The DPP webinar Can We Build Back Greener? showed a strange link between sustainability and the pandemic.

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Ball: ‘a real tipping point in terms of consumer and employee behaviour’

Hosted by DPP MD Mark Harrison, the first third of the June 11 executive roundtable featured Élie Girard, the CEO of Atos. He said: “If we want to make all this sustainable, we need to re-consign and make sure anything we do on the de-carbonisation side brings business value to your company. It is not about being cynical, it is about being conscious that this is the only way it will be sustainable.

“Otherwise any time you are in crisis, you will not do the good thing anymore,” he added. “For Atos it is a magnificent project; your people double or triple motivation. It has been a fantastic move to say, look, we are not doing this only for us. The tons of Co2 by millions of dollar revenue we have been pushing down is great, but we can have an overall impact that is much bigger if we work with our customers.”

Atos also pressures its vendors. “We don’t just ask for best prices, best performance. We added a third element which is carbon emissions,” said Girard. “It is the IT of our customers that has to be greener, and everything that is not digital has to become digital.

“I feel incredibly optimistic and enthusiastic. I don’t see any real relationship between the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change, but they touch the same part of brain, and the same feelings of people,” he added.

Sky won plaudits for becoming carbon neutral for direct business impacts in 2006, and its huge campaigns around rain forest rescue and ocean health. It plans to be net zero carbon by 2030.

Fiona Ball, director of The Bigger Picture for Sky, said: “We have been very good at growing our business in a very carbon-efficient way, but our real opportunity was to use our voice as a broadcaster, to really engage and inspire our employees.

“We are looking at the whole of our value chain, and 67% of it is in the use of our products in customer homes.

“We will continue to look at ocean health as well because oceans absorb 40% of world-wide carbon emissions,” she continued. “Surveys show that 80% of people are willing to do the same thing they have done for the pandemic for the environment.

“We are at a real tipping point in terms of consumer and employee behaviour, and a lot of companies want to learn from this and build back better,” she added. “In terms of climate we haven’t got years to do this. We have a decade in which we have got to show significant action.”