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  • Writer's pictureRomesh Jeyaseelanayagam

INSIGHTS: Q&A with High Growth Business Leaders – Ryan Gledhill, Co-Founder of Thallo


Gain insights on business growth in our series of bite size chats with Business Leaders, brought to you by The FD Consultant – a collective of fractional CFO’s. Today we welcome Ryan Gledhill, Co-Founder of Thallo.

Gain insights on business growth in our series of bite size chats with Business Leaders, brought to you by The FD Consultant.


We interview high achieving individuals who we believe everyone can learn from, and who bring insight into the many aspects of successfully growing a business.


In this edition’s Insights Q&A, we welcome Ryan Gledhill, Co-Founder of Thallo. Ryan discusses the challenge of building a business in the carbon market, and navigating the perils of being perceived as ‘greenwashing’.


We hope you enjoy this edition of Insights with Ryan’s experiences and insights.


Hi Ryan, please tell us about your business.

 

Thallo is a pioneering climate solutions company dedicated to transforming the carbon market through innovative technology and making sustainability more accessible and actionable for businesses and individuals.

 

Positioned as a key partner for businesses navigating the complexities of the voluntary carbon market, Thallo provides seamless access to hundreds of millions of dollars of verified carbon credits, ensuring each transaction supports tangible and traceable climate action, thus making the journey towards carbon neutrality more than just a pledge.


One of Thallo's flagship offerings is its Carbon-as-a-Service (CaaS) API, designed to allow companies to easily integrate carbon credits into their existing operations and products. This empowers businesses across various industries to incorporate sustainability into their core offerings, from e-commerce to manufacturing, enhancing their sustainability credentials and fostering a more sustainable economy.


In November 2022, Thallo secured a significant milestone by raising $2.5 million in a seed funding round, led by Web3 powerhouse Ripple. This investment supports the ongoing development and expansion of its web3-based carbon exchange platform, aimed at addressing key challenges in the voluntary carbon market. Thallo's approach to carbon credits is non-commoditized, focusing on direct collaboration with project developers to ensure fair value distribution and enhance project funding efficiency.

 

Additionally, Thallo's partnership and technical integrations, including the world's first two-way carbon 'bridge' with the BioCarbon Registry, underline its commitment to making the carbon market more accessible, efficient, and transparent.

 

What are the key factors which have driven your growth to date?

 

Put simply, partnerships with key players and an unbelievably talented team. The Voluntary Carbon Market is on the precipice of exponential growth, with even the most conservative estimates predicated a 10x in market volume by 2030. There is an impressive amount of institutional funding waiting on the sidelines, from Asset Managers to Supply Chains to Capital Markets.

 

What is preventing them from aggressively entering the market?

 

A software platform that aggregates, then traces high quality credits from provenance to retirement - this is exactly the challenge that Thallo is solving.



A software platform that aggregates, then traces high quality credits from provenance to retirement - this is exactly the challenge that Thallo is solving.

 

What makes you so passionate about what you do?

 

This will sound somewhat corny, but is true. I have recently started a family, and the science around climate change is frankly undeniable at this point.

 

There is a real generational shift towards solving one of the biggest challenges humanity has ever faced, and by not doing all we can, we are complicit in the suffering of the generations to come.

 

Some facts that always catalyse me into action:


· Climate change could result in over 150,000 deaths in Europe by the end of the century due to extreme weather conditions

· The Arctic could become ice-free by the summer of 2040, dramatically impacting global climate patterns and wildlife

· Nearly 1 million species have become extinct due to ocean acidification, disrupting marine ecosystems and the animals that rely on them

· A study showed that for each degree Celsius increase in night temperature, the world’s rice production declined by 10%

· California experienced its driest year on record in 2013, affecting water supply for the state, as nearly 100% of its land suffered from drought conditions

· Wildfires across the world are dramatically increasing. Boreal forests, which store 30%-40% of all terrestrial carbon globally, have seen fire-related tree cover loss increase by about 3% per year over the last 20 years. Tropical forests are also experiencing an increase in fire activity, with fire-related tree cover loss in the tropics increasing at a rate of about 36,000 hectares per year over the last 20 years.


We need to act now, and anything less than global commitment is likely to affect our children's generation in ways we cannot fathom.



There is a real generational shift towards solving one of the biggest challenges humanity has ever faced, and by not doing all we can, we are complicit in the suffering of the generations to come.

 

What do you view as your greatest achievement in this role to date?

 

All of the success Thallo has had in disrupting the VCM thus far is entirely down to our talented team and our Project Developer (Carbon Credit Suppliers, those on the ground building the projects) partners.

 

My only role has been to aggregate, combine, and introduce previously disparate counterparties. Far smarter people than I are doing the real work here.

 

What are the biggest challenges your business faces?

 

Pushback from registries when trying to incorporate and standardise their credits for efficient purchasing and trading. It's a classic incumbent tale, where a 'this is how we have always done it' attitude prevails. Rapid growth will require new software and new partners, and some of the most prominent registries have multi-year waiting lists for new projects. That, quite frankly, isn't good enough.

 

Software like AI can cut the project registration phase by more than half. Aggregation platforms (like Thallo) can provide price discovery, driving fair pricing for the Project Developers. Automated measuring of projects using IoT, satellites and more can increase the quality standards of such projects.


But for all of this to happen, registries must start collaborating with each other, and with innovators in the space. Gold Standard are a great example of a major registry with a positive, forward-facing attitude.

 

Businesses face the perception risk of 'greenwashing', which means taking climate action steps which are more optical than meaningful. How does Thallo ensure that its climate action solution for businesses is not simply an easy get out for businesses to say they are doing the right thing as opposed to taking other tangible actions?

 

From the start, this was a key challenge for Thallo.


We solve this as best we can by:


· Implementing a transparent vetting process for all carbon offset projects. You can see these minimum standards on Thallo's website, here. This includes thorough due diligence on the environmental impact, permanence, and additionality of the projects. By ensuring that projects have a genuine, measurable impact on carbon reduction, we can retain trust in the market assets.

· We utilise and are members of recognised third-party verification standards (e.g., Verra, Gold Standard, IETA, VCMI, ICVCM) to certify the integrity and impact of projects. These standards are designed to ensure projects deliver the environmental benefits they claim.

· The technology itself ensures transparency and prevents double counting, making it clear that the credits are retired after use and cannot be claimed by multiple entities.


Ultimately, though - I have a first principles view here. Even if businesses are buying carbon credits (assuming high-quality) just to tick a box - more volume will ensure greater demand, with limited supply. Simple market economics dictates that this will push up the price of quality credits. As this continues to happen, it becomes a challenge for the CFO (as well as the CMO, CEO, etc) as there will be more effective ways to decarbonise, rather than offset, through their balance sheet.

 

Carbon credits are the incentive mechanism to ensure that greenwashing becomes simply too expensive, in favour of decarbonisation and insetting strategies. 

 

Nset and other key players will then step in to support these strategies, and this is where we will start to see real reductions in emissions globally. In some ways, the carbon markets are in the unenviable position of aiming to become increasingly unnecessary as the market matures.



Carbon credits are the incentive mechanism to ensure that greenwashing becomes simply too expensive, in favour of decarbonisation and insetting strategies. 

 

What one piece of advice would you give to those who want to achieve or sustain high growth in their businesses? 

 

Having now disrupted a number of markets with various startups, including Construction, Web3, Capital Markets, and now Carbon Markets, one thing is clear. 

 

Business is all about networking, especially in highly-disparate markets. A rising tide lifts all boats, and difficult problems require many big brains. Network, collaborate, and be part of a disruptive wave.

 

If you are well-placed and highly considered in such a movement, the rest - customer traction, profit, attractiveness to work for, repeatable product - is simple to achieve.

 

Reputation is everything.



We hope you found Ryan's comments informative and thought provoking.


If you'd like to know more about Ryan and Thallo, please visit the Thallo website here.

 

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