TO HIT NET ZERO WE EACH NEED TO REDUCE OUR ANNUAL CARBON FOOTPRINT TO TWO TONNES OF CO2 PER YEAR – THAT'S A TRANSATLANTIC RETURN TRIP
Keen to learn more about sustainability, and how it can be applied to both our internal operations and the work we do for our clients, some curious minds from Rufus Leonard recently attended Capgemini Invent and the University of Exeter’s Sustainability Solutions Leadership Development Programme.
Along with 80 other attendees from Capgemini Invent, they heard from some of the top climate scientists in the world, who presented a series of lectures and workshops on topics including: sustainable finance, energy transitions to net zero, sustainable value management, bringing sustainability to the boardroom, biodiversity, and the circular economy.
At the end of the course, the group was challenged to create an imaginary pitch to a real client, including research, context, and a fully formed proposal for a sustainability strategy.
Here’s what Project Director Tim Slater and Head of People and Culture Emily-Faye Duncan took away from the programme.
Tim Slater, Project Director:
What was the most impactful part of the course for you?
“The first element that struck me was the pressing need to meet Net Zero. While progress is being made in some ways, there’s a huge amount of uncertainty as to how this target will be achieved globally, and there are dependencies on things yet unknown. Such as technological advances.
“But what’s encouraging is there are now many examples of organisations not just reporting on sustainability but recognising the need to create value for society as well as focusing on their bottom line. Also encouraging were the examples of the tools and references that exist today to help businesses take practical actions to achieve their sustainability goals.
What challenges have you taken away?
“The SSLDP course highlighted a lot of challenges for me in the way we need to think and act sustainably from both personal and business perspectives. In Professor Friedlingstein’s lecture at the start of the course we discovered we all need to reduce our annual personal carbon footprint to two tonnes of CO2 per year to hit Net Zero – which equates to a single transatlantic return trip!
“The fact that his type of information is not constantly in the public consciousness only enforces the need for this understanding at a senior level with businesses. Only with this level of sponsorship at the very top of organisations can sustainable ambitions hope to succeed.
“One area I hope be able to influence with my clients is in the creation of sustainable digital products and platforms. Using an efficient architecture and more sustainable hosting, along with design and coding techniques to reduce the load on both the server and client devices, allows businesses to build digital solutions that have a reduced energy consumption and therefore a reduced carbon footprint. This enables an organisation to include their digital presence as part of their move towards their Net Zero within their operations.”
Emily-Faye, Head of People and Culture:
How did you find the Sustainability Solutions Leadership Development Programme?
“The course was fascinating. To have a well-rounded understanding of the impact we are having on our climate, how companies are becoming more sustainable, and the circular economy, really makes you think about what things could look like in the future.
“My craft is People – Human Resources. My clients are the people of the company that I work for, but this doesn’t mean it's any less significant. We are a business with individuals, and we all have a responsibility.”
What did you take away from the course?
“Applying life cycle thinking – in terms of the products and services we use as a business – can help identify where improvements can be made. We can align a sustainability vision to our current business plan – looking at behavioural changes, internal campaigns to raise awareness/build on the work we’ve already done and focusing on sharing instead of owning sustainability initiatives.
“There are small internal changes we can make to impact the bigger picture; enabling our employees to seek business opportunities, to ask their clients the important questionsand help them realise and achieve their own sustainability goals.”
What challenges do businesses face?
“One of the challenges we face is feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem. I am not a scientist, but I can use the information and make it relevant for my industry, to ask the right questions, to dig a little deeper and find a solution.
“To help our client journey, we need to look at our own business. A particular challenge is the level of understanding of sustainability and the road to Net Zero. Education pieces are going to be key – along with the creative industry data available via Ad Net Zero and the BIMA Sustainability Co-hort. This, in tandem with the scientific data, can provide a powerful picture.
“Another challenge for many businesses is at stakeholder level – and the perceived financial burden of focusing on sustainability with no measurable return on investment. But there are some radical ways in which this can be challenged, making sustainability the main business driver. Plus, we know having sustainability goals is now highly competitive.
“Incorporating Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)can be a great way to give a common purpose between organisation and employees. Both large companies and SMEs.
“It's important for us not to get confused by the enormity of the problem but be able dissect the information that matters to our business and clients, and ultimately the planet.”
To discover more about digital sustainability, and how Rufus Leonard can help you make real reductions in the carbon footprint of your digital platform, download our white paper.
About the author
We get a real kick out of delving into complex problems to make things simple for our clients. We’re a bunch of big thinkers, and we’re bubbling with curiosity! Take a look at the related insights below to see what else we've been exploring recently...
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