When I asked Karl Feilder what tips he can give me to run my business in a more sustainable, energy-conscious way, he didn’t pull any punches.
As it turns out, we’re being incredibly wasteful and we didn’t even know it! From the lights we had on unnecessarily, to the room being too cold, to not carpooling to work, Karl wasted no time rattling off what we could be doing better.
And the funny thing is, these are such easy fixes to implement. That’s the problem with the status quo. Nobody cares. It gets to a point where it doesn’t even cross your mind there’s a better way to do things.
Karl is the founder and CEO of Neutral Fuels. To put what they do in layman’s terms, Karl and his team work with companies to make their entire supply chain eco-friendly and energy efficient.
Since founding his first start-up in 1990, which was sold to Microsoft in 1995, Karl has overseen the growth of technology companies resulting in three personal trade sale exits, two trade sale exits on behalf of external investors, and the leadership and preparation of two companies for IPO. Karl has 20 years international experience of managing technology businesses and was recognized by the World Economic Forum in 2004, as a Technology Pioneer.” He was voted “Innovator of the Year 2011” by the Middle East LOG magazine.
Karl holds an MBA from Henley Management College, a B.Eng.(Hons) Industrial Engineering from the University of Hertfordshire, and is an Adjunct Lecturer at the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi.
He also hosts a podcast, “Not Another Empty Suit.” And in his spare time, he belts out Led Zeppelin at zero-carbon rock concerts.
As far as “big business” experience goes, Karl is as credible and authoritative as they come. Which is why, when he talks about the impact businesses have on the environment and what we can do about it, people listen.
I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with him. And, in preparing for our chat, I was shocked at some of the facts and figures I came across. You’ll have to watch the full interview to find out what they are.
Time-Stamped Show Notes
- [00:56] How Karl’s company Neutral Fuels uses technology to make and sell biodiesel
- [1:55] What possessed Karl to think he can sell biofuels to a nation built on fossil fuels?
- [03:20] Wrapping our heads around the idea of “sustainability” as a growth play
- [05:25] Correcting two big misconceptions about sustainability
- [08:23] A practical case study on how Karl helped a client reduced energy consumption by 30% and save money every year
- [10:00] Assess, Reduce, Replace – how companies can go about reducing their carbon footprint in a methodical way
- [12:15] Why ordinary citizens don’t need to change their behavior to reduce climate change
- [14:55] How a small business like Ubrik can reduce energy consumption and be more eco-friendly
- [17:30] Karl likes to say “I’m not an environmentalist, I’m just trying to save the planet.” Find out why, and why environmentalism is filled with contradictions and complexity
- [12:30] Why Karl’s climate change project at DHL was attached to the Finance Department and not CSR
- [22:05] Why Karl started his podcast, “Not Another Empty Suit”
- [23:46] What is “Greenwashing” and why companies can’t use sustainability or eco-friendliness as a marketing gimmick
- [25:34] Why having a good tailor is environmentally friendly
- [26:36] Why CEOs who ignore sustainability are like smokers (even if they don’t smoke)
- [27:50] Why business owners, and not citizens, are best-equipped to make the right decisions on sustainability
- [29:20] Where university students can go to learn more about starting careers in sustainability
- [32:30] Why authentic pride can be a great motivator to achieve big things in life and business