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Dhaka Tribune

21 leading companies unite to accelerate climate action using technology

Collectively, these organizations cover a broad range of industries capable of delivering significant greenhouse gas emissions cuts

Update : 21 Sep 2018, 10:32 AM

Twenty-one companies have announced the launch of a new alliance dedicated to harnessing the power of emerging technologies and the fourth industrial revolution, to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all economic sectors and to ensure a climate turning point by 2020.

The announcement to form the Step Up Declaration came at the recently-concluded Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco.

Besides representatives from subnational governments and civil society, the summit brought together business leaders from around the world  leading the charge on reducing global emissions by 2020, highlighting the crucial role that the private sector has to play in for climate action.  

The signatories included Akamai Technologies, Arm, Autodesk, Bloomberg, BT, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Lyft, Nokia, Salesforce, Supermicro, Symantec, Tech Mahindra, Uber, Vigilent, VMware, WeWork, Workday, and Zoox.

Collectively, these organizations cover a broad range of industries capable of delivering significant greenhouse gas emissions cuts across buildings, data-centres, finance, telecoms, the transport sector, and more.

Acknowledging the opportunity and responsibility to take action and help mitigate the worst potential impacts of global warming, the signatories behind the Step Up Declaration are joining forces to dramatically “step up” climate action, to demonstrate their own progress ahead of 2020, and show how they can intentionally help the rest of the global economy decarbonize.

The Step Up Declaration was developed with leadership from Salesforce, the global leader in CRM. It refers to the transformative power of the fourth industrial revolution, which encompasses artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT). 

In addition, the declaration acknowledges the role its signatories can play in demonstrating and enabling progress, both in their immediate spheres of influence and “collaboratively with others — across all sectors of society, including individuals, corporations, civil society, and governments.” 

Existing technologies currently influence the decisions of three billion people daily through eCommerce, search tools and social media, and are at the heart of business and investor decisions. These technologies and the companies behind them have the potential to profoundly impact the transition to a fossil fuel free economy. The Step-Up Declaration also includes a series of individual commitments detailing specific supporting actions.

Salesforce, an American cloud computing company headquartered in San Francisco, is committed to achieving 100% renewable energy by 2022.  It will partner with its top suppliers to set their own emissions reduction targets by 2025 and is expanding its green real estate strategy by committing to align with LEED V4 Platinum standards and Net Zero Carbon Buildings certification for all major new offices after 2020.

“At Salesforce, we believe that business is one of the greatest platforms for change. We are committed to doing our part to step up to the urgent challenge of climate change, ensure a just transition to a low carbon economy and provide a healthy future for all,” said Suzanne DiBianca, Salesforce executive vice president of corporate relations and chief philanthropy officer.

Bloomberg, a privately held financial, software, data, and media company headquartered in New York City, will integrate climate risk and opportunity analytics across all financial products and asset classes, and expand sustainable finance capabilities into all major industry products and services by 2020.

"To solve the climate challenge, we need leadership from the private sector. We are excited to collaborate with our partners in the Step Up Declaration to drive investment and deployment of innovative, energy-smart technology, creating new business solutions to address our collective climate challenge," said Curtis Ravenel, Bloomberg’s global head of sustainable business and finance.

BT, a British multinational telecommunication holding company with head offices in London, will help its customers reduce carbon emissions by at least three times the end-to-end carbon impact of its business by 2020. 

“Last year, BT’s products helped our customers cut their carbon emissions by 11.3 million tons, for example through video conferencing and vehicle telematics,” said Andy Wales, BT’s chief digital impact and sustainability officer. “We are continuing to roll out our pioneering contract clause which requires a supplier to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption over the term of their contract with BT.”

Supermicro, an American information technology company headquartered in Silicon Valley, is introducing a new metric – Total Cost to the Environment (TCE) – for IT leaders to measure their data centres’ environmental impact by urging them to incorporate resource-saving technologies into their plans to help the data centres reach an average PUE of 1.30 and reduce their E-waste by 2025.

“Data centres are critical to the continued advancement and evolution of our global society, which is why we are urging IT leaders to begin measuring the TCE (Total Cost to the Environment) of their facilities, said Charles Liang, CEO and president of Supermicro. 

“As the innovative leader in energy efficient systems and green computing technology for data centres, Supermicro has developed environmentally conscious resource-saving server and storage technologies offering the best solutions for our precious mother earth,” he added. 

Tech Mahindra, an Indian multinational provider of information technology, networking technology solutions and Business Process Outsourcing to various industry verticals and horizontals, will create the first ever global ‘AI for Action’ movement for climate via a new competition, organized by GCAS and its associate companies, that will deliver real solutions for climate action. 

Tech Mahindra is committed to the sustainability goals and is investing in specific initiatives including achieving carbon neutrality (15% reduction in Scope 1-2 GHG emissions by 2020-21).

“As part of the Mahindra Group, Tech Mahindra is committed to reducing its global carbon footprint. The ‘Step-up Declaration’ is a milestone in our journey towards creating a safer and sustainable planet. We are committed to leveraging next-gen technologies like Artificial Intelligence that will enable a sustainable society. We are excited to collaborate with our partners and create the first-ever global ‘AI for Action’ movement,” said CP Gurnani, managing director and CEO of Tech Mahindra.

Through transformative technologies like 3D printing solutions designed for industrial-scale manufacturing environments and new service-based and circular business models, American multinational information technology company HP, headquartered in Palo Alto, California, is changing how its products are produced, delivered, and re-used to reduce their impact.

“At HP, we know that swift and bold action must be taken to address the root causes of climate change. With one of the largest IT supply chains in the world, we are uniquely positioned to influence industry and drive more sustainable production and consumption around the world. We are proud to stand with other like-minded companies that are dedicated to combating climate change and transforming the world into a more sustainable global economy,” said Nate Hurst, chief sustainability and social impact officer, HP.

Nokia - a Finnish multinational telecommunications, information technology, and consumer electronics company, has committed to reducing emissions from its operations by 41% by 2030 through science-based targets, while enabling its customers to reduce theirs by 75%.

“Our ultimate aim is to create a zero-emissions digital society,” said Petteri Rantanen, chief security officer and head of health, safety, security and environment, Nokia.

Uber - a peer-to-peer ridesharing, taxi cab, food delivery, bicycle-sharing, and transportation network company headquartered in San Francisco, believes transportation systems dominated by personal car ownership are inefficient and unsustainable and it is committed to improving mobility by promoting shared electric rides and integrating new modes of transportation like bikes and scooters. 

“We want to help save fuel, improve air quality, and reduce transportation carbon intensity with every journey,” said Rachel Holt, Uber’s vice president and head of new modalities.

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