PAC Predictions 2021: Sustainability and decarbonization
The last 12 months have been a time of great upheaval, but they will also be looked back on as a landmark moment in the progress of commercial approaches to sustainability.
Organizations as diverse as Google, BP, and Novartis have recently put a stake in the ground to deliver Zero Carbon, backed by clear deliverables and milestones.
But why is this happening now?
Pressure is coming from several sides. The US National Retail Federation found that eight in ten consumers prefer brands that are eco-friendly. Investors are also encouraging businesses to act. The European Commission recently launched the first ever “green list” of sustainable economic activities for private investors. BlackRock chairman Larry Fink recently said: “With the impact of sustainability on investment returns increasing, we believe that sustainable investing is the strongest foundation for client portfolios going forward.”
For some organizations, the path to sustainability will require a transformation of the core proposition. Oil giant BP recently set itself a target of achieving net zero status by 2050, and has split up business into four units in a move designed to accelerate its shift to non-oil and gas activities.
But many are also using technology as a key weapon in their quest. BP’s rival Shell has entered into a wide-reaching partnership with Microsoft that will allow Shell to use the latter’s Azure cloud platform as a more efficient platform for its computing requirements and to collaborate on AI projects to identify further ways to drive carbon reductions.
There will also be a huge task in collecting and analyzing carbon emissions data from not just within the organization, but across the entire supply chain and the workforce’s increasingly distributed footprint in order to meet future reporting requirements.
PAC believes that this renewed focus on sustainability is not just a return to the faddish marketing of the “Green IT” movement a decade ago. As the pressure builds, businesses need to act now to deliver on their promises.