Green Thread Consulting, LLC is a sustainability strategy startup focused on reducing operating costs through improvements in energy, water, and resource usage. The Hartford-based startup develops practical sustainability change management for businesses, municipalities, and other organizations.
Green Thread Consulting Founder and CEO Kris Coperine told Innovation Destination Hartford about the importance of sustainability, refining your message, and cultivating a network.
INNOVATION DESTINATION HARTFORD: You founded the startup in 2015 at reSET. What role did reSET play in the development?
KRIS COPERINE: I started going to reSET in 2015 and was inspired and helped by the staff and resources there. Although I didn’t officially launch until April 2016, I needed the guidance, support, and comradery that came with working at reSET. I sought advice through their connections and service offerings in legal, tax, the City of Hartford, and the Small Business Administration.
IDH: How did you develop the business concept?
KC: I’ve been interested in sustainability while studying in Ecuador as an undergraduate. It was then I saw how modern consumerism and resource use were permeating indigenous culture, without the infrastructure to support the generated trash, which was everywhere. It was becoming clear that American styles of living weren’t compatible with on-the-ground practices in other countries.
I was continuing those studies into graduate school when the recession hit in 2008. I had the opportunity to reevaluate my interests and changed majors from Geography to an International Master of Business Administration that focused on Sustainability.
Upon moving to Connecticut, and knowing that consulting is what I’ve always wanted to do, I took my background and passion and put it into forming Green Thread Consulting.
IDH: Why is sustainability important to you as a company?
KC: I think sustainability is much more important to the planet and the business world than most realize. I take a business-oriented view of sustainability and actively translate sustainability initiatives into sound financial business decisions through cost modeling, process improvement, operating efficiencies, and life cycle analysis.
IDH: Tell us something we don’t know about what it’s like to be an entrepreneur and launch a startup.
KC: It is both harder and easier than it seems. Although it’s mentally difficult to take the first steps because of all the what-ifs and uncertainties, there will be plenty of headaches, frustrations, achievements, and periods of joy that will move you forward. Learn to manage your time, meet people, work hard, and be persistent, and it’s worth it.
IDH: What makes your consulting services unique?
KC: My background includes certification in Project Management, Green Buildings and Operations (GPRO), and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). I’m also a licensed Sustainability Competencies, Opportunities, Reporting, and Evaluation (S-CORE) assessor through the International Society of Sustainability Professionals.
That combination, coupled with my MBA, gives me with the unique skillset to provide my clients with actionable, measurable, and fiscally beneficial insights that are both environmentally and economically sustainable. I save my clients money, reduce their impact on the environment, and make their companies more attractive to both customers and employees.
IDH: What’s the biggest challenge your company has faced as a startup?
KC: It’s been challenging to educate people that although energy is a significant part of sustainability, it is only the beginning of what is possible for operational and process improvements, as well as cost savings. Educating and informing potential clients about why your product or service is valuable is key.
IDH: If you could go back and change one thing about the startup journey, what would it be?
KC: I would have refined my message and value proposition sooner. Sometimes the process includes telling 100 people 80 different versions of what you’re trying to do, and that’s okay. But, the sooner you figure out what you do (best), the sooner people will take you seriously.
IDH: Any advice to others who are launching a startup?
KC: Your network is a big part of your value—to yourself and others. Cultivate it online and in person and curate it by really getting to know the people you connect with.