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Human energy, innovation and transformation this Earth Day

James Robey
22 Apr 2022

The IPCC’s Working Group III assessment report, released at the start of the month, included for the first time ever the impacts of personal lifestyles and choices as climate change mitigation factors. Chapter 5 certainly makes thought-provoking reading.

We need systemic changes to address the climate emergency, from our agriculture systems and our use of land to our energy sources and how we build cities for the future. So, are lifestyle choices and personal actions a key priority? What is the role of the individual?

We must never forget that it is people who change systems

Behind each idea and innovation is an individual. A ‘Greta’ if you like, enabling and inspiring others. Or take Edmond Becquerel, who as a young physicist working in France in 1839 observed and discovered the photovoltaic effect – a process that produces a voltage or electric current when exposed to light or radiant energy. Ultimately, this has led to the development of the whole solar energy industry.

Secondly, the social norms that define a healthy or unhealthy world are created by groups of individuals. If we want to change society’s approach to consumerism for example, then yes, the individual approach matters. We need people, albeit thousands and millions of them, spearheading the acceleration of new ‘norms’ for the good of the collective future.

Accelerating understanding and actions among people in your ‘orbit’

This Earth Day, at Capgemini, we’re launching our ‘Skill Up for a Sustainable Future’ campaign to build on our global efforts to ensure our people are as confident talking and leading sustainable transformation as they are digital transformation.

We aim to accelerate the knowledge and understanding of our sizeable workforce on this topic as we make our transition to a low-carbon, global company. Knowledge is a key driver at the heart of change. We want to educate each and every employee to take action to reduce their personal footprint, as well as client service-related impacts.

Normalising sustainable thinking without making it trivial

Our commitment to accelerating our employee learning on this topic builds on solid foundations. Since our first carbon targets in 2008, we’ve been striving to create a culture where sustainable actions are normalised. To support this, we launched our first global training programme over a year ago, to supplement local programmes. We also ran ‘Climate Circles’, an ambitious campaign which engaged nearly 15,000 people in ideation sessions led by our 1,000 most senior team members.

In addition to an ongoing programme of webinars, internal campaigns and training, we also run regular sustainability focused hackathons enabling employees to adapt their skills to sustainability challenges. For example, last year 667 teams across 33 countries took part in a global challenge in collaboration with the Lofoten-Vesterålen (LoVe) Ocean Observatory, Norway to look at how AI can contribute to our understanding of the ocean environment and modelling of the Earth’s climate.

In this way, we are growing our global community of sustainability professionals who are sparking change in their business units.

Unleashing human energy to create environmental innovators

Our aim with our new focus on internal education is to use sustainability as a lens in everything that we do, encouraging our people to take the learnings and spark change outside our business, particularly with our clients, where the sustainability impact is likely to be the greatest.

Reflecting the sentiment of the US Climate Scientist Peter Kamus who recently said, “If everyone could see what I see coming, society would switch into climate emergency mode;” we want to inspire new ways of thinking and unleash the energy of innovators for the future we all want.