Why Am I Building Another Climate-focused Software Company?

Technological progress has brought us to the point where decarbonization can become an internally driven initiative for every large company. I believe it must be.

Jason Denner
3 min readDec 5, 2023

In 2016, I co-founded Optera, a carbon accounting software platform. After serving as CEO and building it for 7 years, I’m now working on a new startup called Permilyon, which is focused on accelerating corporate decarbonization. I want to share the reasons behind this decision.

Over the past 20 years, there has been a mindset shift among many business leaders. They have come to realize that climate change poses a threat to the overall economy, and decarbonization is critical to the future of every company. Some companies see this as an opportunity, others see it as a thorn in their side, and some are unsure of what it means for them.

Accounting and disclosure do not cause decarbonization.

Through my 20+ years of work on corporate sustainability I have come to understand several truths about decarbonization:

  • Simply accounting for emissions is not enough.
  • Publicly disclosing information is not enough.
  • Setting targets is not enough.
  • Convincing the C-suite to pay attention to climate change is not enough.
  • Telling company managers what to do is not enough and can actually be detrimental.

These actions alone will not achieve the rapid decarbonization needed for our economy and our planet. This perspective is not surprising to anyone experienced in corporate decarbonization.

What is required is widespread integration of decarbonization into company management. The technological progress that has been made over the past 20 years has brought us to the point where decarbonization can become an internally driven initiative for every large company. I believe it must be.

Why is this so important?

  • Companies are the biggest emitters and must rapidly decarbonize themselves for any other actions to matter.
  • The infrastructure that companies operate is often difficult and costly to change.
  • Companies do not make decisions in the same way as consumers; they need a solid business case.
  • Company inaction is slowing progress on decarbonization.

So, what is the solution?

Give internal sustainability teams the tools to manage decarbonization in the same way as any other company initiative:

  1. Collect, verify, and analyze the necessary data.
  2. Make capital and operational decisions based on an established process.
  3. Conduct competitive procurement processes.
  4. Arrange funding.
  5. Implement solutions.
  6. Review results and incorporate learnings into future decisions.

Currently, only a few large and progressive companies approach decarbonization in this way. Many companies that are now joining the effort have not yet committed to this level of management due to the high costs involved. The expert staff, specialized consultants, and legal teams, which provide key support to the largest companies, are not viable options for mid- to large-size companies, many of whom operate the physical infrastructure responsible for 50% of emissions. The Permilyon team is focused on solving this problem.

Although carbon accounting is essential, it is only part of the solution. Today, the software and information resources needed to fully support the decarbonization process are affordable, straightforward to build, desperately needed, and will save companies money and time. Most importantly, I believe putting these tools in the hands of sustainability teams at mid- to large-size companies will greatly accelerate the transition to a decarbonized economy. We have no time to waste.



Jason Denner

Jason is a climate tech founder, engineer and analyst with over two decades of experience applying efficiency and renewable resources to reduce emissions