AVEVA attends COP26: the role of business in reaching a #netzero future

Written by Peter Herweck, Chief Executive Officer, AVEVA

AVEVA sent a delegation to the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commonly known as COP26, for the first time this year. Our team networked with the technology and innovation communities, met with civil society, and exchanged ideas with leaders from across the political and business divides. Whatever you think of the outcome of the negotiation, our team brought home one strong message from Glasgow: business is committed to tackling climate change, and technology leaders like AVEVA have a critical role to play in making change happen. – McKinsey estimates that up to 80% of the technologies needed to reach net zero are already deployed, some 15% are in prototype trial, and a further 5% are in the R&D process. Change is within our grasp. This is perhaps the single most important thing that businesses will achieve in our lifetime.

414ppm in atmospheric carbon cannot continue

While it wasn’t always obvious on the drizzly streets of Glasgow this November, global warming has accelerated. Journalist and activist David Attenborough showed how 414 parts per million (ppm) of carbon in the atmosphere is unsustainable for much plant and animal life. The commitments outlined in the final proposal fell short of a ban on coal and did not set a clear carbon price, however they did reaffirm governments’ commitment to limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. As a business, we joined more than 80% of the FTSE100 in making that commitment too. It’s in those commitments, and in the side meetings taking place around the blue and green zones, that I see cause for excitement and action.

What can business do?

As a global business leader, I see for myself how our teams from San Leandro, California and Brisbane, Texas to Gujarat, India have been buffeted by floods, fires, snow, and the failure of the systems on which modern life is founded. Climate change is happening now, and it’s our moment to respond. So what can businesses do? In my view, there are three key activities:

1. First, we must collaborate. Climate change is a planetary problem that demands a world-wide response. Governments have the policy levers, but corporations have the tools, manpower, inspiration, and technology to make change happen. This was the most encouraging part about COP26—speaking to colleagues, competitors, and those from other sectors and hearing the shared commitment to rising above day-to-day rivalries and make a difference.

2. Second, the technology to drive change is here. Let’s use it. At AVEVA, we may have our small part of the answer in our AI-infused analytics and data-led platforms that enable industries to unify their data and drive responsible decision making. By partnering with the cloud providers like Microsoft, we provide scale, scope, and real-time immediacy to teams that enables them to innovate. And our network of 20,000 customers, encompassing industry leaders from Hershey’s to BP, have the networks, capabilities, and will to drive innovation and change. We cannot wait.

3. My third and most important point echoes the words of others during the conference. Let’s get to work. I applaud the work of the negotiators who worked tirelessly for two weeks to build consensus. In the end, negotiations may have fallen short of our hopes, but that doesn’t mean we have to stay our own commitments. Businesses must act now, and at AVEVA, we count ourselves grateful to have insight from Schneider Electric, our partners at Microsoft and Accenture, and our network of customers, to draw on for inspiration and action.
If COP26 showed us one thing, it’s that the time for action is now.

Come with us. Together, we’re laying the foundation for a more sustainable tomorrow.

Next, learn more about AVEVA’s sustainability commitments and how our solutions can enable you to accelerate your net zero commitment.