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What is ESG and why it matters?

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors have become increasingly important to investors in recent years, with many recognizing the long-term benefits of investing in companies that prioritize sustainability and ethical business practices. Europe, in particular, has emerged as a global leader in ESG, with a growing number of companies embracing these principles.

ESG is split into three pillars, as the name suggests: environmental pillar, social pillar, and governance pillar.

These can be further split into:

  1. Environmental Pillar

  • Climate change
  • Natural capital
  • Pollution & waste
  • Environmental opportunities
  1. Social Pillar

  • Human capital
  • Product liability
  • Stakeholder opposition
  • Social opportunities
  1. Governance Pillar

  • Corporate governance
  • Corporate behavior

Thanks to the European Union’s (EU) focus on sustainable development, ESG investing has become a hot topic, and it’s easy to see why. The EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation requires companies to spill the beans on how they integrate ESG factors into their investment decisions. Plus, the EU Taxonomy Regulation provides a classification system for sustainable investments. It’s like having a sustainability roadmap for investors to follow.

All this talk about sustainability has led to a boom in ESG companies in Europe. From huge multinationals to start-ups, companies are embracing sustainability like never before. They’re finding innovative ways to reduce their environmental impact, investing in renewable energy, and prioritizing social issues like diversity and fair labor practices. Plus, they’re getting their governance game on point with transparent reporting and strong ethical standards. Hence why nowadays there are countless amounts of start-ups focusing on ESG consulting and ESG SaaS.

Investors in Europe have taken notice of this trend, with many seeking out ESG investments as a way to align their financial goals with their values. In fact, ESG assets under management in Europe have grown significantly in recent years, with some estimates suggesting that they could reach €7.6 trillion by 2025.

Of course, like any good thing, there are some hurdles to overcome. More standardized ESG metrics and transparency from companies are still needed. But overall, the rise of ESG companies in Europe is a game-changer. It’s shaking up the world and paving the way for a greener, more sustainable future. Because the ESG market has seen significant growth in the past few months, we’ve decided to come up with a list of 6 European-based start-ups paving the way for ESG with their software. Are you ready?

Top 6 European ESG Start-Ups in 2023

Plan A

One of the most-known names in the ESG market within Europe, Plan A was founded in 2017 in Berlin, Germany. The company offers comprehensive software for carbon emissions and ESG reporting, which has been trusted by the likes of BMW, Trivago, N26, and Ganni just to name a few. Since its inception, the company raised €11.3M of funding including €8.77M Series A round in November 2021.


The second Berlin-based start-up on our list, Ceezer is a developer of an online platform to calculate and offset the carbon footprint. The company does not only offer carbon accounting and reporting but also access to voluntary carbon markets in order to offset emissions. So far, Ceezer has been trusted by companies such as Siemens, Stryber, and Danish Energy Agency, and they’ve raised €5.2M in funding, including a €4.2M early VC round in September 2022.


Greenly has been founded in 2019 in Paris, France, and they’re a developer of carbon tracking technology aimed to allow everyone to track their carbon footprint. So far on their journey, more than 800 companies have trusted their software, including giants such as Ecovadis, Renault group, Tier Mobility, Go Share, and Tripadvisor. So far, they’ve raised €23.9M of funding, including a €20.9M Series A in March 2022.


Sweep was founded in 2020 in Montpellier, France, and they help their customers stay on track with their sustainability journey through their platform. Their product allows companies to understand, manage and report on their carbon emissions, as well as set feasible goals and offset the emissions via contributions to projects. So far they have been trusted by companies such as Ubisoft, Dropp, Swisscom, and Zapp, and they have raised a whooping €91.1M in funding, including €67.45M Series B round in April 2022.


London-based Minimum was founded in 2020, and is a developer of a carbon accounting platform designed for corporate sustainability management. They offer real-time automated analytics for enterprises, with the aim of helping their clients in their sustainability journey. Minimum has been trusted by companies such as Octopus Group, and so far their raised €2.16M in Seed funding.


Last Berlin-based entrant on our list, Vaayu was founded in 2021 and offers automated software designed to track, reduce and offset carbon emissions in real time. Their product targets retail consumers specifically, helping them to reduce their carbon footprint. They have been trusted by companies such as Armed Angels, Organic Basics, and Missoma, and have so far raised €12M, including €10.63M Seed round in April 2022.

At Storm4, we strive to partner with startups paving the way for ESG. We support scaling their teams to meet their mission of a decarbonized future. If you are experiencing growing pains, get in touch. Our ESG recruiters connect leaders with professionals across Engineering, Data, Product as well as Sales and Marketing.

We’ve helped some of the most successful GreenTech startups grow.

— now it’s your turn.