Pushing Past “The Wall” Toward Carbon Neutrality

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On Sunday, April 9, close to 57,000 runners will participate in the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris. Among them, 4,650 “green runners” will be representing Schneider Electric as employees, customers, or partners. Ask any marathoner what makes the difference in finishing the 42.2K feat: it’s getting past “The Wall,” which hits you around the 32K mark. Marathoners need to push themselves both physically and mentally through that mark to become either a finisher or a conqueror!

Facing the climate wall

Just as marathoners face The Wall, our planet currently faces a formidable obstacle. Unless we take action NOW to limit carbon emissions worldwide, we are on a path towards defeat. We need to curb the long-term rise in global temperatures to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels in order to win the climate race by sustaining a healthy environment. If not, the effects of global warming and the resulting change in climate are likely to be irreversible.

How will we do it? Carbon neutrality is the way. Running sheds light on what this concept means. As an endurance sport, running goes well beyond physical capability. Success depends on taking in the right amount of good fuel: a fine balance of electrolytes, carbohydrates, and water must be achieved for an effective output of energy. Similarly, in the new energy world, Schneider Electric focuses on inputting clean, reliable, and efficient energy that is digitized to power homes, buildings, cities, industries, and data centers in a most efficient way — with the goal of outputting zero carbon emissions.

The first carbon-neutral marathon

By 2019, the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris will be the world’s first carbon-neutral marathon. As the title sponsor, we are working with the organizer to compensate carbon emissions. Last year, the marathon’s carbon footprint was equivalent to 26,200 tonnes of CO2 (as studied by the office Carbone 4). We compensated 50% of the 2016 marathon emissions through carbon credits generated in Kenya thanks to the Hifadhirural energy savings project developed by Livelihoods.

Innovation for a sustainable future

To us, innovation is our biggest tool for meeting the company’s sustainability goals. Through EcoStruxure™, we are helping customers thrive in the new energy world, characterized by energy that is more electric, digitized, decarbonized, and decentralized. Focusing on the demand side of energy, we drive energy efficiency as an effective way to shift the climate trajectory toward a better outlook.

As COP21 in Paris brought to light, we know the world is staring down “The Wall.” But last November’s COP22 in Marrakech was about taking action. Schneider Electric’s own 10 climate commitments map out our plan to become a carbon-neutral company within the next 15 years. For example, we aim to reduce our energy intensity by 3.5% each year, and we have committed €10 billion over the next 10 years for Research & Development and innovation for sustainability. Taking climate action is inherent in our corporate strategy. Learn how in our Strategy & Sustainability Highlights report.

Together, we can do it.

At this year’s Marathon, we will have thousands of volunteers handing out food and water, as well as cheering runners along the entire race course. And our 4,650 “green runners” will be participating as symbols of the way energy can ensure that Life Is On™ for everyone, everywhere, and at all times. As one “green runner,” a U.S.-based employee Janet Sanderson, says, “It is the energy you draw from the spirit and soul of Paris that powers the runners, and you feel the intensity of life in the tangible energy at the 20-mile mark.” That energy is what gets Janet and thousands of others past The Wall. Likewise, this empowering energy will get our planet past it, too. Together, we can do it.

Good luck to all Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris participants!

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