COP27 from negotiation to action and solutions: A corporate’s view.

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COP27 negotiations are over. The realist in me recognizes that more could have been done. But the pragmatist knows that it’s not the end of the road.

While the outcomes of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference are neither ambitious nor concrete enough, small steps were made. Notably those in favor of supporting a just transition and acknowledging the need to cater for loss and damages tied to climate change.

It’s also worth mentioning the launch of Climate Trace, a new independent inventory of greenhouse gas emissions: an Artificial Intelligence tool combining satellite data and artificial intelligence to show facility-level emissions.

This leads me to the current global warming trend — COP27’s elephant in the room — which is not expected to decrease fast enough, unless we accelerate and expand efforts already under way.

The core of our action and involvement was to raise awareness through one-on-one engagement with government leaders, advisors, peers and influencers and demonstrate what is possible. Over the two weeks, hundreds of people gathered in Schneider Electric’s Sustainability Hub in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt to discover what existing technology can do to deliver on climate pledges right now, while increasing energy efficiency, resilience and security.

Gwenaelle Avice-Huet at Schneider Electric's Sustainability Hub during COP27.

At COP27, we hammered home the facts, we shared the insights, but most importantly we showed what is possible and how we can support it. We’re not saying it’s easy, we’re saying we can do more—at least three times more and three times faster—to transition to a sustainable energy landscape.

For this, concrete, but somewhat smaller steps can make change feasible and actionable. And this requires commitment and discipline. Take net-zero commitments. More than 3,000 companies in the world are working with the Science-Based Targets initiative, but out of these only a few have a roadmap with validated net-zero targets. We are proud to be among the first companies in the world to have achieved this.

Too often, shorter timeframes and simple solutions are overlooked. In a recent C-Level sustainability survey, transitioning to renewables is far above the priority list – as it should be. But energy efficiency and related cost savings, or process electrification are just not at the same level – and they should be.

The private sector has a part to play and it’s a bigger part than ever. At COP and all year round, I receive many invitations to show and tell. There is an appetite to learn from companies like us who are leading the way, on what to do, how to do it and how to bring your stakeholders along.

Thankfully we are not alone in this engagement. I don’t think the business world has ever paid so much attention or been so mobilized. It does not mean however that we can’t do more.

By joining the Action declaration on Climate Policy Engagement initiated by Corporate Knights and the Global 100 Council, we will go even further in working with the public sector to help remove obstacles and accelerate decarbonization. We will disclose our efforts and keep increasing our local engagement to make those concrete changes step by step.

Gwenaelle Avice-Huet, Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer of Schneider Electric, at COP27.

Needless to say, implementation matters more than promises. It was announced as the theme of this COP27, and I can also bear witness to the ever-increasing activism, awareness and expectation coming from young people. Interacting with civil society, NGOs and youth delegations was motivating and constructive because they are most keen to change the way we approach the challenge and create opportunities.

It’s with particular pride that we announced partnering on the unique “RISE – Our World Heritage” documentary series that explores the combined power of innovation, science and local culture to protect nature and fight climate and social crises. What better way to reach audiences, younger generations especially, and show what is possible with technology, traditions and people diversity, than through video and digital streaming platforms.

With COP27 ended, Schneider Electric is proud  to announce partnering with "Rise - Our World Hertiage'.

It is to young people I dedicate the final words of this blog. With 16% of the world’s population between 15 to 24 years old, young people have shown how they themselves have been and will continue to be part of the solution. As a former World Economic Forum Young leader, I understand their aspirations and I want to tell them change is possible. I look forward, not only to the next COP or such-like events but to each day ahead of us, so we make them worthwhile and action-packed.

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