How I Help Companies to be More Energy Efficient and Climate Conscious

Tracy O’Rourke is co-founder and CEO, VividEdge, a company that helps large organisations solve climate change through energy efficiency. INNOVATIVE THINKING I was a finance director by the time I was 30. As I got older, I realised I wanted a business that combined innovation with social purpose; I wanted freedom to innovate, to work at a faster pace, to steer my own ship. In 2015, I founded Vivid Edge, and borrowed some principles from the aircraft leasing world, taking on capital costs and bearing risk so that companies could focus on their pressing business priorities without diverting time and money to driving energy efficiency programmes that we could design, finance, manage and implement for them. THORNY CHALLENGE Reducing carbon emissions or the “planet component” is now central for companies, it’s local and it’s real. Organisations have aggressive targets to meet. The VividEdge model helps large organisations implement an energy efficiency policy by packaging and structuring the risk and delivering the project. The benefits are huge, not just financially for the business, but for the planet. It’s also positive for employee wellbeing. Ireland is such a fabulous place to launch a global business: globally there are 15,000 multinationals with turnover in excess of 1bn and 1,000 have a presence here, with 200 having a meaningful presence. We intend helping them to be more energy efficient. HOW I FLIPPED THE FEMININE STEREOTYPE When I left a well-paid role in the corporate world to set up VividEdge, I was the sole income earner, my husband having taken the brave decision to be a full-time dad when our third child was born. People thought we’d lost the plot – swapping security for uncertainty. This thinking was contra to the accepted way of doing things. But I believe he was the more courageous, supporting me in me pursuing this dream. I was totally in my comfort zone. I would say being a woman has often been an advantage. Now that I am an entrepreneur, it’s irrelevant. But we need to remember that it is women who don’t always make this choice. I am so proud of my husband, he took on a harder role, a bigger risk, in the more stereotyped environment of the school yard.

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