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Why a planet focus and business survival go hand in hand

James Robey

To survive in business beyond 2030, organizations must set ambitious sustainability targets and deliver them with transformative and innovative solutions. Failing to do so will result in reputational damage, regulatory penalties, and escalating energy costs undermining the bottom line. For the World Climate Summit taking place in December, this means bridging the gap in finance and technical capacity necessary to meet the challenges of climate change.

To achieve this, organizations must invest in sustainability, setting aside the necessary finances and ensuring every technology investment is considered through a sustainability lens. As a sponsor of the World Climate Summit, we at Capgemini believe that, without this investment, both the global business community and the planet will suffer irreversible damage.

In our paper Sustainable Business Revolution 2030, we argue that there is no time to wait. The 2030 emissions reduction target date set by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gives us just 10 years to radically transform how we operate within the global economic system. And this requires both finance and technology – along with the total commitment of business leaders – to make it happen.

I have always stressed that the threat of climate change demands that organizations do things in a wholly different way. Just as the digital revolution has driven massive disruption for business, now the climate crisis must be the next catalyst for widespread reinvention and transformation. From a financial and technical perspective, these are few steps organizations can consider:

  • Rethink your business model to ensure that you are operating within planetary limits.
  • Invest in and align products, services, and delivery models with the changing lifestyles of today’s consumers – who are increasingly conscious of their environmental footprint.
  • Install reporting platforms and supplier collaboration or coordination systems to enable you to share data and measure the environmental impact throughout your supply chain.
  • Minimize the environmental impacts of your own IT systems through consolidation, virtualization, and cloud solutions, as well as by deploying energy-saving solutions across the hardware landscape – naturally, this will enable you to reduce your own overheads/spend.
  • Invest in smart or internet of things (IoT) devices, available data, and reporting infrastructure to better understand the impact of your wider operations.
  • Remember that investment doesn’t have to be purely about money, but can also be about investing in your people, giving them opportunities to reduce their carbon footprint by facilitating virtual collaboration and promoting smart, safe, and sustainable business travel.

As we point out in our opinion paper, global business is a major contributor to today’s escalating levels of atmospheric carbon emissions. As such, it also has the biggest opportunity to be part of the solution for limiting mankind’s impact on the planet. The above steps are just one piece in a very complex, but urgently needed jigsaw that must be pieced together – fast.

Download our opinion paper Sustainable Business Revolution 2030.