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Mountaineering in the Swiss Alps

Ein Forum für Nachhaltigkeit

Nachhaltigkeit bei führenden Entscheidungsträgern bekannt machen

Billy Cavanagh’s commitment to taking positive action for the planet led him to camp at an “Arctic Basecamp” at the World Economic Forum in Davos to deliver a message about sustainable solutions.

Billy Cavanagh’s hopes for his career will resonate with many people today.

“I want to make sure I can look back on my career and know that I’ve done something that has made a positive impact on the world,” he says. “I want to know that I can do more than just my day job. For example, if I’ve got time and energy to spare, can I do more for the climate? Capgemini has supported me in making that happen.”

Billy, whose background is in engineering, is a consultant at Capgemini Invent in London. He has been with the company for two years and is part of the manufacturing, automotive, and life sciences team.

“Most of what I work on is in aerospace and defense,” he says. “Our job is to help our clients change and transform, and to be fit for the future, which is fantastic to be part of. I like to be able to focus on solving a big problem, and that’s what led me down the consulting route. I’m an engineer, but I like to look at the larger picture, and sustainability is a massive part of what we do.”

Inspiration in training

Billy describes sustainability as a personal passion. It was acting on this passion that led him to the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos in Switzerland. So how did it happen?

“Capgemini set up the ‘Sustainability Solutions Leadership Development Programme’ with the University of Exeter,” he says. “The aim is to make sure that we have the skills and knowledge within our different teams to provide for our clients. It’s great that at Capgemini we are encouraged and supported to learn as much as we can, especially about sustainability.

“During the University of Exeter program, you are upskilled on sustainable solutions and best practice, and get to know the latest information on climate science, climate change and how it is going to impact different sectors.”

One of the guest speakers on the course was Prof. Gail Whiteman, an expert on global risk from changes occurring in the natural environment. She is also the founder of Arctic Basecamp, a team of Arctic experts and scientists who ‘speak science to power’ to encourage positive climate action.

“Gail is a really inspiring person – one of those people who you sit up and listen to,” says Billy. “She told me about Arctic Basecamp and, with the support of Capgemini, I applied to be part of the team.”

Taking sustainability to Davos

As a WEF strategic partner, Capgemini is present at Davos every year, welcoming global leaders to the Capgemini Pavilion, where it hosts panel discussions and showcases demos on how business and technology can work together to create a better future.

And this year Billy was at Davos too – as part of the Arctic Basecamp team.

“It was an opportunity too good to miss,” he says. “At Davos you have the chance to meet and influence some of the most important people in the world, such as Al Gore, Bill Gates, and President Zelenskyy.”

The team set up a real Arctic science basecamp, with an expedition tent acting as their workplace during the day and their dormitory at night, camping in sub-zero temperatures calling for action from global leaders to apply responsive and responsible leadership to address global risks from Arctic change.

“In the Arctic Basecamp tent at Davos, people can put on VR goggles to be transported to Northern Canada to hear about permafrost melt. Or they enter the metaverse to view different climate situations. It’s about engaging with different people throughout the week to explain why climate science is so important and how they can get involved.”

While he was in Switzerland, a country world-renowned for its chocolate, Billy also supported Arctic Basecamp’s sister company Climate Basecamp and its Save the Chocolate campaign. The team used chocolate bars with custom ‘Chocolate is endangered’ labels to strike up conversations with attendees and highlight how climate change impacts everyday items we can take for granted – even the ingredients that are used to make treats like chocolate. 

Sustainability and engineering

For Billy, the opportunity to be at Davos supported his commitment to ensuring that sustainability is prioritized with his work for clients at Capgemini.

“Aviation has seen a lot of advances in sustainability in recent years,” he says. “Capgemini has done some really good work in this area. For example, we’ve innovated with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to make sure there are more sustainable ways of managing aerospace parts and keeping those resources available. Could airlines use parts more sustainably in a circular way by tracking and tracing them? Sustainable supply chains and aviation fuels are big topics.

“Similar questions can be asked of big infrastructure projects, or of aircraft carriers or nuclear submarines. How can we bring the sustainability agenda within defense spaces and create systems and businesses where sustainability is designed in from the start?”

A career in taking positive action

Billy says that sustainability is part of his everyday work at Capgemini.

“We have regular sustainability calls within our team and across Capgemini where we analyze how we can develop innovative offerings around sustainability for the manufacturing market. When I speak about sustainability with friends who work at other companies, it’s often just a training module they do, or a mission statement. At Capgemini, we really pursue it.”

And Billy’s advice for people who want to prioritize sustainability in their work is, simply, to just do it.

“Just start now,” he says. “Get involved. The more people we have that are focused on it, the better. It’s definitely going to be a key skill for the future. If people focus on that, they’re setting themselves up for success in the future. We need to look back and say we were part of that positive change.”


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