The Link Between Climate Action and Technology – Go.Blue.Now ARTICLE

Jörg Tuchen

CEO

GO.BLUE.NOW

Author Biography

Joerg Tuchen is a Climate Activist, CEO of Go.Blue.Now, and Chair of the European Technology Chamber's Climate Action Commission. A few years ago, he transitioned from a successful career in international management consultancies and large corporations to focus his entire time on sustainability and climate justice. Moreover, he co-founded a local group of Extinction Rebellion in Bonn and worked with leading experts from climate and politics on actionable climate plans at the NGO GermanZero.

Q1. What was your company’s unique approach in integrating technology to achieve your Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)?

As a Climate Consultancy we support your company in showing your customers, investors & employees that you are taking sustainability seriously. Our climate consultants support you with CO2 footprints, science-based climate targets, CO2 reduction plans & sustainability reports. Addressing the Climate Crisis necessarily involves people. First, we need to convince people to act. Nevertheless, technology plays an important role for Corporate Climate Action.

Our approach heavily relies on data. It is crucial to measure, save and access data. This is the first essential step towards data-driven, climate-friendly decision making. It involves several different IT solutions for data collection from simple Excel Sheets to professional, highly customized database solutions on our customer’s side. Next, we need an appropriate model for estimating the climate impact of your company’s activities. This step can be quite challenging since it’s important to ensure accuracy and feasibility at the same time. The decision depends on the customer’s needs regarding accuracy and involves emission factor databases and data analysis. Technology has yet another big impact on our activities when it comes to actually reducing emissions. The range of technologies in the implementation phase is especially widespread. On the one hand, you can switch to renewable electricity consumption which requires the knowledge of the environmental impact of renewable energy technologies. On the other hand, you could use IT and internet-based technologies to increase operational as well as organizational efficiency (e. g. by means of online conferences to reduce emissions from business travel). There are high-tech solutions such as building automatization and low-tech solutions such as switching to LED lights.

As part of the M&P Group, we also offer expertise in renewable energies, energy consulting, environmental technology, waste, and real estate management. In summary, we integrate knowledge about a vast number of technologies into our consulting approach to offer the most impactful solutions to our customers.

Q2. What are some examples of SDG-focused projects that your company is currently working on?

Go.Blue.Now.’s core activities support companies in their transformation towards 1,5°C compliance. So, Climate Action really is the heart of Go.Blue.Now. On top Climate Action offers the opportunity to tackle all other SDGs with our consulting approach!

“In the absence of Climate Action, it is virtually impossible to achieve the SDGs.” – United Nations, 2016
Here’s the good news: You can fight the Climate Crisis and single handedly address most SDGs at once. Stopping global heating contributes to all other SDGs. For example, SDG 3 Good Health & Well-being: the World Health Organization says, the Climate Crisis is the biggest threat to global health. Limiting it will save a million lives each year thanks to cleaner air and another 250.000 suffering from malnutrition, illness, or heat. (WHO, 2021). You can’t find an SDG that is not influenced by global heating. Let’s agree we need to act.

So, what we do is this: we quantify emissions – via CO2 Footprints – for our customers. This is the baseline for purposeful Climate Action and serves as a compass for aligning measures efficiently. We just did that e. g. for a Swiss Computer Manufacturer that regards sustainability as an USP even. We also help companies to assess and communicating their sustainability status-quo. Thus, another perfect example is a recently published Sustainability Report for a German engineering company which integrates the SDGs into the most widespread Reporting Standard GRI.

Q3. What are the most difficult challenges your company and other companies face generally in the implementation/adoption of a new sustainable technology?

As already mentioned, our approach relies on people. The Climate Crisis is not primarily a technological issue it’s about politics, habits, and mind-sets. All stakeholders – employees, customers, investors, governments and many more need to accept and master new technologies and climate protection innovations. In most cases, mindset-changes and true collaboration are harder to achieve than technical skills. Of course, technological adaptation plays a role but change management starts with people.

Q4. Can you give us an example for the relation between Climate Action and the other SDGs?

The Climate Crisis requires efforts at all levels. Thus, Climate Action offers lots of opportunities for promoting other SDGs and Climate Justice. For example, by transitioning to renewable energy you address a high number of SDGs besides Climate Action. Directly influenced SDGs are shifting to an Affordable and Clean Energy System (SDG 7), providing Decent Work & Economic Growth (SDG 8) in the forward-looking renewable energy industry, Good Health & Well-being through less air pollution (SDG 3) and upgrading the existing industrial and energy infrastructure for sustainability (SDG 9). Renewables limit global heating, which is a key driver for the current mass extinction of species. By means of reduced COemissions you contribute to Life on Land (SDG 15) & Below Water (SDG 14). In the long run sourcing renewable energy also fosters Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG 16) as well as Partnerships for the goals (SDG 17). This is particularly true because renewables increase both the independence from fossil fuel supplying countries and are a driver for international cooperation regarding renewable energy supply and demand.

As you can see Climate Action on the level of individual companies even has an impact on SDGs on a global level. Though companies often only communicate about the climate impact of such measures. We have the honor to support companies with reducing their energy consumption and shifting to renewable energy. If you want to implement Climate Action measures with guaranteed and long-lasting success into your company or want to establish a partnership for Corporate Climate Action, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are more than excited to talk about Climate Action, renewable energy and the SDGs.

Q5. A lot of people want to do something about the Climate Crisis, but where do I actually start as a business owner?

As a business owner, you can start making an impact today. And if you think your contribution does not have an impact because your organization is too small: 99% of all companies are SMEs. So, if you don’t act, 99% won’t do a thing. For a high level overview, this is Climate Action for companies in a nutshell:

1)      Make your company climate crisis-proof. Ensure the resilience of your company and its value chain.

Start with mapping your value chain. This helps with answering some easy questions:

How does the Climate Crisis harm your company? Some risks are directly caused by the Climate Crisis (physical risks) and other risks are associated with the transition to a low carbon economy (transition risks). You must prepare for both risk types.

You’ll also need Carbon Accounting. The fast lane approach to measure your emissions is to start with your company’s energy related emissions. This includes at least emissions from your electricity consumption, heating, cooling and vehicle fleet. The result is a basic CO2 Footprint including so called Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Nevertheless, the biggest steppingstone for meaningful CO2 Footprints is measuring emissions from your company’s extended environment – your value chain emissions. Carbon Accounting offers you the best shot at minimizing your business risks and finding opportunities to innovate. Feel free to get in touch for further advice.

2)      Reduce emissions within your company and respect the carbon law. Walk the talk.

We need to halve emissions globally every 10 years and reach zero emissions by 2050. Luckily, the Science Based Targets Initiative provides you with guidelines and tools for setting reduction targets all the way to net zero. There are guidelines that define which emission sources to include in the underlying Carbon Footprint, the timeframe for and amount of carbon reductions. Some of the most important prerequisites are targets covering 5-10 years and compliance with the global 1.5°C target, including reaching net zero by 2050.

Now that you have your Footprint and 1.5°C compliant targets, let’s cut your emissions. There are some easy measures for every company such as improved energy efficiency, sourcing renewable energy, reducing occupied building space, retrofitting of buildings, or reduced transportation and business travel. You should nevertheless always keep in mind that integrating Climate Action in your business strategy will yield to the highest and most sustainable emission reductions and competitive advantages. This includes defining climate friendly business models, changing product portfolios, and aligning R&D efforts.

3)      Promote climate conscious behavior and build capacity for Climate Action. Speak up, not only for marketing!

Lots of companies engage in Climate Action because of customer demands, image improvement or peer-pressure. Be a leader, don’t follow. This means providing transparent information about your own climate impact, delivering on your targets, establishing industry best practice and having a real dialogue with your stakeholders. Don’t use ambiguous marketing buzz words without explanations. This will benefit your brand image as well as your stakeholder relations. Using your network, marketing efforts and political voice for pushing others will skyrocket Climate Action and your credibility. Furthermore, it’ll help you in the war for talents.

Q6. Cost-effective sustainable tech can be lifesaving and planet-saving approach. What actions your company takes to make your sustainable tech economical and a fit for large-scale adoption?

We will definitely need to scale our operations in the future especially with regard to upcoming regulations. This involves automated tools and eventually Software Development. We expect that more and more companies will have systems in place to collect carbon accounting data in a lean and efficient way. Furthermore, modern data analysis models and Decision Support Systems e. g. powered by artificial intelligence ease the cognitive process for human decision makers and will speed up the whole process. Still, for the interpretation, final conclusions as well as identifying new trends for reduction measures we will rely on skilled human professionals.

Q7. What do you believe will be a global, long-term impact of your sustainable tech integration?

On the low-tech side, with our customers growing and visibility, their transformation will motivate other companies to start a similar transition for themselves. Our business will though still be mainly focused on people but there will be technological advances regarding data collection and analysis. Once there are established, regulatory standards for CO2 Accounting it’s likely that a lot of companies will be required to have some sort of IT based carbon accounting system. Furthermore, supply chains will become much more transparent and interconnected via data collection systems. This will facilitate calculating Footprints – especially Supply Chain emissions – but also quantifying emission reduction opportunities.

Q8. What’s your vision for the sustainable tech industry and your company’s role in it?

Overall, we must reduce as many tons of CO2 as possible. If technology and innovation leverage, the reduction that’s perfect. It most certainly plays an important role in Climate Action. But we need to focus on the 1,5°C target, keep it within reach and act quickly. We therefore need to use available and future technologies as targeted as possible but should also not be distracted by technological advances from our overall goal. We must reduce man-made climate change to a minimum so that all people today – and our children and grandchildren in the future – can live with joy.

Therefore, our team at Go.Blue.Now. has this special drive. We do climate protection – convincing, easy, and exciting.