Friday, 23 May 2008

OECD focus on opportunities for ICT in reducing CO2 emissions in Copenhagen

For the first time the OECD countries meet for specific discussions on ICT and the environment. Another sign of how ICT and climate is now part of the mainstream agenda.

The agenda was a collection of different perspectives.

Many very interesting presentations and we are moving from a situation where almost all of the attention is on IT’s internal problems to more focus on the opportunities. Still it is interesting to see how difficult it is to move away from IT’s own emissions (2%) to the opportunity ICT have to help reduce emissions the rest of society (98%). People agree that the 98% should be the main focus, but then structures, responsibilities and funding seem to push people back into the 2% corner. It would be interesting if the time/resources spent in conferences like these where allocated so that ICT’s own emissions where given 2% time and the role for ICT to reduce emissions in the rest of society where given 98%. If speakers where to change the allocation of their time they should explain why they did this…

At the event I did a presentation where I presented the result from out report that will be launched next week, the 29th.
Outline for the first global IT strategy for CO2 reductions: A billion tonnes of CO2 reductions and beyond through transformative change”. The presentation was well received and I hope that the report can contribute to concrete projects that start to deliver so we fast achieve the first billion tonne and move further. It will be available on

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Next generation of change makers, or conference tourists?

Attended the the LSU annual global conference, arranged in cooperation with WWF. The theme was Climate Change: Youth Perspectives on Security, Peace and Democracy. I always have mixed feelings at these kinds of events. On the one hand there is so much energy and potential on the other hand there is a risk that many of them will turn into people either working within systems that are part of the problem, or taking on the role as an outsider and never really engaging in the work that is needed to move from dreams to reality.

Maybe we are now in a situation where this will not happen and a new generation will not accept compromises and lack of concrete results. Maybe they will be willing to work in networks that look beyond current structures? I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hope to do what I can. One thing that I really want to see happen is “a change maker’s guide in the 21st century” that can help a new generation to move beyond report writing and seminars…

Monday, 19 May 2008

The new corporate environment: Be Green or Die

Over the last 10 years I have felt increasingly frustrated from time to time as many NGO’s have been afraid to tell the truth in relation to companies. The challenge is not how companies can become greener, it is if they will be green or die (as Business week formulated it). It is not about being “best in class”, it is about delivering services that everyone on the planet can use without destroying the planet. Incremental improvements on products that are inherently unsustainable is often distracting the real discussion about what we need to do and what kind of innovation we need to see.

The Natural Step might be one of the few organizations that have a framework, the system conditions, that allow companies to know where they need to go. I would like to explore how key sectors that is in a position to develop solutions could use a framework to guide their strategy development. So far most tools have focused on how companies can reduce their problems, not provide solutions to others.

IKEA and a 2020 strategy with transparency

Working with IKEA is often very fascinating. Last week about 70 people met (about 10 external and 60 from IKEA) to discuss the future for IKEA over three days. How many companies (or NGOs or governmental agencies for that matter) would allow external stakeholders to participate in their strategy development?

No issues where to challenging to discuss and if the energy can be turned into actions IKEA could become a real sustainability leader looking at delivering transformative change, not just incremental improvements. And maybe most important at all, with a focus on how to make money in the process by looking at the core business of IKEA, i.e. how they can deliver a low carbon living and become a winner in a low carbon economy.

Hopefully we will see words turn into action during 2008

Picture taken 2005 when I visited IKEA in Shanghai

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Commissions aiming in the 98% direction regarding ICT and climate change: Time to celebrate

The “98% window of opportunity” perspective, i.e. don’t focus only on the 2% of the emission that ICT contributes to; focus more on the 98% of the emissions that can be reduced with smart ICT solutions, is now integrated into the Commissions language (read more about the 98% perspective here) . The latest press release was an official confirmation that the commission now is moving in the right direction:

“The Commission will encourage the ICT sector, which at present accounts for 2% of global CO2 emissions, to lead by example the drive towards carbon neutrality. This will be done by reinforcing research, development and deployment of components and systems, complemented by voluntary agreements, for example on green procurement. The real gains from green ICT will come from developing energy efficient ICT solutions that impact the other 98% of global emissions.”

This is great and if it can result in concrete policy changes that would be amazing. One way to ensure that results will be achieved would be to use the roadmap for EU that WWF and ETNO put together in 2005, “Saving the Climate @ the Speed of Light”.

IT will also be important that the commission thinks carefully about "carbon neutral" as this in most cases is a PR tool today, might be a good thing to put a paper together on what a "Carbon Neutral Winner in a low Carbon Economy" would look like for the first meeting

The communication: "Addressing the challenge of energy efficiency through Information and Communication Technologies" can be downloaded here.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Phase two over and time for the joint report with Gartnerg

Did a joint presentation with Simon Mingay at the Gartner Expo in Barcelona this Monday, "Gartner and WWF's 'Green Rating' for Major Vendors". It was the results from the second phase of our joint project to assess IT companies. We now have a quite impressive list of leading IT companies and how they approach environmental issues, with a special focus on climate change. Especially the opportunities they have identified. Some real surprises.

In Barcelona we presented some information that the framework can help with, such as:

who’s mainly talking and who’s done their homework

who’s interested in helping customers with new services in a low carbon economy and who’s standing right where they are

Who’s changing the rules of the game and who is playing it and who’s only watching

the Battle of Giants (e.g Microsoft vs. Google) is it a blind leading a lame, you decide…

Was also happy to see Mike Yorwerth from Tesco there and we discussed briefly to “translate” the framework from the ICT sector so it also could be used in other sectors, such as the retail sector… There are now a number of companies that have shown interest in this and this could be a project for the fall once the report is out.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Q and A:s from China and Bangladesh at Globe Forum

I could not have been put in a better spot, or more difficult. On a panel during Globe Forum I was sitting beside Dipal Barua from Grameen Shakti and had Edward Law from CCTVs Bizchina as a moderator asking questions.

This is a setting that I hope we will see more of in different settings. Having world leading people from emerging economies like Dipal, makes it clear that a lot of initiatives in OECD that are called “green” are nothing more than marginal end-of-pipe solutions without any global relevance. The “Grameen approach”, both in finance and for energy solutions, is really amazing and I hope to explore ways we can collaborate to expand this in China and India.

Then with questions and reflections for China helps to put things in perspective and avoid the usual marginal thinking that usually dominates events in OECD.

Congratulation to the organizers at Globe Forum for this session, this challenge I want to get over and over again. I also hope that the politicians and business leaders will be in similar situations often enough for them to integrate concern for the emerging economies and have a global perspective in everything they do.

The next generation of conferences - inspired by Globe Forum

Participated in parts of Globe Forum 2008 with the theme: "Business Innovation for Sustainable Growth", Wednesday and Thursday. Like most conferences with a focus on global challenges there were quite a few people there with good ideas. The question I have if we will see a new generation of gatherings where people identify opportunities and challenges already before the conferences, pledge to work on certain areas before. Use the conference to explore synergies and revise the pledges. The conference would then become a launching platform for real action.

This would obviously require conferences to always have follow-up meetings where the results are presented, new pledges are made if necessary, etc. Instead of a single event, that is a break from the everyday life, this could create a process where processes are created that help people to deliver results they never could deliver on their own.

Will look for an opportunity to try to implement this.

Friday, 9 May 2008

The world is changing - or is it our perspective

What country is the most "green"? One of the more interesting was just published by National Geographic. The way the study was structured might make it an indicator of the world of tomorrow.

From the webpage "Greendex":

"Unlike other measures that rank countries according to the environmental performance of their governments, companies and other factors, the Greendex is the first to rank the performance of individual consumers, rather than countries as a whole.

Consumption as measured by the Greendex is determined both by the choices consumers actively make—such as repairing rather than replacing items, using cold water to wash laundry, choosing green products rather than environmentally unfriendly ones—and choices that are controlled more by their circumstances, such as the climate they live in or the availability of green products or public transport. The initiative considered both these factors, with 60 percent of the 65-variable index based on choice or discretionary behavior."

The ranking

1. Brazil and India
2. China
3. Mexico
4. Hungary
5. Russia
6. United Kingdom
7. Australia and Germany
8. Spain
9. Japan
10. France
11. Canada
12. United States