Construction software company Payapps is taking action to create a more sustainable future for the construction industry, achieving Climate Active carbon neutral certification in Australia in 2021.
In 2021, the Payapps team made the decision to pursue carbon neutral certification through Climate Active, a partnership between Australian businesses and Government. Achieving the certification later that year, the company has continued to put their best foot forward to improve their carbon footprint.
Payapps is a cloud-based collaboration tool for the construction industry, assisting contractors and subcontractors to simplify and expedite the payment approval process. Their mission to develop and provide software to make life easier for its users has reduced the need for paper globally in over 30,000 construction companies, saving approximately 20 tonnes in paper each year.
Founded in 2014 by Melbourne born Lincoln Easton, Payapps was developed to remove traditional, inefficient methods of managing progress claims. Easton found that many construction companies experienced friction when it came to managing progress claims and saw the potential for a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform focused on collaboration and efficiency.
Jessica Widdicombe, Senior Finance Manager at Payapps says the product has since become an efficient, sustainable, and globally recognised progress claims solution. “As well as improving efficiencies on construction sites, Payapps reduces the need for paper helping our customers to achieve their goals in reducing their environmental impact,” she says.
Widdicombe has been with Payapps for 4 years and led the process for the company to achieve Climate Active carbon neutral certification.
“Our product is a clean technology by nature that helps reduce risks and promote efficiencies within the construction industry and so going carbon neutral ourselves presented as a logical next step,” says Widdicombe.
“Our leadership team is very passionate about sustainability, so when the opportunity arose to achieve a state of carbon neutrality, everyone was on board.”
Digitisation presents one of the greatest opportunities for the construction industry to achieve net zero emissions. With technologies like Payapps forging sustainable solutions for the industry, it’s becoming increasingly important for companies to be more receptive to adopting innovative technologies.
Although the Australian construction industry is slow-moving in the uptake of technology, technology-aided operations will one day become ubiquitous across the sector. Industry organisations like the Green Building Council of Australia are driving change in built sustainability, and green technology like Payapps is a major factor in driving this change.
“Many of our customers have key values around sustainability, and we want to support them by recognising Payapps can have a positive impact on their business and the environment,” says Widdicombe.
“We are able to show action, real intent, and commitment to carbon neutrality through our Climate Active certification. We aim to showcase the amazing benefits of technology in the sustainability space.”
The process to achieve carbon neutral certification, and maintain it each year, included a relatively small investment for a great initiative, Widdicombe says.
Payapps met the requirements of the Climate Active Carbon Neutral Standard by measuring their emissions, reducing where possible and offsetting remaining emissions.
“The first and biggest part of the process is calculating your carbon emissions. We had help to get started from our major shareholder IFM Investors’ and an environmental consultant Pathzero, who guided us and helped us identify initiatives to achieve the certification. Pathzero’s SaaS solution enabled us to calculate our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, identify ways to reduce our impact, and look at ways to offset our emissions,” says Widdicombe.
The Payapps platform provides progress payment visibility across the supply chain, including subcontractors, and helps businesses involved in the process reduce their own carbon emissions. By reducing the need for paper, it also saves on the transportation, storage and archiving of documents, furthering its sustainability benefits right through the supply chain.
“We’re proud to be supporting our clients to become more sustainable by using the Payapps software and also playing our part here in the office,” says Widdicombe.
“We have introduced a number of initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint, including reducing our electricity consumption and waste, as well as recycling where possible. All Payapps employees are encouraged to do their part, whether it be reducing travel time or using efficient modes of transport.”
Payapps has also started an education process following their certification, largely for their Australia based employees, to provide their staff with everyday steps they can take to reduce their emissions.
“The education sessions are still in the early stages of development and we’ll continue to evolve them each year,” says Widdicombe.
According to the ACT Government’s ‘No Waste Paper and Cardboard factsheet 2022’ the average office worker uses approximately 50kg of paper, or 10,000 sheets of A4 paper, a year. Widdicombe says Payapps offices are almost paperless.
“We educate staff to look at the things we use day to day – like marketing materials, printed documents and electricity – and collaborate to find alternative, sustainable solutions,” she says.
Currently going through their second year of the certification process for the last financial year, Widdicombe says Payapps is continuing to be proactive in the sustainability space, always looking for ways to improve.
“Our headcount has doubled over the last 12 months, and the economy has opened back up. Our first year of certification is a low baseline to measure against considering everyone was in lockdown, so naturally our emissions will increase as the business grows, but we’re actively trying to reduce our emissions on a per employee basis moving forward.”
“Our goal is to continue to support industry pillars around sustainability and encourage other companies in construction to be a part of the carbon neutral journey.”