Carol Koech, Country President, Schneider Electric East Africa
The pressures of climate change have exponentially risen. Many energy companies are tackling step-change approaches to their business model with agility and digitization. What is becoming clear is that what’s good for the environment, is also good for business. No one should have to choose between sustainability and profitability. They are two sides of the same coin. Without diminishing the impact of COVID in the least—many of our customers are affected by three mega-trends: sustainability; the changing industrial workforce; and a move toward open, standards- based automation technology.
Sustainability isn’t just about pursuing a social good or protecting a brand. Nor should it be a drag on financial performance. In fact, a good sustainability strategy enables better financial performance. That’s because it forces an organization to be resilient, agile and innovative, which is the legacy of our Schneider Electric EcoStruxure™ offers for heavy process industries.
Industry’s role in sustainable practices and a sustainable future With the world’s population expected to crest 9 billion within 20 years, the demand for energy is continually increasing, and it is having a tremendous consequence on our global climate. To combat that, as an industry and society at large, we need to become carbon neutral within that same time span
via a massive shift toward green and renewable energy.
For example, today electricity is only 20% of the energy we consume, but in the next 20 years, electricity will become at least 40% of consumable energy, and it will be profoundly more renewable. This progression will have far-reaching effects on the global supply chain and therefore on our customers’ operations and business models. With everyone rightly more concerned about the environment, conversations around sustainability have fundamentally changed. People more frequently consider sustainability and other social responsibility factors when making buying decisions. There are all kinds of studies out there, including one from the World Wide Fund for Nature, which states that the sustainable product market is growing fast, and it
crosses every sector from manufacturing to finance and even personal banking. This whole new perspective is driving pressure into industrial markets. Manufacturers need to consider how they can change their operations to get in front of these buyers and their ethics-based buying decisions.
This is especially true in the energy and oil & gas industries, where, in response to growing concerns over climate change, utilities are rapidly transitioning away from coal and many oil majors are accelerating spending on and diversifying into renewable and low-carbon energy. In fact, in a study from a couple years ago, The International Energy Agency forecasted the world’s total renewable-based power capacity to increase 50% between 2019 and 2024. Further, the ability to respond to changing market dynamics is directly related to your ability to make yourself more agile, more resilient and more efficient through a strong digital strategy.
And digitize we must. We’re using almost two times the amount of natural resources than the earth can regenerate in a given year, and at this point, we absolutely have to reduce carbon emissions. That is why Schneider Electric is always looking for better ways to help our customers reimagine and improve sustainability. One part of our vision is to deliver digital solutions and strategies for sustainability that consider resiliency, energy efficiency and process efficiency together. Our customers can already use Schneider Electric EcoStruxure offers to push forward their sustainability and digital strategies. For example, our process automation technology solutions already help our customers control their most critical operating variables: safety, efficiency, reliability and so forth, all of which are instrumental to achieving sustainability targets and to driving shareholder value.
But when the environmental impact of these offers is combined with the strength of Schneider Electric’s entire EcoStruxure portfolio and AVEVA software, our customers can really begin to pursue net-zero via better process and energy efficiency, without sacrificing profitable performance. At the end of the day, Schneider Electric connects people to sustainability and other ethics-based outcomes, while helping them meet their bottom lines. It’s what we call responsible profitability. It’s not
just about saving the environment: the reality is that you can create a sustainable future that is socially conscious and profitable all at the same time.