Capgemini Exclusive: Mobilise your data for sustainability
Dr James Robey, Global Head of Environmental Sustainability, leads the Capgemini’s sustainability programme across 40 countries and is responsible for the delivery of a new ambition to help Capgemini’s clients save 10 million carbon tonnes through leveraging technology. In this column, he gives his perspective on the criticality of good data for driving change and engagement.
Data really matters.
I can already feel your eyes glazing over at the thought of such a statement, but before you switch off please bear with me.
Data has brought us the internet, founded on constantly expanding data, 90% of which was generated in the last two years, which has led to the biggest transformation of society, education, our economy and the largest transformation in communications since the printing press and the phone. Data is now also enabling us to push the boundaries on sustainability.
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Before going further, an admission – with a background in maths and economics, I have always had a fascination with numbers. More recently, in 2016, my research with Henley Business School culminated in modelling responses from sustainability leaders in 200 of the world’s largest companies to understand the business case drivers for their investment in sustainability. And the organisation I work for, Capgemini, is a major technology and consulting house, which continuously provides analytics and data insights to help clients across the globe transform their businesses. So, I know that data matters – and it is because of this that I am such proponent of data for sustainability.
One powerful sustainability dataset is curated by the Global Footprint Network [ https://www.footprintnetwork.org ]. Based in California, it collates a vast array of sustainability trends from around the world to provide instructive insights into the combined environment impacts of humanity at the global and country level. Ultimately, this extensive data set can be represented in the following graph:
The graph illustrates in a simple yet effective way, that since the 1970s humanity has been living a collective lifestyle beyond its means. This is graphically conceptualised above as the number of planets like Earth that would be required to support humanity’s current consumption patterns. Today that is 1.7 planets and based on current business-as-usual trends it will hit two planets in the next few years. Good data tells a story, and the Global Footprint Network’s dataset tells a story while issuing a very clear warning.
At the organisational level, data can also provide valuable insights on which a robust sustainability strategy can be constructed. My team continually mines data relating to our main environmental impacts (for us energy and travel), in order to increase the effectiveness of our response. But before sharing some examples, it is useful to reflect on the qualities of a useful dataset.
First, you need to have ‘good’ data. Having spent over a decade now building and refining our approach to sustainability measurement and reporting, we have identified four crucial facets of insightful data:
- It needs to be complete: at Capgemini, we bring together over 10 million sustainability data-points each year to directly calculate 99% of our operational carbon impacts and then estimate the remaining 1%.
- It needs to be granular: we are able to see the detail in our data. For example, our approach to tracking travel emissions enables us to view travel in terms of carbon, distance and cost, and also to account for travel at countries, business unit, and even client project level.
- Consistency is critical: by employing one central team to collate, validate and analyse our data, we can ensure that our data is consistently accounted for across our business.
- Data needs to be accessible: the deployment of a global environmental reporting system enables our sustainability leaders around the world to individually access, analyse and report their data.
Then, you need to convert your data into useful insights. Since the beginning of our sustainability programme over a decade ago, we have been employing data driven insights to shape our sustainability strategy. These insights from our robust dataset has allowed us to accurately predict potential future scenarios, enabling us to set an appropriate and ambitious direction. This included, in 2016, setting science-based targets which give us the confidence to know that our ambitions are in line with the level of action demanded by climate science.
One specific aspect of our dataset, its granularity, has proved particularly critical in engaging our stakeholders. This granularity enables us to communicate with different stakeholders in different languages most accessible to them. It’s fair to say, for most people carbon is not an easy currency to understand – many times I have been asked, so what is a tonne of carbon? For our global real estate team, measuring energy consumption in mega-watt hours is both more logical and relevant, and consequently we set energy targets in mega-watt hours. For other groups, cost is key, and combining carbon targets with the potential hard cost savings available from energy efficiency or travel reductions provides a more powerful motivation than solely talking about carbon.
These insights must be used to drive targeted action. Specific data driven insights have also enabled many practical actions to be completed. For example:
- Smart metering installed in our offices have enabled the tracking and alteration of switch-off patterns based on new knowledge about the patterns of building use outside standard working hours.
- The analysis of travel patterns enabled the identification of specific high-volume travel routes where investment in enhanced communication technologies have enabled improved virtual collaboration replacing frequent national and international travel.
- Analysis of travel patterns have also enabled the targeting on specific travelers to encourage the use or rail rather than air travel in certain situations as well as encouraging tele-commuting and travel outside rush hour periods.
A data visualisation of our business travel
Data analytics is also something that we are increasing employing to address our clients’ environmental impacts. Three recent examples include:
- Deploying advanced routing algorithms combined with on-board telematics to drive down fuel consumption and carbon emissions for a large trucking fleet. The combination of reducing the distance travelling together with incentivising more efficient driving behaviours lead to a significant reduction in fuel and carbon.
- Developing a ‘Geo-rice’ data platform, which provides an in-depth study of land surfaces and its interaction with climate to optimise rice cultivation for farmers.
- Providing an innovative dashboard for a global manufacturer to enable them to understand the end-to-end carbon impact of their global IT systems. The solutions highlighted a wide variety of significant opportunities for rationalisation and efficiency savings.
Mobilising our data for sustainability and change
In a world that has access to more and more data we need to ensure we are using it to drive change. This means making sure we are gathering good and relevant data – and using it to apply the insights which will led to action. In this way we will drive the change needed to address global challenges.
Mirico Cloud identifies emission changes
Mirico is extending its gas measurement services with the launch of Mirico Cloud for the oil and gas industry.
The platform lets customers detect and quantify gas emissions across multiple oil and gas sites, and quickly fix issues causing changes in emissions. Customers can be contacted by SMS or email for alerts if a new emission is above a certain size, or about an existing known emission that has started to grow.
Customisable dashboards can show average emissions over the last 24 hours or how emissions vary by asset type.
"It's great to be able to broaden the service we provide our customers," said Dr Linda Bell, CEO of Mirico. "We really feel this is a big step forward in helping the oil & gas industry to quickly identify emission issues at scale and ultimately help them in their goals to reach net zero."
The industry remains under intense pressure to deliver on emission targets. Achieving 50% lower emissions by 2030 will require either full electrification of the West of Shetland and Central North Sea or earlier-than-expected field cessations, according to Wood Mackenzie.
In 2018 the UK produced 451 million tonnes CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e) of greenhouse gas emissions. Around 3% of this total is direct emissions from oil and gas activity on the UK Continental Shelf. Energy generation, mainly from fossil fuels, produced 23% of emissions, and the transport industry accounted for a further 28%, mostly from the use of oil-based products.
The North Sea Transition deal has four key pillars:
- Supply decarbonisation reduce emissions from oil and gas production by 50% by 2030
- Carbon capture and storage (CCS) target 10 Mtpa of carbon capture by 2030
- Hydrogen deliver 5 GW of low-carbon hydrogen capacity by 2030
- Supply chain/people deliver investment of £14-16 billion into low-carbon technology by 2030
Methane in the spotlight, a busy 48 hours for bp and JPMorgan releases carbon reduction targets
Institutional investors with a collective $5.35 trillion in assets are calling on the Biden administration to get tougher about methane emissions as it seeks to address climate change. "Any credible pathway for the use of natural gas in a Paris-aligned future must address methane emissions," it states.
Cutting human-caused methane by 45% this decade would keep warming beneath a threshold agreed by world leaders, according to the UN Environment Programme. Such reductions would avoid nearly 0.3°C of global warming by 2045 and would be consistent with keeping the Paris Climate Agreement’s goal, to limit global temperature rises to 1.5˚C, within reach.
bp and CEMEX will work together on accelerating the progress of the latter's 2050 ambition to deliver net zero CO2 concrete globally. Around 70% of global emissions come from transport, industry and energy and cement making is energy intensive. Last week bp and renewable energy supplier Pure Planet forged a partnership to launch a new digital energy service that will support households, EV drivers and energy consumers in the UK.
Hot on the heels of the CEMEX announcement, bp shareholders rejected a plan that would have forced the company to strengthen its climate commitments in an AGM poll, with only 20.65% pledging support. "We will continue to engage with shareholders on our strategy, targets and aims so as to ensure their views are fully understood," it stated. One of the challenges is that there is no single metric that measures Paris consistency, according to chief executive Bernard Looney.
JPMorgan Chase yesterday released comprehensive steps it is taking in its efforts to align its financing activities with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, publishing 2030 carbon intensity targets for the Oil & Gas, Electric Power and Auto Manufacturing sectors. It also released its new Carbon Compass methodology that describes how the firm set its targets and how it will monitor progress over time, and unveiled a Center for Carbon Transition.
“There must be collective ambition and cooperation by business and government to tackle climate change,” said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase. "Setting our Paris-aligned targets is an important step toward accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy and meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement. JPMorgan Chase is committed to doing its part by working with clients around the world to reduce emissions and by ensuring our own operations remain carbon neutral."