SustainIQ: Small company, big data and world-changing product


Liam McEvoy and Maria Diffley

Liam McEvoy and Maria Diffley

Liam McEvoy and Maria Diffley

Just last week, the results of PwC’s 24th annual global CEO Survey showed that over half of chief executives in the UK plan to increase their investment in sustainability. Around 51% believe they should be doing more to measure and 53% more to report, on the environmental impact of their business.

This is encouraging news, but the challenge those chief executives are likely to face when they come to make that investment and to measure and report on their progress, is the lack of robust, intelligent data capture systems to help them in their efforts. That is, until now.

Luckily for them, back in 2017, two Belfast-based professionals working in sustainability and frustrated by the difficulties faced by their clients, decided to find a solution. After a long process of consultation and testing with companies, initially in the construction sector, where most of the pain seemed to be being felt, SustainIQ was born.

As co-founder Liam McEvoy says: “No organisation sets out to be unsustainable. In fact, many have regulatory obligations that prevent that, but there is broad agreement that measuring and reporting on sustainable practices can be difficult and time-consuming.”

Working at that time in the construction sector, Liam was aware of the challenges of responding to increasing demands to demonstrate sustainability credentials in public contracts. “Often the data was there, but it was siloed and hard to uncover and scattered across many sites. Pulling it all together took a lot of effort and time that could have been spent more productively.”

He and Maria Diffley decided to tackle the problem and set out to develop an integrated data intelligence system that would allow companies to measure, monitor and report on all sustainability pillars – economic, social and environmental. What they have come up with provides rich, valuable data that helps companies with strategic decision-making and has supported many clients in winning new business.

Maria says: “For some SustainIQ clients, the system is more about helping them demonstrate to stakeholders that they are a company with values and purpose. They use it to help attract the best people, create a progressive culture and cultivate a reputation for being a responsible and sustainable business. Our strapline is ‘we’ll change your world, for good’ and that’s really our mission. We want to use technology to help make the world a better place by showing the impact sustainability can have on people, place and planet.”

Now in use on over 500 sites across the UK and Ireland, SustainIQ’s client base goes beyond Northern Ireland and beyond the construction sector including clients in the FMCG and Transport sectors amongst others.

Following a six-figure investment from the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) at the start of 2021, there are ambitious plans to grow the business across the UK and Ireland, so perhaps those chief executives surveyed by PwC that want to measure and report more on sustainability, should look to Belfast for the solution to their problems.