The climate news is a bit depressing of late, isn’t it?
On the back of several high profile natural disasters - from record breaking temperatures and forest fires across North America and Europe this summer, to flooding in New York City and an earthquake in Haiti - it seems that there is no end to alarming news about the state of the planet and the necessity for us all to do our bit to help slow down global warming and prevent a climate catastrophe.
Recently, the Global Commons Alliance (GCA) released the results of the Global Commons Survey that found a majority (58%) were very concerned or extremely concerned about the state of the planet. Four in five respondents said they were willing to step up and do more to regenerate the global commons. The survey, the GCA says, shows strong global support for urgent, decisive action on the climate and nature crises (some good news in an otherwise gloomy report).
While these doomsday scenarios make for unpleasant reading, it's an exciting time to be working in technology or communications in the UK if you've more than a passing interest in the environment.
Increasing innovation in the drive to Net Zero
The innovation and creativity being applied to develop tech solutions across a number of sectors is impressive, from smart cities and eMobility solutions to renewable energy storage.
With more of us living in cities than ever before (the UN predicts almost 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050), there is growing pressure to make cities a better place to live to combat some of the environmental, societal, and economic challenges that come with expanding populations. Thankfully we have many technologies that are helping to drive the smart city revolution.
At Clarity, we’re lucky enough to be working with groundbreaking companies like ChargePoint, which has created the world’s largest and most open EV charging network and is driving (pardon the pun) one of the fundamental lifestyle changes we need to improve our society and reduce emissions. McKinsey identified that smart city technology can improve key quality of life indicators (e.g. crime rates, commuter happiness, health statistics) by 10-30%.
Energy consumption and generation management will be key to ensuring a green, post-COVID recovery that will speed up the delivery of smart city solutions. These are hot topics when global leaders come together. The G7 summit, hosted this year in Cornwall, saw international leaders release a joint statement, "Our Shared Agenda for Global Action to Build Back Better", promising to lead a technology-driven transition to net zero. The UK Government’s own target to cut emissions by almost 80% by 2035 is world leading and has been praised by climate activists and economists alike.
With COP26 coming up in Glasgow in November, how can businesses ensure they are participating in the conversation in a useful and hopeful way, encouraged by the Government’s ambitious targets?
Building positive conversation through action
Many companies have already outlined their own Net Zero targets, but it is important to put action at the heart of these commitments. Such ambition needs the buy-in and support of the business community, which in turn must listen to its customers - who are demanding change - and rally together to take action and ensure this change is progressed. An ESG consultant, who advises large corporates on how to improve their environmental policies, recently told me “it is not about becoming the best version of the business but by doing better”. COP26 is the perfect platform at which those businesses can come together and demand action.
Far from being left behind, tech companies can help their customers behave more sustainably at home, at work or on the move, unlocking new opportunities for growth and creating a competitive advantage. As communications professionals, it’s our job to spread the word on what can be done now - right now - to help achieve the UK's climate goals. At Clarity, we're on a journey with our clients to do exactly that.
I’m hopeful that 2022 will see more and more UK businesses putting the health of the planet at the core of what they do - reducing their own emissions as well as creating solutions for the rest of us to live a more sustainable life. And I’m looking forward to what that future looks like.
Photo courtesy of Markus Spiske on Unsplash.
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