Beth Kayser

Taking on the world’s biggest challenge… thanks Dad

4 min Read
Pawprint founder Christian Arno sitting on a grey sofa holding a toy train, behind him is a bicycle and next to him a sewing box and large cooking pot

For Christian Arno, creating an app that will tackle climate change was more than a business decision. It was a gnawing to do something with meaning, and a kick up the bum from his old man that led him to found Pawprint—the app that helps you measure, understand and reduce your carbon footprint.

'There was no lightbulb moment as such,' says Arno. 'It started when friends of mine opened a zero-waste shop in Edinburgh. I was impressed, but it also made me assess what I was doing to help the planet.'

Known as an “ideas man” amongst friends and colleagues, Christian was itching for a new venture after growing his translation business, Lingo 24, into an international success. Around this time, he was approached to get involved in an app that would allow people to compare their net worth.

'It was a good idea, but especially after seeing my friends do their bit for the planet, it felt... deeply soulless' jokes Arno. 'And then, of course, there was the lecture from my Dad.'

Hailed in the Pawprint office as “The Pawdre”, Christian’s Dad is arguably an even bigger force to be reckoned with than his son. 'He sat me down and said 'Come on Christian, you’re a dad of young children now. Look at what climate change could mean. It’s serious.'

‘I tend to listen to him,' says Arno. 'Although usually with a delay of 10 to 15 years…

On this occasion, however, Christian was spurred into action much faster and set about building an All-Star team to help his idea come to life. Today, Pawprint benefits from the experience and insight of ex-unicorn execs Mark McCafferty and Douglas Cook, and former CEO of GCC Tom Sermon. A close working relationship with expert in carbon footprinting, Mike Berners-Lee, has also played a key role in the app’s development.

But Pawprint aims to be much more than an app; its mission—to empower people to fight climate change—demands it. Through positive network effects and an inclusive and accessible tone, Pawprint wants to create a movement of people driven to do their bit.

Looking at this through the lens of the present day, you might question 'But is it relevant? Don’t people have more pressing issues to concern themselves with?'

Pawprint believes that coronavirus could act as the catalyst that unites people in the fight against another global threat.

'My Grandma once said to me that the second world war was the happiest time in her life... It’s a strange thing to talk about war like that, but what she was referring to was the community spirit that emerged from having a common goal.'

The “coming together” we’re seeing during the coronavirus pandemic demonstrates that people can and will rise to the occasion when called to the front line.

'I really believe that climate change is our world war,' says Arno. 'Pawprint will help us fight it on our own terms.'

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