Window is 'small and closing' addressing carbon goals

At Day 2 of Sustainability Live, James Robey, Global Head of Sustainability at Capgemini, urges investment in all forms of carbon capture and storage

A small and closing window of opportunity exists to meet carbon emission targets, according to James Robey, Global Head of Sustainability at Capgemini.

Speaking at the second day of Sustainability Live in London, he said: "We haven't had all the data in for 2021 but the pathway says we should be around 15% down and we're 2% down, so it's not a tremendously great start."

He said at current rate of emissions, the carbon budget will run out in eight years. "Clearly the quicker we can decarbonise, the longer that 320GT budget will last."

His presentation outlined a range of energy solutions, such as bifacial solar panels, floating wind farms, C02 air capture at scale, EV charging infrastructure, intelligent routing and hydrogen trucking, which could deliver around 2bn tonnes of carbon reduction and create around 26mn jobs.

"We're going to lead a lot more - it's a story of 'and' not 'or'. We need to put investment in all forms of carbon capture and storage as well as nature-based solutions," he said.

Energy, Agriculture, Industry, Transportation and Buildings remain the 'big five' emissions targets, but with the rise in digital transformation, technology is coming under more scrutiny. "If IT was a country, it would be the third largest consumer of electricity," he said.

He cited the UK landfill tax as an example of a phased-in approach which could be used for carbon reduction. "We need a clear transition period which will give businesses the opportunity to act and respond."

In another presentation, Jim Bralsford, Senior Director Industry and Solutions at Kinaxis, highlighted the pressing issues affecting supply chains, and importance of transparency and corporate sustainability strategies.

"Spending millions to decarbonise your supply chain is wasted if daily planning decisions reverse the impact," he said. "Instead we need to factor sustainability into those daily decisions, and cannot treat sustainability as a separate workstream."

Supply chain planning should include scenarios to weight trade-offs between cost, quality and emissions and ensure that the impact of those decisions is felt across the entire network.

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