The power of sustainability partnerships
The aim of the partnerships goal is to promote the development, transfer, dissemination and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies.United Nations, Sustainable Development Goal 17.7
When the UN launched its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, it was a clear call for collective action. Unless we act together to preserve the planet by forming sustainability partnerships, the damage will be irreversible. Among the UN’s 17 goals, which include objectives for industry and infrastructure, consumption and production, is the mandate to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development. The partnership goal is the catalyst for change. Governments, producers, consumers, academics and scientists are all jointly responsible for the future of our planet and must come together to meet the SDGs. So how is business responding and in which ways can partnerships accelerate progress?
Sustainability partnerships for renewable energy and zero waste
The development of renewable energy is one of the most important goals of sustainability partnerships. In fact, it has prompted a global corporate leadership initiative called RE100. More than 170 companies have joined RE100, and they are committed to achieving 100% renewable electricity – massively increasing the demand for clean power and the momentum for sustainability.
Co-innovation and creation with customers is essential for advancing change, and Schneider Electric is helping to push the boundaries. By working with utilities such as Enel to integrate renewables on the grid, as well as energy end-users such as Deloitte, which boasts the world’s most sustainable office building, Schneider is realizing the sustainability benefits of achieving global grid parity.
Whirlpool leads the way
When it comes to reducing waste, companies such as Whirlpool are setting the agenda for change, working across 40 sites to champion energy and resource conservation. This global appliance manufacturer has adopted EcoStruxure™ Resource Advisor, Schneider Electric’s energy and sustainability management platform, to drive and achieve its sustainability strategy. As a result, Whirlpool met its zero-waste goals two years early in three of its factories.
Chris Leong, chief marketing officer, Schneider Electric, reveals that sustainability is in the brand’s DNA, “We call it Schneider Sustainability Impact. This influences how we manage suppliers in terms of sustainability, human rights, after-product, renewables and how we manage our own production. Sustainability is not just a CSR topic – we sell sustainability services to improve our customers’ products. It’s central to what we do.”
– Chris Leong, Schneider Electric CMO
“Sustainability is not just a CSR topic – we sell sustainability services to improve our customers’ products. It’s central to what we do.”
“If we are going to take energy management and industrial automation to the next generation, we have to completely leverage the open ecosystem.”
“If you can have access to the same breaks of technology, then you can create an application that is driving efficiency and sustainability of the future for the world.”
Innovating with speed new energy-efficient solutions
Facing climate change, technology companies must work together to solve efficiency problems more quickly. To quote the UN, the aim is to promote the development, transfer, dissemination, and diffusion of environmentally sound technologies. A good example is Schneider Electric Exchange, a cross-industry, open digital ecosystem that is committed to addressing sustainability issues and challenges. Chris Leong describes it as a community of experts that can leverage the “infinite possibilities of the open ecosystem” through Scheinder Electric and build energy and industrial automation for the next generation.
A technology company called InUse is a notable innovator in this community, scoring highly in a recent Schneider innovation challenge. InUse provides an SaaS application that allows machines to ‘talk’ so they can improve factory productivity and performance. For one of its client’s plants, InUse achieved a 20% reduction in water consumption.
Next generation sustainability models
Younger generations must be educated about sustainability issues and encouraged to be partners in creating green initiatives for a sustainable future. In particular, those born after 1985 have a significant role to play, as they are tomorrow’s business and industrial leaders and will be responsible for maintaining productivity while preserving resources and reducing waste. Among initiatives to motivate Millennials and Generation Z is Schneider Electric’s Go Green in the City Challenge, which inspires students from around the world to think ahead and design better, more sustainable ways to manage energy and develop infrastructures. The 2018 competition drew more than 24,000 entries from 163 countries.
Participating in the global race for a greener world
Sustainability is served by offsetting negative actions with positive ones that create a better environmental balance. Carbon offset projects are now familiar and are a good way to increase awareness of C02 emissions and bring people together to reduce carbon footprints. An enterprising example is the Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris, an annual event attracting around 60,000 competitors. Many will travel to France by air, adding to CO2 emissions, so Schneider Electric offsets all unavoidable CO2 emissions. It also sponsors a ‘Green Runners’ programme with sustainability challenges. For every 65kg of CO2 saved by Schneider’s Green Runners, it will send life-sustaining provisions to partners in Africa and East Asia. In 2019, Kenya was chosen as the offset country, and cookstoves and tree seedlings were distributed in Kenya’s Embu East District as part of the initiative.
Businesses must prioritize partnerships
No one can afford to be indifferent about the future, and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals underline the collective role that businesses must play. Although we are all responsible for promoting sustainable activities and protecting the planet, businesses have a particular duty to act responsibly and forge sustainability partnerships that will preserve natural resources and minimize environmental impacts.