A three-step approach to support and assess low-carbon solutions (Report)

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Role: Author

Summary
The purpose of this work is to better identify and support solutions (including technologies, products, services and business models) that enable us to do things in a different way to today, and which result in significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than would occur under a business-as-usual scenario. Examples include the use of teleconferencing to displace business travel, replacing a motor with a more efficient alternative, or offering an advisory service to help customers reduce emissions.

Businesses, investors, governments and legislators are today familiar with the commonly-used and generally accepted approaches and methodologies for measuring the greenhouse gas emissions associated with organisations, products, services, and other activities. Effective use of these measurement tools allows for reductions in emissions to be readily tracked from a baseline, supporting better target setting and risk management, identifying cost reduction opportunities and supporting good policymaking.

However, there has been far less consistency around measuring the impact of solutions that can help to avoid emissions. The approach and methodology outlined in this document has therefore been developed to provide a robust and coherent way to measure, assess, and compare the current and potential impact of solutions that

help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is hoped that this will support greater levels of innovation, as well as unlocking growth and new revenue opportunities for the solutions that will be necessary in addressing the challenge of climate change and achieving the ambitions of the Paris Agreement.

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Guadalajara ICT Declaration for Transformative Low-Carbon Solutions (Declaration)

Role: Project leader

Summary
To date the principal focus of the global climate change negotiations has been on the initial CO2 emission reduction targets as agreed under the Kyoto Protocol, about 5% reductions.

Recent evidence shows it is now time to shift focus on piece- meal carbon emission problems to focus on solutions that can help to avoid emissions all together, or that can deliver signi - cant reductions such as 30% or more by 2020.

In order to deliver on the promise of such transformative emis- sion reductions, more engagement of strategic private sector innovation and technology is critical, as is supporting govern- ment planning and policies.

The undersigned believe that COP16 in Cancun can be a turning point in the global climate change negotiations by initiating a dedicated work stream for low carbon ICT and increasingly broadband solutions to play a transformative role in decreasing global emissions.

The ICT sector is fully committed to do its part in furthering this agenda, and actively engaging with governments and negotiators going forward.

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Assessment of Global Low-Carbon and Environmental Leadership in the ICT Sector (Report)

Role: author with Simon Mingay

Summary

The information and communication technology (ICT) industry and its individual providers are at an important juncture. Are they really going to commit themselves to the necessary investments to develop low-carbon and environmental solutions during a period when, with some exceptions (such as energy-efficient ICT equipment, intelligent buildings and smart grids), the markets for any such solutions are at best emerging? We look at which providers are placing their bets and developing the capabilities that will make them effective innovation partners for enterprises and give them platforms for leadership in a low-carbon and more sustainable economy.

Key Findings

During 2009 and 2010, there has been rapid progress in the maturity of ICT vendors in terms of their internal environmental programs and in terms of the development of a set of low-carbon market offerings. The dominance of talking in 2008 has evolved into a lot more action in 2010 in terms of suitable products, services development and policy- related activity.

We now have a clear group of market makers (BT, IBM, Cisco, Ericsson, HP, Fujitsu and SAP) that we believe are beginning to build distinguishing capabilities.

The 2008 leaders, such as IBM, BT, Ericsson, Fujitsu and HP, have maintained their relatively strong positions with good, well-rounded low-carbon and environmental programs, improving their own internal performance, and developing market-facing solutions ranging from more-energy-efficient ICT equipment and mobile phone networks, through logistics and transportation, to solutions that enable smart grids.

Aside from the important task of making ICT equipment more energy efficient, and a couple of particularly hot areas such as smart grids, developing solutions for a low- carbon economy is definitely not yet "core business."

With a couple of exceptions, the industry is hobbled by the short-term incremental sustainability-related goals that it is setting for itself, rather than setting more- challenging, longer-term goals that could result in transformative solutions.

There are limited signs of disruptive innovation, and more of a focus on incrementalism.

The industry is fearful of committing its weight to influencing national and international climate change and sustainability policy; rather, it is standing on the sidelines as a cheerleader.

© 2010 Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner's research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

The industry no longer predominantly sees climate change and sustainability as a risk, but sees it as an emerging opportunity.

Service and software providers have improved their positions from 2008, but remain relatively immature in terms of their internal programs and their market offerings. SAP would stand out as a relatively strong performer with big improvements in its internal programs, transparency, product development and road map.

Management of the environmental performance of the supply chain remains an area of significant differentiation, demanding much higher standards from everyone if the ICT industry is to credibly defend its position as a climate leader.

ICT providers in Asia (not Japan) are still lagging overall, but we have seen some dramatic improvements, and we would anticipate that continuing.

IT organizations still need to pay close attention to the balanced nature of the programs from IT providers, covering all areas of influence from direct, indirect and policy issues. We still see plenty of examples of providers with significant gaps in their programs.

Interindustry partnerships are starting to emerge, particularly from the leaders. For example, IBM and Johnson Controls developing intelligent building solutions. These partnerships are a very significant and important step in the ability of ICTs to develop commercially viable solutions for a low-carbon economy.

While the recent Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report outlining a high-level methodology for measuring the enabling effects of ICT related to the climate is a good step forward, the industry has so far only made a limited attempt at measuring the environmental benefits of its solutions, and has made no attempt at all to understand their systemic and rebound impacts. (That is, the indirect and frequently unforeseen change in behaviors, consumption patterns and so on, resulting from the introduction of new technologies, policy measures, etc.)

The industry continues to bask in the afterglow of the Smart 2020 report (www.smart2020.org), when it should really be moving that thinking forward at a much faster pace.

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Transformative Calculations: Calculating the impacts of transformative low-carbon solutions (Report)

Role: Lead author

Summary: 
This paper provides a brief overview of the possibilities for calculating and reporting a company’s positive contributions to societal emissions reductions.

Over the last few years, discussions and strategies have shifted from an exclusive focus on big emitters and the need to reduce emissions by improving existing systems, to also focus on providers of low-carbon solutions and transformative change whereby services are provided in totally new ways (such as modal shifts and dematerialization).

As a consequence the need for new reporting that can capture contributions from companies that provide solutions has emerged. The terminology is still under development, and the concepts are working names that have been used in the discussion related to the GHG-protocol and other systems for calculating emission reductions:

Total emissions approach: A focus on the total impact, both posi- tive and negative

Climate Positive: A company that helps reduce more emissions in society than it emits over the whole value chain, Scope 1-3

Low-carbon market opportunities: The emissions that a company can contribute to reducing in society through the use of the products/ services and that are outside Scope 1-3

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The revolution from pre-Kyoto to post-Copenhagen (Article)

Role: author

Summary
To understand the current situation and the opportunities ahead, it is important to understand the different approaches companies have to take for a low carbon development and what kind of behaviour that different organisations and incentive structures promote.

Four different levels of innovation can be identified, see Figure 4. The first level of low carbon innovation is when focus is on incremental improvements that reduce the company’s own problems. This is where most of the attention has been focused by policy makers, NGOs and businesses themselves. The reason for the focus is twofold: it is easily noticeable and understandable. When emissions are

discussed, people usually think about a coal power plant or just a chimney with smoke coming out. This focus makes sense for big polluters and only if incremental changes are needed.

The second level, which has got a lot of attention today, is incremental reductions through out the value chain, including all suppliers, starting from the extraction of material from nature and then also looking at the use-phase & end-use of the products. For most companies which are not the major emitters, it is in these parts where the majority of the emissions exist. Among IT companies, retailers, biotech companies and the manufacturing companies, up to 98% of the emissions cannot necessarily be associated with their own direct impact.

Still it is common for companies to aim for “climate neutral” and offset the emissions as they focus on level 1. This is a reason why offsetting might be one of the worst innovation killers today, keeping the companies on innovation level 1.

The third level is when the company acknowledge that the way they produce

things is not sustainable and instead of trying to improve unsustainable production methods, it develops solutions that become part of the solution. This can be a manufacturer of furniture that becomes a net producer of sustainable bio-energy, or a car manufacturer who builds so many wind power mills as it constructs its manufacturing plant & becomes a net producer to ensure that it puts more renewable energy on the grid than used.

The fourth level, and the most important level for the 21st century, is when the company starts to focus on what it is providing to society through its products and services. The question on this level is if the services the company provides are helping people getting a better life while helping to reduce emissions society2 then obviously the other levels are needed as well. But unless we get more companies to focus on how their core business is contributing to a low carbon economy, it will be impossible to reach the reductions needed.

Some people are afraid that focus on the core business, and solutions that company provides that can help reduce emissions in society, will distract them from the need to reduce their internal emissions. Looking at the companies that have begun to explore this area are almost leading in level 1-3 as well. Probably, because the companies that link low carbon development to their core business, requires a commitment from the CEO and the board. And if one wants to be the company that helps the customers towards a low carbon economy, it is not credible if the company has its own emissions. If anything is true, it is probably that many of the current initiatives that focus on internal emissions are distracting from effort on the higher innovation levels and not the other way around.

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Assessment of Global Low-Carbon and Environmental Leadership in the ICT Sector (Report)

Role: author with Simon Mingay

Summary
With increased pressure to reduce carbon emissions, enterprises are approaching this new situation in very different ways. Some are still struggling to assess their own business environmental and climate impact. Other enterprises approach the need to reduce carbon emissions among customers as an opportunity to move beyond their relatively smaller direct impact and also focus on the opportunity that low-carbon ICT services can provide. The difference in how companies approach the need for a low- carbon economy is creating a new corporate landscape where new winners and losers will emerge and where ICT customers must learn to navigate. This is an assessment of 24 of the industry's world-leading providers and an analysis of where the ICT industry is today in relation to its maturity in mitigating environmental risks and exploiting the opportunities that the need for reduced carbon emissions will create.

Key Findings

  • 2008 has seen the emergence of some low-carbon "leaders" in the ICT industry. They are just starting to wake up to the risks and opportunities of climate change, and move beyond pushing a more energy-efficient device. However, on the whole, the industry has been sleepwalking toward a low-carbon economy. 2009 will see rapid progress.

  • There is frequently more talking than there is action on behalf of the ICT providers. The results show those who need to make significant steps forward if their actions are to match their marketing.

  • Some of the "self-professed" leaders in environmental performance have some significant weaknesses in their programs.

  • Most providers still view "the environment" and "climate change" as a risk rather than as an opportunity.

  • Most ICT technology providers have outsourced most, if not all, manufacturing. So looking at the vendors' performance is looking at the tip of the iceberg — which is further compounded by most of those vendors only looking at the environmental performance of their Tier 1 suppliers.

  • Service organizations are quite immature in their environmental programs and their innovation for a low-carbon economy.

  • There is a lack of interindustry partnerships to create innovative solutions to tackle high- carbon areas of the economy.

    © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner's research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

  • The vendors from Asia (not Japan) are still lagging behind but some have begun to put comprehensive programs in place, and it is likely that they will move rapidly to the front in this area, driven by the urgent needs for low-carbon solutions in their domestic markets.

  • Fifteen of the 24 providers invited to participate did so, which is a good level of commitment from the industry. However, nine providers chose not to participate. With one exception, we believe that reflects their immaturity in environmental and low-carbon leadership.

  • This is a rapidly changing area.

Link to report

保定/Baoding: A global “Electric Valley” for sustainable energy production? (Report)

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Role: author with Rasmus Reinvang, Chen Dongmei, Stefan Henningsson, Hongpeng Lei, Li Junfeng, Ma Lingjuan, Liu Minglian, and Wang Ying

Comment
This is the simple version that does not look into the future and estimate the significant potential for Baoding to contribute to global GHG reduction from export of smart solutions. What is interesting is that these very significant contributions were still an underestimation. Still today Baoding is one of the few cities in the world that have estimated their global climate contribution though export of low-carbon solutions.  

Summary

China is the factory of the world providing us with a large variety of products at an affordable price. Lowering prices on renewable energy and energy efficiency products is also a key issue in our battle to mitigate climate change.

Baoding is recognized by the Chinese Government as a first and only industrial base for development of China’s new energy sector. The world needs a dramatic increase in renewable energy if we are to be able to secure a sustainable energy supply for the global economy and avoid dangerous climate change. Baoding is therefore a key to global sustainable development.

This is an introduction to Baoding providing an overview of Baoding’s rapid development, potential future role, some preliminary results and assessments, as background for a visit to Baoding by China Council (CCICED) and OECD embassies in Beijing.

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GRI Telecommunications Sector Supplement (Paper)

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Role: co-author with Sean Gilbert, Michael Kuhndt, Edoardo Gai, Dunstan Hope, Danilo Riva, Chris Tuppen, et.al

Comment
This was the first time "net-positive"/ "climate positive" effects of ICT was included in an international framework I think. Even 15 years later it is ahead of the GHG-protocol, CDP and others that dominate how companies should report (as they stick to only the "reduction" perspective). This is about to change, but as of 2017 the focus is still 99% on the reductions and not how companies can deliver what is needed. 

Summary
GRI is pleased to release the pilot version of the Telecommunications Sector Supplement for use in conjunction with the GRI 2002 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines (‘the Guidelines).

In 2001,GRI launched its supplement programme in response to consistent feedback on the importance of sector-specific guidelines built on the foundation of the Guidelines. GRI supplements capture issues essential to sustainability reporting in a specific sector, but which may not appear in the Guidelines since they are relevant primarily for a specific range of reporting organisations or sectors. By developing both the Guidelines and sectoral supplements, the GRI framework supports the comparison of reporting organisations both across within and across sectors.

Link to paper