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Tech Talks with Dan Sherrard-Smith, MotherTree


Welcome to ‘Tech Talks’ with Ana Andrade, a Q&A focused on how Tech is making the Built Environment SMARTER.

This bulletin series features key industry players from the land technology and built environment space in conversation with consultant Ana Andrade, drawing insights around the topics of  AI, IoT, GDPR and ESG compliance, and much more!

This week we have been in touch with Dan Sherrard-Smith, Founder & CEO at MotherTree.

The mission at MotherTree is to make it effortless for you to choose greener options in life. They believe that if enough of us do this, we can collectively drive economies of scale, bringing down the costs to make green options the default, and ultimately create a healthier planet for all. 

As individuals, they were shocked when they took a close look at how their pension providers and banks were investing their money. Fortunately, they found that switching to align their investments to their personal values was much easier than they thought.

Often, we don’t find the time to research the impact of our choices, and that’s why they created MotherTree. Their free money carbon calculator makes it quick and easy to become aware of the impact of your savings & investments and switch to greener providers. 

What does your role entail at MotherTree?  

I am the Founder & CEO at MotherTree, so my role and days vary! Key things include making sure the team are motivated, bringing in new opportunities and exploring ways to expand MotherTree’s positive impact.

How did you find yourself working in this sector? 

Towards the end of my time at my previous startup Look After My Bills – my wife became pregnant and it made me really question where I was spending my time. My son was born in April 2021 and someday he will ask me what I did when I realised the extent of the climate crisis, and I want to be able to say I did all I could with the skills I had.  

The more I researched, the more I realised climate crisis is the biggest problem we’ve ever faced, and we are a species of problem solvers, so I’m motivated to work on that challenge every single day. 

That’s what led me to ultimately leave what had become a comfortable job at Look After My Bills and begin talking to founders, sustainability professionals and employees about their experience of the climate crisis. I ran 1-2-1 interviews both in offices and over zoom, then focus groups and on a walk in a Slovak forest with my wife, she came up with the idea for the Climate Challenge. Which back then was 30 days taking on 30 tasks to discover ways to live more sustainably. We went vegan for the day, we got rid of single use plastic, we found out our carbon footprint. And the big realisation was the impact of our money – it was a big shock personally as well – 2% of my pension was going to fossil fuel companies, 1% was going to tobacco. 1% to weapons. These were areas I absolutely would not give money to or invest in and yet every month, some of my hard earned cash was going to them.  

At the same time, the Look After My Bills main business bank was with Lloyds – which has funnelled almost £12bn into the fossil fuel industry since 2016. 


In what ways have you seen this space changing and evolving over the years? 

There is increasing realisation that businesses can be a source for good – both for profit and the planet. And the sector has become increasingly collaborative.

What unique challenges and opportunities do you see with ESG and sustainability in the UK as opposed to other regions? 

The UK, as an island, must focus on clean, green energy. It will bring bills down in the long term and stop over reliance on imported oil and gas.

Globally there is a skills talent gap in the ESG & Sustainability sector, what skills are particularly important when developing and implementing strategies?  

Far from it. There is an increasing trend of smart, thoughtful people prioritising a career in the sustainability sector. Key skills we look for are: Proactive, willingness to take on responsibility and clear communication. Underlying all of this is a motivation to create a healthier, kinder planet. 


What has the market been like for your business this year (2023)? 

It’s been a great year for MotherTree – we have been at capacity since September, meaning we can focus on delivering the best possible experience to our clients. 


What does the coming year hold for MotherTree ? What are your expansion plans?  

Our focus is to continue to deliver great monetary and carbon savings to our clients – both businesses and consumers.  


Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring players and entrepreneurs looking to enter this space? 

Make sure you test your ideas in the market, not the mind. Which means don’t spend a lot of time building things. Get out there and talk to people, show them your ideas (on power point, word doc) and get their feedback. Then iterate to solve their problems. 

LMRE are specialist PropTech recruiters, if you need help growing your business or making any key hires please get in touch via the form below!

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