Asian Scientist Magazine (Dec. 23, 2022) — When her daughter was two years old, Grace Sai sat down and began writing a will—just in case. But she suddenly felt a sense of unease. Having read articles on the world’s rising temperatures and how, globally, we are still far from achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, Sai wondered whether the will was even enough to help her daughter in the future.
“I realized, what is the point of leaving her with these material things when the planet that she inherits may not even be habitable?” Sai shared with Asian Scientist Magazine.
This revelation, along with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, gave Sai the push to begin reading and learning in depth about greenhouse gas emissions and how businesses are currently moving towards a net zero future. She quickly realized that the current method of referring to consultants to measure and analyze a business’ carbon emission data took far too long.
“Manual consultants will take three to nine months to just come up with a common measurement for a large company, which doesn’t make sense because it will only leave the company with three to six months to actually decarbonize,” said Sai.
With this, she began tackling this issue by launching a start-up called Unravel Carbon. Co-founded by Sai and business partner Marc Allen, Unravel Carbon is an AI-powered platform that tracks a company’s carbon emissions. With thorough insight into a business’ carbon emission hotspots throughout its supply chain, the platform provides a report that can help businesses begin the process of decarbonizing much faster.
Sai is no stranger to start-ups, having previously co-founded two businesses, a coworking space as well as a start-up incubator, alongside a venture capital firm throughout her 15-year career. But Unravel Carbon was a different beast compared to her previous ventures.
“In the past, I didn’t take sustainability issues seriously,” recalled Sai, “I mean, I read about it in headlines and such, but I was very passive about the impacts of climate change. It wasn’t until I had that epiphany [about my daughter’s future] and began actively reading more about greenhouse gas emissions and climate change that I decided to put my experience in entrepreneurship towards tackling this pressing issue.”
Since its founding in 2021, Unravel Carbon has worked closely with various companies in the Asia-Pacific region to decarbonize their supply chains. One company currently using Unravel Carbon’s services is F&B outlet SaladStop. This collaboration has led to SaladStop adopting various changes throughout their business, such as sourcing locally grown produce for their ingredients as much as possible, along with using refurbished and reclaimed building materials to construct and decorate their first net zero outlet at CapitaSpring, Singapore.
Working in the Asia-Pacific region is especially important for Sai and the Unravel Carbon team. Because a sizable percentage of the globe’s manufacturing centers and supply chains are in this region, it is one of the world’s largest producers of global greenhouse gasses—which is why kickstarting decarbonization here is key.
Although there are plans to expand their operations to other regions like Europe and North America, Sai remarked that the company will continue focusing its efforts on home turf. “Asia-Pacific is an underserved region. There are no other equivalents of us here.”
To learn more about Unravel Carbon, check out Grace Sai’s video interview with Asian Scientist Magazine.