How can product leaders begin optimizing product-level data to facilitate carbon emission reductions? The scale and urgency of the transformation required to fight climate change has never been more clear. Building hardware and software products, acquiring the funding and creating a diverse community to enhance talent capacity and to drive innovation, is essential to tackling this global environmental crisis. In this episode of Product Talk, Silicon Valley Bank (a Division of First Citizens Bank) Climate Tech SVP Maggie Wong will be interviewing GreenSwapp Founder and CEO Ajay Varadharajan to discuss leveraging machine learning to aggregate, analyze and present emission data in a consistent format, building a data infrastructure API tool to scale product-level carbon accounting, as well as the importance of understanding target customers and anticipating their future needs to enable product development that serve diverse use cases.

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Show Notes

  1. Watching Al Gore’s documentary An Inconvenient Truth inspired Ajay to focus on climate change.
  2. Ajay has an extensive background studying various aspects of climate science.
  3. Green Swap aims to solve the challenge of slow product-level carbon accounting calculations.
  4. Moreover, the company aggregates and standardizes inconsistent product data from multiple sources.
  5. Machine learning models are used to match ingredients to research and extract useful data points.
  6. Lack of data standards and retailers’ low tech adoption present challenges for Green Swap.
  7. Political uncertainty around regulations keeps Ajay concerned.
  8. However, diversity brings different perspectives that can help solve climate change problems.
  9. Moreover, many opportunities exist to solve climate problems using new technologies, such as optimizing product-level data.
  10. Nevertheless, awareness and willingness to act on climate change lag behind the scale of the problem.
  11. is recommended for learning about climate change and connecting with others.
  12. Work on Climate and Climate Action Tech are active product manager communities.
  13. Customer discovery and understanding pain points is key for product managers.
  14. Translating customer insights directly into features leads to successful products.
  15. Ajay aims to apply Green Swap’s algorithms to other sectors like fashion.
  16. Furthermore, the goal is to provide carbon data for any product from any retailer.
  17. Additionally, communities can help product managers interested in climate tech careers.
  18. Staying close to customers helps plan effectively and maintain competitive advantage.
  19. Automating carbon accounting can reduce analyst work by 6-8 months.
  20. Finally, diversity in problem-solving enriches solutions to climate change issues.

About the speaker
Ajay Varadharajan GreenSwapp, Founder & CEO Member

Ajay is an engineer turned climate-tech entrepreneur. He spends his time & 15 years of experience as a climate scientist solving tough climate problems using AI and tech. His company GreenSwapp is a data platform for retailers & brands that uses AI to estimate (Scope 3) emissions per SKU at scale and in real-time & suggest reductions. He loves rock climbing & is passionate about protecting nature.

About the host
Maggie Wong Silicon Valley Bank, a Division of First Citizens Bank, Climate Tech & Sustainability SVP

Maggie Wong is an accomplished product management and capital markets leader with over 15 years of experience in driving product strategy, delivering global products, fundraising & capital allocation, and leading cross-functional teams. Outside of her role at Silicon Valley Bank to support New York / East Coast based climate tech companies and investors, she is also experienced in increasing program impact, growing community reach and implementing DEI initiatives at travel and fintech non-profits. Maggie is passionate about making a social impact for the next generation, tackling climate change and traveling. She is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese and a beginner in Spanish.

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