What is Climate Action? Why should we make it a personal mission to achieve it?

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What is climate action?

It deals with the efforts pooled in by the countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen adaptive capacity and resilience to climate-induced impacts, such as strategizing and climate action plans, raising awareness about the importance of climate action, enhancing human and institutional capacity concerning climate change mitigation, adoption of renewable energy sources, moving towards greener resources, etc.

Climate Action Plan – UN SDG Goal 13

UN SDG Goal 13, the Climate Action Plan, is a critical global initiative. Focused on combating climate change, it sets ambitious targets for emission reduction, renewable energy integration, and climate resilience enhancement. UN SDG 13 climate action targets aim to secure a healthier planet for present and future generations by aligning nations and industries toward sustainable practices.

solar panels with city in the background sustainability

Amongst the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, UN SDG 13 deals with taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impact, with key climate action targets such as:

  • Strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity to disasters related to climate
  • Integration of climate changes measures in planning and policies
  • Building knowledge and capacity to meet climate change
  • Implementing the un framework convention on climate change
  • Promoting mechanisms to raise capacity for planning and management

The changing winds of sustainability

Limiting climate change would require a dramatic shift in investment patterns and focus on investing in climate-resilient development, inclusive of infrastructure investments, which is estimated to cost around the US $4 trillion a year by 2030.

Amidst when, concerning climate action, businesses have announced net-zero target of emissions by 2030, a recent analysis performed by PWC shows, just about 8% of the world’s largest companies, which are represented by the Global Fortune 500, have committed to becoming net-zero, which leaves us with an overwhelming and blur picture about the comprehensive climate action plan.

To achieve something concrete, climate change action by all the businesses and industries would matter, irrespective of their size. The gap between high-profile announcements and low participation is just a part of the series of prevalent gaps between the ground realities and climate change needs.

In the process, tech-driven companies would play a major role by offering technically advanced solutions, products and services functioning on real-time data, artificial intelligence, digitization, etc.

Embedding sustainability in the core of all business propositions

While laying paramount importance on climate action plan and strategies and embedding sustainability in our core offerings, at Schneider Electric, ‘Our biggest energy and sustainability challenge in the past 12 months has been striking a balance between realistic and aspirational targets for clean energy.’

To have an idea about the status of adoption of climate action activities by businesses, in 2020, we surveyed sustainability and energy professionals, c-level executives, etc., of different companies and established, 22.7% of businesses stated they do not have any concrete climate action plan to address the climate risk for now, but it is in development; 6.8% of them said they do not have any climate change action plan at all, etc. And, in 2021, only 33% of them could say that they are very well prepared with climate action solutions.  With such a response, it might not be easy for us to achieve the set climate action targets.

And while talking about the barriers these businesses face in coming up with climate action plan, about 47% of businesses stated that they are unable to align their internal stakeholders, 42.4% of businesses stated that they have poor quality or incomplete data, and 36.4% of them said that they are unable to convert their strategy to a workable climate action plan.

It is imperative to understand that it is impossible for countries to achieve their climate action targets without transforming their industries and economy therein. The pressure from the stakeholders, including investors, is not expected to detour; instead, it is expected to increase with the advancing times as the intensity of the need to incorporate changes favouring climate change action will only accelerate in the future.

Climate action solutions

 If we talk about climate action, we cannot have definitive solutions for coping with climate change. Rather, it would be a constant process of innovations and inventions, wherein businesses, government and citizens need to participate and adopt innovative and technically advanced solutions to convert our energy sources to renewable energy sources, incorporate the use of digitization and artificial intelligence, etc.

Climate action solutions: Digitization and its impact

To help businesses cope with the problems of insufficient data and others, it is essential to create a defined plan with the support of concrete data and technically advanced solutions. At the heart of these climate action solutions lie – digitization and innovation.

To lead in the climate crisis would require factoring climate risk into business strategy and identifying innovative digital opportunities to drive change and develop a well-devised climate action plan. Here, shifting towards digitization would help businesses in streamlining data, strategizing it and making informed decisions faster and smarter. We’ve mentioned below three key enablers:

  1. Preserve transparency of consumption 

Advanced technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) allow businesses to collect and analyze data related to energy and resources consumed across their building, plants, etc.

With this data being available, these resources and energy are not just a commodity used to power our building; rather, they can be used to measure what we consume and control the same, as per the targets set. This is from where the climate action plan can be kick-started.

  1. Analytics and artificial intelligence

To bring a change in the traditional business process and achieve climate action targets, it is inevitable for businesses to incorporate analytics and artificial intelligence. With data-driven insights and structured data, artificial intelligence has the power to automate and make things possible, helping businesses streamline climate action activities and make smarter decisions in real-time based on measurements.

  1. Collaboration with digital ecosystem

 It is not feasible for businesses to innovate or fight climate change alone. Instead, making collaborative efforts would work and help in achieving such goals with innovative climate action solutions. And, this is where digital ecosystems and advanced technologies play a vital role.

By ecosystems, we mean a common climate action platform to connect service providers, digital products, experts, businesses, etc. This would act as an enabler in developing innovative solutions, coping with sustainability challenges in innovative ways, etc., and moving close to climate action targets under SDG 13.

We, at Schneider Electric, have been putting in the best of our efforts for years to help businesses move towards green energy and achieve climate action targets by leveraging advanced technologies and innovative solutions.

As a result of these efforts, Schneider has been ranked in one of the ‘Global 100 most sustainable corporations in the world’ by Corporate Knights, a media and research company that produces financial product ratings and rankings based on corporate sustainability performance.

Besides, we have announced to double our long pending strategy of embedding social, environmental and governance strategies in every facet of our activities and support our customers and business partners in achieving the sustainability challenges.

Schneider Electric’s contribution towards UN’s Climate action campaign

  1. Climate action platform: Advisory services

We have launched our climate action platform – Climate Change Advisory Services, so that organizations can handle the upcoming challenges via a unique combination of strategy setting, supplier engagement, implementation via efficiency, procurement of renewable energy, solution implementation services, etc. This will help organizations in reducing Scope 3 emissions to a large extent.

  1. Elimination of the use of SF6 

SF6 is a greenhouse gas that is usually present in electrical equipment. It is used to supply power to the grid and other industrial electrical installations and are not well known outside the electrical engineering’s world.

Schneider Electric’s new SM AirSeT medium voltage switchgear uses pure air instead of the industry-standard gas SF6, proving the disruption of the status quo by digital innovation. It is one of the innovations which is making its way to climate action solutions with the support of decarbonization.

  1. Influencing our supply chain to go green 

Besides offering products and services, Schneider is acting as a consultant and influencing businesses in identifying opportunities, defining strategic approaches and help them lead their actual implementation. This initiative under the climate action campaign would have a significant impact.

With our advisory services, we have committed to help our suppliers to reduce CO2 emissions to half by 2025, leveraging digital tools that help make data-driven decisions.

  1. Incorporating climate action activities in our functions 

While assisting businesses with climate action plans, we need to fulfil our long-term targets to achieve sustainability goals effectively. This would require a plethora of climate action activities such as inhouse training, day to day operations, awareness for local challenges and projects, recycling and energy-saving drives, etc.

Besides, it will also require perseverance, consistent goal-setting efforts, analyzing and strategizing, etc., helping thousands of our employees be a part of climate change action.

  1. RE-100: Commitment to the use of 100% renewable energy 

We are a member of RE100 – a global initiative led by the climate group in partnership with CDP to accelerate change towards sustainable grids, and members act as their driving force and make a commitment to 100% renewable electricity across their operations and work towards increasing the delivery of and corporate demand for renewable energy.

  1. EP100: Commitment to use smart energy 

Institutional investors and companies joining EP100 pledge to almost double their energy productivity level and do this by joining a global and collaborative initiative of leading and influential businesses, significantly contributing to reducing energy demand and limiting temperature rise to below 2 degree Celsius.

Get involved with climate action campaigns and make your contribution 

While achieving climate action targets might seem to be challenging, it is imperative to realise its importance. With prioritization and collaboration, combating climate change can be actualised in the real world.

We can contribute by spreading the word, collaborating with different companies, upgrading our practices, incorporating digitization with the help of digital tools, etc. Digitization and a technically advanced ecosystem would prove to be of supreme importance in making our way to achieve the climate action targets under SDG 13.

Here’s to a better, and more sustainable world!