William & Mary

Derek Eisel

Director of Sales at Scope 5

Mr. Eisel is the Director of Sales at Scope 5. Scope 5 is a company that sells their “sustainability data management” software to other companies so they can track things like their carbon footprint. He graduated from William & Mary in 1994 and has worked at Scope 5 for three years.

{{youtube:large|8NbMCghdSSs, Interview with Derek}}

Topics discussed in this interview (in order):

  • Why his job is a green career (0:03)

Mr. Eisel sells a software that helps other companies be greener. Some companies claim to have sustainability goals, but unless they are tracking their carbon footprint and collecting data, the consumer does not have enough evidence to deem their product green. Scope 5 helps companies find where their footprint is the largest and brainstorms possible solutions.

  • What Mr. Eisel specifically does for Scope 5 (1:07)

Mr. Eisel sells the software by reaching out to the sustainability department of companies. He talks to the representative about if and how they are tracking their carbon outputs, and then helps them collect data on things like water and energy usage.

  • History of Mr. Eisel’s career and on wanting a green career (2:06 and 3:09)

He moved to Seattle after graduating from William & Mary, and in 1994, Scope 5 did not exist yet. He worked in retail and accounting, and then at a shipping company for 15 years as a software tester. Like many other interviewees, Mr. Eisel explained that there was no sustainability field when he graduated college, and he was not interested in a “hard science” career, like being an environmental engineer. He explains that the link between corporations and sustainability has only been around for about ten years. When he came to William & Mary, Mr. Eisel thought he might want to be a doctor or a lawyer, but he did not enjoy his science classes, and later did not want to invest the money into becoming a lawyer because he was still unsure if that would make him happy. He majored in philosophy and government, and was drawn to environmental philosophy in particular. When he arrived in Seattle, he needed to make money, and the only green jobs available were in activism. While working in retail and in accounting, Mr. Eisel volunteered at the Seattle Audubon and an organization that planted trees. Although he enjoyed this work, he wanted to have more of an impact on corporations that were actually doing the polluting. He started asking around at his shipping company about their carbon footprint, and ended up starting the environmental program there.

  • What’s the incentive for companies to report their carbon footprint? (8:42)

Mr. Eisel has talked to hundreds of corporate sustainability professionals, and he made the case that these companies are publishing their data because it is the right thing to do. Companies that talk to Mr. Eisel usually have some top leaders who care. He explained that a company can save a lot more money than it costs to buy their software, but the financial argument is only part of the sell. He stated that the “reason to do this environmental reporting is because we want to have a planet that is worth living on.”

  • Best and worst parts of the job, and how he finds customers (10:07)

Mr. Eisel loves the people he works with, including his customers, coworkers, and his boss. The hard part about his job is finding sustainability professionals in corporations. Sometimes this information is hard to find, and many times he will not get a response. He looks for medium to large sized companies with publicly stated sustainability goals.

  • Advice for William & Mary students (11:28)

Mr. Eisel encourages students to have fun while they are in school, make connections with people, and do stuff that you enjoy doing. He adds, “Find some things that will make you some money, and aren’t awful,” and then you can develop skills in those areas so you have a degree of flexibility.

If you are interested in learning more about what Mr. Eisel does, you can look at his LinkedIn profile, or contact Gina at [[e|gmsawaya]].