Entrepreneur Interview: Jack Linnett

February 20, 2024

As part of our Entrepreneur Series, we had the pleasure of getting to know Jack Linnet, Co- Founder & CEO at Earthmark –a company which provides environmental performance scores for brands and plugs them into online customer journeys through platform partners.

In this interview, we deep dive into what led Jack into the industry, Earthmark’s mission, top tips for a first-time entrepreneur and much more…


What was your background prior to starting Earthmark?

I left university in 2015 having studied Business & Management in Leeds and joined the graduate scheme at O2 spending the next few years in tech, telecoms and investments. I started in the product team building things for consumers, corporates (McDonalds and Sainsburys) and public sector (NHS), moved onto business development and corporate investment (finding pre-Series A startups that we could work with and invest in) then ended up looking after B2B partnerships in the run up to, and after, the merger between O2 and Virgin Media.


Describe Earthmark’s mission.

Help people base decisions on a business’ environmental performance.


Where did your inspiration initially come from for your company?

Ultimately we got fed up with the doom and gloom surrounding climate change. Lots of clear science, news flashes and documentaries but few tangible ways for people to get on board with doing something about it.

We’re in a climate crisis and we thought it was pretty rubbish that we could see how popular, hygienic or trustworthy a business was, but not how they are performing from an environmental perspective.


What sets you apart from other businesses in your industry?

Earthmark is an aggregator. There are enough certifiers and ecolabels out there already. A lot of the data, scoring and information is available, it’s just hard to find and difficult to understand. We do the leg work for people, cutting through the noise and plugging simple 0-5 scores (“Earthmarks”) into places where people already browse, shop and compare.


If you could offer a first-time entrepreneur only one piece of advice, what would it be?

It’s not all about your business idea, it’s about how well you listen, learn, iterate and DO. Consistency compounds, keep turning up and plugging away.


What is the first step a brand or business can make to improve their environmental impact?

You need to know what you’re working with in the first place so I’d say measurement and reporting is the first step. Once you have that clearly mapped out, and published for all to see in an impact report for example, the accountability and rewards will come.


What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Start by starting. I picked this up from working with the disruptive Telco, Giffgaff. Nothing worth having is built perfectly from day one. Got an idea? Name it: labelling it flips this vague ‘something’ into a thing. Simple psychology that helps give your idea an identity. Define it: a simple one liner explaining what it’s all about, what problem it solves and who or what it’s for. Test it: tell anyone that will listen about it. Get to know how they react – do they get it? Can they see the value in it?

Avoid over-engineering and start by starting.


What is next for Earthmark and where do you see the business in 5 years time?

Earthmark is focused on multi-brand platforms right now i.e. online department stores, comparison sites, voucher pages, consumer marketplaces. We’re growing the team and strengthening the product, of course bringing in some AI, to serve this market. Our next step will be enabling brands to claim their Earthmark, in the same way they do with their Trustpilot and Glassdoor scores.

In five years time, we see Earthmark as a standard part of ecommerce journeys, helping people make more informed buying decisions. We will have built a rich engine of ClimateTech data, capable of connecting the dots between consumers, businesses and governments to lead the charge in transitioning to a more sustainable economy.


What is your biggest accomplishment (personal or professional) and why?

I’ll go with a mash up of both personal and professional. I married my wife, Sarah, and went full-time with Earthmark in the same month (June) last year. Both took plenty of time, planning and … bravery!? … but I have no regrets.


Quick fire

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Walk my dog, Otis, which is actually how Tracy and I crossed paths while she was out doing the same thing!

Where is your favourite place you’ve ever visited? It’s a close one between Hoi An in Vietnam and Lake Bled in Slovenia.

How would you describe yourself in 3 words? Active, positive and determined.

What’s top of your bucket list? Hmm I’m not big into bucket lists but I’d love to get to Tokyo one day.

If you could meet anybody (past or present), who would it be? Yuval Noah Harari – knows the ins and outs of history and humankind (just as well he’s a historian and anthropologist). His book Sapiens is my favourite and fundamentally changed how I look at life. I keep badgering his team at Sapienship to try and get closer to their work.

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