandatory reporting on our carbon footprints.
In Australia and the US, public companies must disclose relevant information such as ESG risks and opportunities, but detailed reporting on carbon emmissions isn’t mandatory.
Europe is a bit more ahead in the game. The UK, for instance, has recently held consultations with the TCFD (Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures), and is now set to become one of the first countries to implement compulsory carbon reporting.
Experts believe it’s only a matter of time before mandatory reporting is legislated across the world, possibly even on a consistent set of global standards.
One company that’s already ahead of the curve is ASX-listed Simble Solutions (ASX:SIS).
Simble’s suite of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products allow companies to measure, report and reduce their carbon emissions as well as monitor, control and optimise their energy consumption.
Last week, Simble announced that Dr Daniel Tillett has joined its board to navigate the company through the rapidly evolving ESG landscape.
A serial entrepreneur and investor, Tillett is the founder of world-leading DNA sequencing software Nucleics, and is also the current Chief Scientific Officer of ASX-listed biotech, Race Oncology (ASX:RAC), of which he is also the majority shareholder.
“Everyone knows we have to move towards ESG and zero carbon targets, but how we get there is a bit more difficult,” Tillett told Stockhead.
“There’s no point saying that you’re interested in being carbon neutral if you’ve got no ability to prove that you’re working towards it. Everything needs to be transparent, and that’s where the Simble platform comes in,” he said.
Simble focuses on two main products – the SimbleSense and CarbonView software platforms.
SimbleSense is an integrated hardware and software solution that enables businesses to visualise, control and monetise their energy systems.
CarbonView meanwhile, is the more recently launched growth-focused tool that’s easy to use, designed to help non-experts do their carbon reporting.
“If you’re not an expert in carbon analysis, you can’t actually complete the formal carbon reports, they’re ridiculously complicated,” said Tillett.
“And if you’re a small company, you can’t afford to pay $10,000 to have some consultant do that for you. You’ve got to be able to do it yourself, or give it to somebody within your company who’s not an expert to work it all out.”
Tillett explained that with a push towards ESG, big companies are increasingly asking their smaller suppliers to supply carbon footprint data, to make sure that it’s being managed.
“With CarbonView, we’ve made it accessible to SMEs to be able to do that, and those SMEs are incredibly important because they’ve been kind of forgotten in this whole process,” Tillett said.
“SMEs can tell the system when they want to be carbon neutral in, say, five years time. CarbonView will then tell them what to do to get there by giving suggestions on each step along the way,” he continued.
Ultimately, Tillett believes legislation will be the factor that could position Simble for growth.
“My guess is that some legislation in Australia will come during the term of the next government after this year’s election,” Tillett said.
“But it will probably start out being voluntary for bigger companies, and then moving down to smaller companies before becoming compulsory for everyone.”
Tillett believes sustainability is a complicated problem that needs a complicated solution, and the only way to get to carbon neutral is for all companies to band together and become involved.
When that happens, the addressable market for Simble could be huge, what with over 2 million SMEs being registered in Australia at the moment.
“Without legislation, there are enough businesses already wanting to do carbon reporting voluntarily right now. But over the long term, you can easily see this is something that every small business would eventually have to do,” Tillett said.
With the business model of CarbonView based on subscriptions, Simble could potentially be cashing in on consistent recurring revenues over the long term.
“The big attraction with the SaaS model is that it has a big upfront cost, but when you get a market going, it could turn into something really massive and even become billion dollar businesses,” said Tillett.
“It could also become an incredibly valuable asset to have from an acquisition point of view, because a lot of companies out there want to acquire SaaS businesses.”
It would indeed take a brave man to bet against Tillett, who knows all about scaling a business exponentially.
As the biggest shareholder of Race Oncology (around 10%), Tillett was instrumental in driving Race’s market cap from $3m to almost $500m within the space of three years.
“That growth in Race happened because more shareholders had an understanding of what we were doing,” Tillett said.
“People don’t invest in companies they don’t understand, and if we could just get people to understand the big opportunity that’s before us now with Simble, more investors will get behind it.”