Towards a successful net zero journey

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In July 2020, our CEO Aiman Ezzat publicly committed to making the Capgemini Group carbon neutral by 2025 and net zero by 2030.

This latter commitment includes scope 3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To achieve this ambition, we have assiduously planned our journey and initiated change at every level of the business. First steps have been promising and enriching for many of us as we begin to see tangible changes towards more sustainable ways of working, traveling, and even how we lease and operate our office buildings.

Like many organizations undertaking such a major transformation, we have been on a steep but rewarding learning curve. We’ve also committed to helping our clients transform sustainably, helping them save 10 million tons of carbon by 2030. With this in mind, we’ve drawn on our own experience on the path to net zero to define eight principles that will help other organizations accelerate their net zero transformations.

8 guiding principles on the path to net zero

  • The cornerstone: set your vision and monitor your trajectory

To set a rigorous strategic framework and avoid focusing on too many unnecessary actions, companies must continuously monitor their emissions on the widest perimeter possible (e.g. both internally and across supply chains and client-side operations), establish targets and measure their progress against agreed-on priorities.

  • Rely on a dedicated program to support your journey

Your climate pledge should impact the whole value chain. This implies a programmatic rigor, relying on strong sponsorship and dedicated resources: teams to set up the program and monitor progress, and financial resources both to invest in technologies and processes that reduce emissions and to compensate for the residuals that cannot be eliminated.

  • Start changing now

COVID-19 has slowed down the world economy and, in many cases, resulted in positive impacts on the environment. The challenge for all organizations is how to bounce back better and avoid returning to pre-pandemic climate-damaging behaviors. Prepare now. For instance, Capgemini has reinvented its Group Travel Policy, promoting modal shift and encouraging our 270,000+ employees to travel responsibly in tomorrow’s world – read our blog here.

  • Ignite change among employees…

Rather than coercing teams to conform, empower all employees by training them and making them realize that their eco-friendly working habits are essential to reach climate objectives. This is how you enable change though bottom-up initiatives in which everyone wants to be involved. For example, Capgemini carried out a detailed global community survey based on current and expected commuting habits, which received responses from over 42,000 employees globally.

  • …at every level of the business

Capgemini’s net zero projects often start at the Group level to ensure they remain coherent with climate pledges. However, these building blocks must be adapted per country (e.g. Poland’s renewable energy offers differ completely from India’s) and per entity (based on its positioning, expertise, clients’ expectations…). Properly cascading projects at every level of the business is key for any organization. For example, at Capgemini, we set up Country Sustainability Boards across all geographies with responsibility for meeting local targets.

  •  Choose and prioritize the right battles

Depending on your business activity and on future regulation (scope 3 broadening?), emission hotspots may vary. Make sure you focus on the right topics. For example, within our own Group, we chose to turn our initial attention on four core areas: energy, supply chain, travel, and carbon offsets. And we opted to deprioritize the carbon footprint of our data centers for the first year of the program, since they represented less than 2% of Capgemini’s 2019 emissions. We will address this scope in 2022.

  • Establish adequate governance

Leadership must be convinced that the cause is worth the efforts needed to transform, while relying on CSR experts to support in arbitrating between business opportunity and climate pledges. This is critical considering such decisions may impact the business for years. Capgemini established a new global and cross-functional Net Zero Board with overall accountability for our targets, policy, and strategy – read our blog here.

  • Keep the momentum alive

Once the above recommendations have been applied, leadership must continuously provide all supporting teams with impetus and guidance along the way. For example, via a close monitoring system, even over long periods of time, through internal communication actions, such as inspiring conferences animated by your own leaders. Eventually, get ready to make your net zero journey “business as usual” rather than creating extra work for all.

Join us on the path to net zero

Capgemini Invent, the Capgemini Group’s innovation and transformation powerhouse, is taking this climate commitment to a new level with our Path to Net Zero portfolio of services. Our objective is to help clients move beyond simply making their climate pledges, to bringing those pledges to life. We set the vision, trajectory and roadmaps for transformation using science-based targets; help to put in place the necessary governance and organization change; support renewable/green power sourcing (note, the Capgemini Group itself is committed to 100% renewable electricity by 2025); and develop carbon pricing and carbon offset strategies.

Find out more

  • Want to continue this conversation? Contact me here
  • Find out how Net Zero Strategy from Capgemini Invent can accelerate your transformation into a sustainable business

Author

Kiri Trier

Kiri Trier

Director Innovation & Strategy | Sustainability Lead | Invent for Society, Capgemini Invent

Thomas H

Thomas Harre

Energy/Sustainability Consultant, Capgemini Invent

Maëlle Bouvier

Maëlle Bouvier

Director of Ecoresponsible Public Transformation, Capgemini Invent

 

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