Nicholas Berhardt and Informed 365‘s mission is simple. They’re enabling companies to make better, more ethical business decisions.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an increasingly common focus in today’s business world, with a growing number of businesses incorporating social responsibility into both their daily operations and core belief systems.
We sat down with the CEO of Informed 365, Nicholas Bernhardt, to discuss the drive for companies to be more conscientious, and what makes someone in his position tick.
What was the insight that led to your involvement in Informed365?
I was a senior investment banker earlier in my career, and there seemed to be (in banking, anyway) a total disconnect between the corporate world and pressing environmental and social issues.
In 2003, I took the plunge and quit the world of ‘smoke and mirrors’ to dedicate my career to environmental and social causes by setting up a tech-based company that focuses on ESG (Environment Social Governance).
Informed 365’s objective is very clear: we want to provide the corporate world with better ESG and CSR data to make better, more informed decisions, and drive a more sustainable future for our planet.
How does the company work to distinguish itself in this sector of IT?
Informed 365 has developed a uniquely agile platform, which can monitor, track, calculate and visualise ESG data. We are constantly looking to innovate.
For example, we launched an Australian-first shared modern slavery platform for the Property Council of Australia. This innovative approach has encouraged other sectors such as the healthcare fund and utilities industries to follow this highly efficient, best practice model. Up until the passing of the Modern Slavery Act 2018 (Cth), ethical sourcing and procurement were considered a ‘nice to have’ – not a priority.
Many organisations are now assessing not only ‘modern slavery’, but other relevant environmental and social metrics in their supplier tracking and engagement. This is where the agility of Informed 365’s platform comes to the fore.
CSR is a major facet of your operation. Does it provide a competitive edge, or are you just ‘doing the right thing’?
It is a combination of all these factors. We live and breathe social responsibility, which in itself, is a competitive advantage. It is also ‘doing the right thing’ which is, medium to long-term, the only truly sustainable way of doing business.
How important is this kind of ‘leading by corporate example’?
Despite the undeniable, significant progress made with respect to CSR and ESG in the past 10-15 years, creating momentum for sustainability and social change remains a major challenge. It is encouraging to see that many organisations are now taking real steps to a sustainable future.
Take us through a day in your life. What does the typical day look like?
Our 8-year old daughter who has been ‘camping’ in our bedroom for a couple of months now wakes us up with her standard, yet incredibly satisfying “Good morning Mummy; Good morning Daddy” around 5.00am each morning!
Next, I’ll take the dogs for a walk, prepare breakfast and help brush my daughter’s teeth. The last part sounds easier than it is as it is, always preceded by the guessing of two passwords which can be anything – yesterday it was ‘beehive’ and the ‘school logo’ on her shirt.
From here, it is straight into my home office at around 7.00am, unless I have school drop-off, where I respond to all the emails or delegate them to a team member. This can take me until about 11.00am unless I have a meeting lined up. Next, I write proposals, revise client materials, and check in with clients, partners and team members as required. I work solidly until about 12.00pm and if all goes well, I duck out to the gym for a quick session.
The afternoon is pretty much the same: emails, calls, teleconferences, and planning for the next days, weeks and months. Once our daughter gets back from school, it is typically a session of Lego, maths, homework, or dancing – where I am politely asked to sit down. The evenings are family dinner, PJs, brushing teeth (more passwords) and the unmissable reading time.
How would you describe your leadership style?
All our team members work remotely, and as such, we have a very autonomous set-up. I would be inclined to call my leadership style a cross between participative, transformational, visionary, and occasionally hair-raising. It would be interesting to hear what our team members think, and I will make sure to include this aspect in this year’s review.
What are the short- and long-term goals for the company?
Short-term: establish Informed 365 as the leading Asian Pacific ESG tech company, which provides clients with meaningful data for them to be able to make better, more informed decisions. Long-term: Expand Informed 365 into the Americas and Europe driving the ESG message to create real social and environmental change.
What kind of impact has COVID-19 had on the company’s bottom line or strategy?
Operationally, it has not changed anything for Informed 365 as our team have always operated remotely. Client and prospect interactions are now done through one of the many teleconference options.
We are hopeful that we will be able to meet with clients again early next year. As far as the bottom line is concerned, we have been extremely fortunate to see steady growth in 2020 despite the challenging circumstances.
What do you see as the next big move for Informed365?
Considering the political change in the US, we envisage ESG becoming a core focus of the new administration and we are very keen to enter the US market with a suitable partner.
Nicholas Bernhardt is the CEO of Informed365.
Vital Addition presents this ‘Meet a CEO’ series.
Vital Addition is a fast-growing Australian tax and accounting company providing fresh, honest, and reliable accounting, financial, and tax advice. CEO Lachlan Grant believes in ‘strength in numbers’, empowering SMEs to make business decisions with confidence, and face the challenges associated with growth with informed optimism.