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Post COP26: Accelerating counterculture for a rapid transition

Courtney Holm
3 Dec 2021

How the “5C’s” can drive meaningful sustainability focused impact

I introduced the concept of the “3C’s” at COP26 during my panel discussion on partnership for the UN Sustainable Development goals, at the World Climate Summit. With COP26 wrapped up and the final version of the Glasgow Climate Pact delivered, it’s clear to me that we need to add two additional C’s to the mix. Counterculture and Change, to sit alongside the original Collaboration, Cooperation, and Collective Action.

For the purpose of this blog, I want to focus on what I believe we need to ‘be the change’ and how I plan to use this “5C’s” concept to drive change in Capgemini and with our clients.

What the world needs now is a countercultural movement

Like most of us, I am a product of my generation, with a world view that has been shaped by a healthy mix of secondhand knowledge of pivotable cultural movements and the proliferation of change that has happened since the late seventies, when I was born.

The 1960’s counterculture movement resonated with me, not that I agreed with all the messages, but because it reinforced that influential individuals and small groups of concerned citizens can bring about enduring change.

Inside our business, we are working on enabling and supporting our own type of counterculture encouraging talent to question and look at business models. To this end, we have created a cross sector group, the Sustainability Stream, of engaged colleagues and we gather to educate and inform, and deliver client work together. We also leverage Capgemini’s sustainability framework to help clients commit, act, monitor and report their net zero journeys.

In addition to this, we are launching the Critical Friends Network, an online and offline community for our clients with the aim to facilitate cross sector collaboration through sharing case studies, learnings, and top tips on how to implement sustainability strategies. This is an exciting opportunity to drive change for a more sustainable and prosperous future for all. We will be sending email invitations to join, so if you are a client watch your inbox.

This activity by Capgemini Invent UK is part of a global movement within Capgemini, a radical transition for us as a business. We want to implement change at all levels and mobilise all of our 300K employees.

In October, Capgemini launched its Climate Circles campaign globally with the goal of equipping and mobilising all our leaders to undertake small group conversations across the business in order to set in motion an accelerated response to climate change at every level: corporate, collective, and individual.

Change needs to be global and systemic

If you know me, you may know that my favourite word is propaganda, even with all its negative connotations, because its existence means that words have the power to change world views and shape what we do and how we behave. One of my mantras is Ghandi’s view that we should ‘live simply so that others may simply live’. Over the years it has shaped my behaviour and the understanding that possessions don’t bring happiness and that by having a simpler life you can find true joy.

From the developed world perspective, living simply is a key message but the change we need is global and systemic. It’s complex because the type of change required is dependent on where and who we are.

To do our part, Capgemini Invent will drive change not only by our personal actions but also by pivoting our client work to be sustainable by default, that means that we will work to cast a sustainability lens across our offers and how we advise clients. For example, if a client wants to talk about supply chain transformation, mobility or IoT we will ensure that environmental and social sustainability is baked in by default.

I’ve always been a firm believer in collaboration. COPs are critical because the Glasgow Climate Pact lays out the commitments and the supporting governance to hold us all to account. But this change is not only the responsibility of governments and business, it is down to each one of us.

Because of this, we also need cooperation, so that the transition from an extractive and linear model to one that is regenerative, and circular can be a just and fair one, considering everyone’s needs as a part of the common goal.

I’ve spent my career living my purpose to future proof how we live in a climate challenged world. I do this by fostering the understanding that humans are part of the natural world and we need to give people tools and skills to support innovation that brings us closer to nature. In many ways, the “5C’s” build on my arsenal to scale my personal impact through my career. How will you ‘be the change’?