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World Environment Day – tech experts discuss how organisations can help the planet

With the annual World Environment Day taking place on the 5th of June, organisations and individuals alike are being reminded and encouraged to educate themselves and take action for the protection of the environment.

Technology plays a key role in protecting the environment and addressing global challenges, so we’ve asked the tech experts to share their insights on how organisations can help the planet. 

Heidi Karlsson, Director at The Open Group Open Footprint™ Forum 

“This year’s COP26 provided an opportunity for the world to come together and progress on the climate change agenda in recognition of the global nature of the problem. After businesses have spent years talking about climate change, highlighting how concerned they are and how they are pursuing initiatives to lower their own impact – COP26 seemed a pivotal moment and shift in the conversation. Now, commitments are being made in a holistic way, promising to account for and reduce the environmental impact of businesses as whole. 

COP26 made the reality of the climate crisis even clearer and encouraged business leaders to think more consciously of what effective action should look like. While we will continue to see marketing around specific changes, like adopting biodegradable plastic or zero-emissions vehicles, it no longer makes sense to have no overarching strategy to those changes.  

On World Environment Day we’re reminded that solving the climate crisis demands clearer conversations, stronger leadership buy-in, measuring data from each sector, greater support, and more forceful deadlines with digital transformation. An open standard for tracking environmental footprint data, unifying data recording, processing, and sharing across industries, can support this goal further. The Open Group Open Footprint Standard is being designed with this in mind.”  

John Phillips, VP and GM EMEA at Zuora 

“In the wake of COP26 and increasing focus on climate measures, businesses across all sectors are under pressure. We know the finish line we have to get to: net zero. But how do we get there and, more importantly, who is going to lead the way? 

The concept of a transition to a more sustainable form, in the pursuit of net zero, is nothing new. Yet, the pandemic has accelerated timelines beyond what was expected before, and the imperative to launch new, customer-centric propositions within this transition is now unavoidable. So how can businesses address the challenge to reinvent themselves and make the world a greener place? One answer lies in finding new revenue models, which empower customers to reinvent the way they consume, store, and pay for services. 

Take the utilities industry as an example. The cost of energy is rising, and many consumers now want to replace their traditional energy sources with renewables, however, this comes at a cost. By deploying subscription services, utility companies can offer alternative flexible finance models to their customers who may not otherwise be able to afford these greener energy solutions. This new service offering can enable consumers to buy when prices are lower and store energy for when prices begin to rise, or else to fit EV charging stations at home without the full burden of cost. 

In order to truly become more sustainable and meet ESG goals, businesses across all sectors need to think outside the box and be open to new service models which focus on customer lifetime value while empowering the transition to net zero.” 

Mark Morley, Senior Director, Product Marketing for Business Network at OpenText  

“World Environment Day is one of the biggest global reminders to look at how we can protect and restore our planet. For businesses specifically, it is a reminder of the urgency to introduce more sustainable business and supply chain processes, with this year being particularly pertinent. The past 24 months have seen businesses forced to change the way they manage supply chains because of continued supply chain disruptions and COVID. Add to that consumer pressure combined with new government green targets, and businesses are finally focused on embracing the need for a more sustainable world – from ensuring that goods are being purchased from sustainable sources, to removing black plastics from everyday food shopping and exploring electric vehicle based last mile delivery networks in city centres.

One of the most critical ways businesses can embrace more sustainable methods of working is digitising their supply chain platforms. Through the business network that OpenText operates and that connects over 1.1 million companies, over 33 billion transactions are exchanged every year, meaning we digitise 33 billion paper-based transactions, such as purchase orders and invoices annually. In this way, we are helping businesses make significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to the CO2 emissions generated by 167,423 cars in just one year. Digitisation of supply chains can reduce the overall carbon footprint for businesses by ensuring information can be securely exchanged and managed any time, place or anywhere companies can retire power hungry internal hardware infrastructures, or even allow IT teams to travel less to different office locations as they can implement project and cloud-based solutions remotely.

Ultimately, developing more sustainable supply chain operations is a requirement in today’s business operation, not an option. To support that, companies should be aiming to digitise 100% of the information flowing across their supply chain operations. While many companies struggle to achieve this, there are simple steps to start the process but the imperative is to start now or businesses will get left behind.”