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Technology and taking tangible steps toward a zero-carbon economy

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Written by Bella Copland, Senior Strategist, Kin + Carta

The path to net-zero

If you feel like the path to net zero is unclear and obstructed in places, you’re not alone. It’s often difficult to step back from the complexities and make sense of not only where we’re heading, but also how we’re going to get there.

We all have a role to play on this journey—that much is clear—but some of the tools, technologies and tactics we have at our disposal along the way are often overlooked. Although the map will look different from one business to the next, everyone has the potential to embrace zero-carbon through a data-driven strategy that leans on technology.

Here we are taking a look at how your organisation can start along the journey of sustainable digital transformation, protecting people and the planet without sacrificing your purpose or profits.

 

Understanding our place in a zero-carbon world

We live in a complicated society that requires collaboration on multiple levels for things to work as they should—governments rely on businesses as much as councils rely on communities to deliver on our collective promises. No single business or, indeed, sector can fight climate change on its own, so we need to understand our roles in driving net-zero to understand how we can help each other when it comes to executing them.

Start by identifying the key players in your system and how you can work with and rely on one another to champion sustainability. A government department or industry body, for instance, might set targets that automotive businesses need to meet, thus encouraging such businesses to create more sustainable products and experiences that, in turn, make it easier for consumers to be more responsible, too.

Consider your own, and your organisation’s role in your system – are you able to make the biggest impact by influencing others to make sustainable choices, or by directly acting through the creation of products and services that drive sustainability directly.

Digital transformation may not be this simple, of course, but the principles of working together to achieve objectives ring true for most industries. Taking the time to understand our roles as organisations and how we can change to perform them better, from working towards more accurate emissions forecasting to fewer wasted resources, is a crucial part of sustainable digital transformation.

 

Taking action as climate-conscious organisations

Once we know our roles, we can start to take tangible steps toward improving the ways we work and live. When it comes to reducing our carbon footprints, though, one of the common mistakes people and businesses make is treating it as a separate task from our everyday lives. For too long, it’s been seen as an additional responsibility as opposed to an integrated necessity—now’s the time to start factoring it into everything we do and every decision we make.

Here are three steps you can start taking to make that happen at your own organisation:

  1. Review and report on your emissions as you would your financesWhen you’re reviewing your budgets as part of your regular monthly rhythm, take a leaf out of Oslo’s book: the city has been tracking carbon emissions alongside finances since 2017.
    Start monitoring and reporting on your emissions as a KPI by building such tasks into your common workflows in the same way you would your financials.In addition to monetary targets, giving your departments environmental accountability and a way to track and report on it with accessible data is a great way to inspire change.
  2. Create transparency and empower your employees with real-time dataRemember, we can’t manage what we can’t measure. People can’t understand the carbon impact of things like trips or transactions if they don’t know what’s good and what’s bad, so they can’t hold themselves accountable for their actions.Equipping everyone with the ability to measure their own impact via the likes of sustainability-focused digital products can democratise responsibility and encourage change across your organisation. One iteration of this could be a data dashboard for employees, populated with real-time data about their annual travel activities and subsequent environmental impacts.
  3. Design for circularity to give more than you takeYou can reduce your impact on society as a whole by considering the impact that your products or services might have on very specific sections of society or parts of the world. Are there knock-on effects of your production line that harm certain groups? Are there multiplier effects that actually do more harm than good?Looking at sustainability action planning as a holistic exercise can ensure that you design the right technologies for the right outcomes for all and not a select few.

 

Balancing people, planet and purpose with a net zero vision

Investing in digital sustainability does not have to be a trade-off for your organisation. Many have shown that to do well, you don’t need to compromise on people and the planet—in fact, profit and prosperity can be entirely decoupled from CO2 emissions.

Sustainable digital transformation allows for win-win situations without unintended consequences, showing that organisations can change to make the world work better for everyone, including themselves. By building this kind of transformation into our ways of working as a collective of organisations and like-minded people, we can achieve a zero-carbon economy together.

Leveraging technology as the great enabler on this journey is our raison d’être at Kin + Carta and the proof is in the fact that we became the first B Corp on the London Stock Exchange. It’s a clear demonstration of our commitment to protecting our people and our planet, not just our profit, and we can do the same for you.

If you’d like to discover more about achieving sustainable digital transformation with Kin + Carta, get in touch with our experts today.


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