Last week when I was visiting my hometown of Toronto I had the opportunity to have lunch with Ron Dembo who is the founder of Zerofootprint. I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a stereotypical environmental visionary, but if there is Ron doesn’t fit the bill. Prior to founding Zerofootprint, Ron was the founder, President and CEO of Algorithmics, a risk management software company. Before that he had a distinguished career as a professor at Yale in the Department of Computer Science and the School of Management. I also understand that he’s a bit of a math whiz.
After selling Algorithmics Ron founded Zerofootprint, which is a “not-for-profit that combines the best financial engineering, environmental engineering, social networking tools and business intelligence to create products and services that help large corporations, organizations and individuals significantly reduce their environmental footprint.”
Over lunch we talked about Zerofootprint’s new partnership with Business Objects, whose state of the art business intelligence software will enable them to aggregate a massive database of green initiatives and combine it with the latest in web-based social networking features. To that end, they just announced a pretty remarkable and precedent setting partnership with the City of Toronto aimed at engaging all Torontonians in an effort to positively effect climate change on a massive scale. But it doesn’t stop there. This week David Miller, the mayor of Toronto, will challenge his mayoral counterparts at the Large Cities Climate Initiative (taking place in New York) to do the same thing. Could it be that combining robust software with social networking methodologies could lead to large-scale systems change? Ron, who is pretty persuasive, certainly thinks so.