We asked 22 innovation and sustainability leaders how UK businesses can help reach 2030’s net zero goal. Here’s what they said.
Imagine this. The year is 2030, and the UK has successfully smashed its net zero carbon emissions target – far ahead of any other major global economy.
It’s a much-talked-about goal, and for good reason. Since pre-industrial times, global average temperatures have risen by over 1 degree Celsius. The figure may seem small, but its consequences are devastating: for the climate, for the world’s natural systems, and for the global economy. What’s more, this 1 degree average figure masks the fact that the devastation is greater in certain regions, with some areas near the Poles becoming up to 5 degrees warmer during this period causing glacial melt and more.
Avoiding further global temperature rises is essential for the health of both our planet and its people. To make it happen, everybody needs to play their part: governments, individuals and, of course, businesses. But how can businesses – who will play a major role in reducing emissions – make this happen?
To find out, we spoke to 22 sustainability and innovation leaders and asked them one simple question… “It’s 2030 and we’ve managed to hit Net Zero. What did corporations do to help us get there?”
Here’s what they said...
While some of the changes required to meet net zero targets are more about a shift in mindset, others will require a certain degree of innovation. A number of these initiatives will be large-scale, national or multinational schemes – such as increased carbon capture and storage efforts – others will, at least in part, be down to individual organisations to manage themselves.
To give an idea of the scale of innovation that is needed, consultancy Capgemini has detailed 55 different innovations that are needed to get Europe to its emissions targets. These innovations have been grouped into five different sectors: energy, industry, buildings, transport, and food and land use.
While this list may not be exhaustive, it proves that a variety of different types of innovation will be needed – and on vastly different scales. Building new energy plants, greater levels of digitisation, designing new construction materials, improving energy efficiency, switching to greener fuels, overhauling our food supply chain – and, of course, encouraging consumers to change existing habits – innovation will have a significant role to play.
However, without careful management, will this innovation succeed? By ensuring that you have a clearly defined innovation strategy, process and management system in place – no matter the scale and type of innovation you need – you can give yourself the best possible chance of meeting your net zero goals.
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