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Weighing up the risks

Using innovation to help clients mitigate against climate risk

In Milan, Clara Iannantuoni is helping businesses reduce the potential risks of accident brought by climate change.

As the climate changes, there is an increased risk of disruption to industry and to people’s ways of life around the world. At Capgemini, innovation is leading the response to that challenge, helping set the agenda for increased sustainability and resilience and mitigating the risks climate change might bring.

“With the challenge of climate change, we’ve looked at the data to try to understand where and how its impact is increasing the risk we all face,” says Clara Iannantuoni, process safety engineer at Capgemini Engineering in Milan.

“For example, we are seeing some climate events that used to be very rare and that are now much more frequent. As a consequence, businesses are placing extra attention on climate risk assessments. They understand that they might be vulnerable to these new risks. In some parts of the world, risks such as earthquakes have always existed. In other places, the risk of flooding would never have been considered – and now it needs to be.”

Industrial accident prevention

Clara, who is a Milan local, studied chemical engineering before joining Capgemini. She is now using her knowledge to focus on the prevention of major industrial accidents, working with clients across different industrial fields.

“We help them with different techniques and methodologies of risk assessment to prevent major accidents such as fire, explosions, or the release of hazardous substances that could be dangerous for the environment, employees, or people living nearby. All of these accidents could be triggered by natural hazardous events associated with climate change.”

Clara says that to reduce the risk of industrial accidents caused by natural disasters, process safety is vital. “If you can ensure an organization’s industrial processes are designed to prevent accidents, it’s an extra way that you can help protect the environment,” she says. “It’s about ensuring the safety of the people who work there, and those who live in the local area, and of the wider natural environment around it.”

Impact of technology

Clara says innovations in technology will help large organizations optimize their processes.

“When you can automate processes, you minimize the risk of errors that come when they are done manually,” she says.

“For example, we worked with a client where they were modifying part of an industrial plant that used to involve a lot of manual operation in hazardous areas. That work was quite dangerous and automating the processes can help to minimize the need for operators to be in the hazardous areas. It’s an example of how innovation can really make a difference.

“The technologies we are working with clients to bring in are wide-ranging, too. They include everything from 3D graphic representations of site plans to digitally integrated systems for storing and accessing safety information. For every client, we look at the most innovative solutions available to help them. It’s about helping them to think about things in new ways and see what’s possible. That drive to see what new innovation can offer is always present at Capgemini.”

Seeing the bigger picture

If innovation is to really have an impact on issues such as climate risk and sustainability goals, Clara says a comprehensive approach must be taken.

“In our changing world, it’s more than just looking at reducing the waste that industries create, and it’s so much more than energy transition. Of course you have to reduce emissions and care about the environment, but our challenge is also to help organizations see the challenges they face as an opportunity to improve the way they do many things – including how they mitigate the potential impact of climate risk on their own businesses.”

In some ways, Clara acknowledges, all jobs these days can be thought of as having a sustainability element. “You might not have sustainability in your job title,” she says, “but you still might be able to make an impact. That’s perhaps the way we need to think of it. And if we are to address the real challenges of sustainability, we need to take this comprehensive and global approach to the many types of risk we face.”


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