Silvia Rigato (Accenture): ‘Technology to drive the path to net zero’

07 March 2023 3 min. read
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The UAE’s ambitious climate action agenda has been at the forefront of regional and global efforts, with technology touted to play a central role in driving the delivery of decarbonization efforts, writes Silvia Rigato from Accenture.

Prioritising technology innovation in response to a rapidly changing world has never been more critical, especially in today’s economic and geopolitical context.

Problems from energy security and inflation to supply chain bottlenecks, talent shortages, and climate change require us to use every tool in our box – especially technology – to solve the world’s most pressing issues.

Silvia Rigato, Sustainability Lead, Accenture

Climate change is one such mega challenge that technology can help tackle. According to Accenture’s latest net zero report, 34% of the 2,000 largest companies have set targets, as compared to 27% from a year ago.

All industries have seen the number of companies setting targets increase over the past year, including the most carbon-intensive sectors, such as chemicals and energy. Moreover, 84% of companies plan to increase investments in their sustainability initiatives before the end of 2022.

Committing to goals

As corporations work to address climate change issues from the private sector, many CEOs have committed to net zero goals – unprecedented in their complexity. They require robust solutions that will help them forecast the impact on their business, help them design sustainable products and value chains, manage their emissions, and support them with early warning systems.

Moreover, bold leadership visions around the GCC for a more future-ready and sustainable tomorrow have promised speed, agility, and change. In the context of the UAE, its ambitious climate action agenda has been at the forefront of regional and global efforts. But, with only a year left to COP28 – the question remains – what else can be done to deliver the most in value?

As a company, Accenture aims to deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity. This means delivering and measuring value for our clients, our people, shareholders, partners, and communities at speed and scale. By helping our partners start their ‘360-degree value creation frameworks’, we ensure all elements of technology adoption sustainably for all stakeholders.

While the metaverse is poised to help leaders build greater resilience to respond to disruptions in the real world and forecast and prepare for climate change scenarios, today’s digital technologies can provide unique and unparalleled solutions with decarbonisation efforts across all industries.

Further reading: WEF taps Accenture and Microsoft to build metaverse for leaders.

Technologies such as cloud, artificial intelligence, blockchain, edge technology and digitaltwins are proven and competitive in reducing significant emissions. For example, migrations to the public cloud can reduce CO2 emissions by 59 million tons annually, equivalent to removing about 22 million cars off the road. Whereas, digital twins can help reduce CO2 emissions by 7.5 gigatonne between now and 2030.

Digital technologies are critical to collecting, integrating and managing organization-wide ESG data, enabling companies to become ‘carbon intelligent’. This means treating their carbon, energy, and other sustainability data as accurate business information to help drive everyday decision-making. Ensuring granular ESG data is integrated with operational and financial data, companies can then identify and prioritize investments that have an immediate and material impact.

On a company level, we believe that sustainability is going to be the next digital, and every business will be a sustainable business. By embracing change internally and embedding responsible business practices in all of our services and across every area of our company – we are also helping our clients become more sustainable.

Silvia Rigato is a Managing Director in Accenture’s Strategy & Consulting division, and Sustainability leader for the Middle East.