Reflecting on the past few months since CGI committed to achieve net zero globally before 2030, I have seen businesses come together to collaborate and take urgent action in the fight against climate change. Businesses must stand together for our planet in order to make systemic change. For those businesses yet to make a net zero commitment, I wanted to share the five key benefits I have seen since making our pledge.
- Competitive Market
CGI’s commitment to net zero and setting Science Based Targets (SBTs) in the UK has globally strengthened our position in a competitive market by demonstrating that our values align with those of our clients. Alongside this, the opportunity to work with and learn from cross-sector companies as part of the COP26 Business Leaders Group is helping accelerate our climate action and journey to net zero. Businesses across the world are taking corporate action with climate change at the top of the agenda. Companies that are yet to join the race risk falling behind in an ever-increasingly environmentally conscious corporate world.
- Demands for environmental data
The demand from clients for credible environmental credentials and sustainable offerings has, and will undoubtedly, continue to rise. Your business is part of your clients’ supply chains and therefore your actions impact your clients’ zero-carbon progress. Getting ahead of the game and setting your SBTs not only has a positive impact on your business, but on that of your clients.
- Retain & attract employees
It’s not only your clients that care about your environment credentials - your employees, and potential employees, do too. These days, more and more people want the values of their employer to align with their personal values. I’ve seen a real buzz around our business since we launched our ‘No Planet B’ initiative and, more recently, our commitment to the Race to Zero. Becoming part of the solution to the climate crisis creates a sense of purpose, and who doesn’t want to play a part in solving the greatest challenge of our time? Obviously, that’s not to underplay the significance of the current pandemic on all our lives, but climate change will remain a challenge long after the immediate threat of Covid-19 has been brought under control. What the pandemic has demonstrated is how organisations across supply chains can come together, innovate and create breakthrough solutions, and therefore we should have confidence in setting and pursuing what may seem to be audacious goals. By implementing a net zero strategy, we’re improving job satisfaction, increasing retention levels and making ourselves a more attractive employer to potential candidates.
- It’s good for business!
Committing to net zero has given CGI the opportunity to drive innovation, increase competitiveness and, to quote Mark Carney, ‘align value with our values’. It is about demonstrating our commitment to how we operate and what we do. From the development of a UK climate advisory practice, to establishing a global network of sustainability leads, our internal commitments are advancing how we collaborate with our clients to deliver sustainable, digital solutions to some of their biggest challenges and stimulate resilient growth.
- It’s the right thing to do
Over and above CGI’s corporate commitments and gains, it’s simply the right thing to do for our people and our planet. More and more we are seeing the devastating effects of climate change across our globe, through wildfires, flooding, other forms of natural disasters and habitat loss. It is time for us to pause, reassess and reset the way we work and live.
I passionately believe that digital technology has an important role to play in enabling us all to live and work more sustainably. From providing us with the information we need to take the right decisions, to simplifying access to the benefits of a move to a greener economy and delivering a just climate transition, I’m certain that the digital sector will play its part. In the words of the COP26 President, Alok Sharma, "We can, and we must, rise to the occasion".