Microsoft Stockholm

How Is Technology Fast Tracking The Global Climate Goals? Case Microsoft

In November 2019 I was contacted by Microsoft EMEA ́s communications team in Finland and Germany. They found my profile on social media, and invited me to participate as a climate change and sustainability influencer at their event “How Technology is Fast Tracking The Global Climate Goals” in Stockholm. The event took place at urban five star Hotel At Six near Microsoft Sweden ́s new headquarters in Stockholm City Center on November 28th. 

In addition to Microsoft hosting the event, influencers, journalists and researchers from around the EMEA region had been invited to participate as well as some of Microsoft ́s global clients and partners that were giving presentations upon their areas of business and expertise, in terms of how these businesses respectively are driving the global climate goals through the application of both artificial intelligence and technology throughout their supply chains.

The moderator and one of the speakers of the event was strategist and analyst Azeem Azhar from Exponential view, who is also a member of the Expert Network and on the Global Future Council on the Digital Economy & Society at the World Economic Forum. The panelists and speakers were Ben Combes, Assistant Director and senior economist in the Sustainability and Climate Change team at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Luc Domissy, Global Sales Manager at SGS/Transparency One, Xavier Houot, Senior Vice President Global Environment, Safety, and Real Estate at Schneider Electric, David Martin, Vice President Government Relations Ecolab Europe and Market Head France and Belgium at Ecolab, Ignacio Longarte from startup Szentia, Cecilia Nord, Director Responsible Sourcing at Electrolux, Johan Martinsson, Digital Operations Lead Global IT at Electrolux, Juha Maijala, Deputy Head Intelligent Packaging at Stora Enso, and Nina Lund, Retail & Consumer Goods lead at Microsoft EMEA. 

What was being discussed at Microsoft ́s event “How Technology Is Fast Tracking The Global Goals”?

The event was fully packed with information, some of which was confidential, so addressing this in depth in one article or blog post is an impossible task. To keep it brief, Microsoft as one of the world ́s largest organizations together with its clients and partners is addressing the world ́s perhaps largest challenge climate change and taking actions with the help of artificial intelligence and technology to solve the global climate crisis.

Although artificial intelligence and technology alone hardly will be capable of solving the global climate crisis, it is estimated that with the help of artificial intelligence and technology, at least five percent could be reduced in terms of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is still far from the much needed reduction of 90% in greenhouse gas emissions. To meet the Paris Agreement, all stakeholders involved would have to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

The main takeaways from the event were: 

  • The largest greenhouse gas impacts are within the supply chain (75% of total emissions), which is why every business worldwide, backed-up by science-based insights, must drive the reduction of emissions (Azeem Azhar, Exponential View)
  • Research by PwC UK, commissioned by Microsoft, has identified more than 150 AI applications for key Earth challenges; meaning that emerging technologies with artificial intelligence at the core, can be transformational in terms of tackling the world ́s most urgent environmental challenges (Ben Combes, PricewaterhouseCoopers)
  • AI can enable future technology and systems to be more productive and help reduce waste in terms of the global economy and environment, thus increasing sustainable economic development
  • The mapping of any business supply chain helps build consumer trust and influences end-customer behavior to prioritize sustainability (Luc Domissy, SGS/Transparency One)
  • Sustainability across supply chains, circular, low CO2 and profitable business models (Xavier Houot, Schneider Electric)
  • Fresh water is a scarce resource, and water sustainability must be at the core of each carbon neutral or carbon negative program. Companies can provide better products at lower costs while saving water (David Martin, Ecolab)
  • How do you mainstream environmental performance in a globalized world where every organization is becoming a technology company? 
  • How can brands be moved into the circular economy through blockchain-based solutions? (Ignacio Longarte, Szentia)
  • Electrolux wants to be the best appliance company worldwide, committing to zero carbon emissions from their facilities and striving towards circularity across the business (Cecilia Nord & Johan Martinsson, Electrolux)
  • Stora Enso is a pioneer in externally approved science-based targets to reduce the company’s greenhouse gas emissions. Fossil-based materials can be replaced by trees (Juha Maijala, Stora Enso)
  • How can circular economy become the “new normal”? 

While many climate change skeptics worldwide are still denying anthropogenic climate change, claiming that climate change is a hoax and that climate change would be used as an excuse for businesses around the world to make money, this is far from the truth. There is plenty of research and scientific evidence supporting the fact that human activities, mainly in the form of emitting high amounts of greenhouse gases into the Earth´s atmosphere, are causing global warming and climate change. Not only is rapid population growth at the core of the environmental problems, but also the way we live and consume on this planet. Making circular economies the “new normal” and businesses around the world taking science-based and carefully planned action in terms of reducing or even eliminating greenhouse gas emissions is no longer merely a competitive advantage for businesses.

Climate action and sustainable economic development have become a must for everyone, that is if we want to enable future generations a healthy planet to live on. Despite the currently even dramatic outlook for the global environment, it is far better to take action now and to prepare for the worst-case scenario rather than remaining in a state of non-action. In fact, non-action in terms of environmental sustainability and sustainable economic development is the worst thinkable solution. Artificial intelligence and various technological advancements may be key solutions for saving humanity. 

Anne-Maria Yritys

 

 

 

 

 

GCC Think Act Tank cover 2019

Why Do We Urgently Need Sustainable Agriculture and Food Production?

According to both the FAO and the IPCC, global food production alone is responsible for a major proportion of greenhouse gas emissions. Not only are millions of hectares of forests being cut down annually in order to create space for more land to be cultivated, much of which is being wasted in many ways: crops are being grown to produce biofuels, or to feed cattle and other domesticated animals which ultimately end up on the human plate when those animals are being slaughtered.

 

Sustainable agriculture signifies that with a rapidly growing world population, we can no longer afford to waste essential natural resources. Moreover, poorly managed soils can take up to a century to recover and impoverished soils lead to impoverished nutritional values in any crop, or any food grown and produced.

 

What alternatives do we have?

 

  1. Using AI (Artificial Intelligence) to improve production methods in agriculture and farming.
  2. Radically reduce food waste, everywhere on this planet. Currently, much of crop/food is being thrown away.
  3. End (or at least reduce) animal farming drastically.
  4. Stop growing crops for the sake of, and stop wasting land, to produce biofuels.
  5. Transform the global agriculture and food sectors into increasingly much plant-based diets for human beings.
  6. Start valuing forests and trees as an essential source of food and nutrition not only for human beings, but also for animals.
  7. Innovate completely new food products, including food grown in laboratories ethically.

A-M. Yritys August 9, 2019

 

 

GCC Think Act Tank cover 2019

What if You Had Only One Minute?

If you had only 1 minute to take action to save the world from the environmental catastrophe that we are heading towards, what would your actions be? What would you be willing to give up on/sacrifice for the cause of saving flora & fauna, and perhaps even human beings?

 

  1. Would you support a sustainable economy based on putting the global ecology before greedy capitalism?

 

  1. Would you reduce or stop flying at all?

 

  1. Would you be willing to stop driving a car, and start using other means of transport (cycling, public transport)?

 

  1. Would you eat less meat? Become a vegetarian? Become a vegan?

 

  1. Would you consume more biological, organic, and fair trade products? And, consume more local and seasonal food products?

 

  1. Would you stop blaming governments, politicians and businesses for being responsible, and be willing to take personal responsibility for your consumption habits?

 

  1. Would you agree that the era of fossil fuels has to be replaced with renewable energy sources as soon as possible, and support renewables by choosing to consume renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuels?

 

What else would you be willing to do?

 

Feel free to comment.

 

Anne-Maria Yritys, August 1st 2019

 

 

Who is Responsible for The Global Climate Crisis?

Who is Responsible for The Global Climate Crisis?

With millions of people around the world marching and striking on behalf of the environment and citizens worldwide demanding increased and more rapid action and political decisions in terms of fighting back against anthropogenic climate change, it is without question a reality of today that people call governments and politicians for taking faster actions to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement. Never before has climate change, the environment, the climate crisis or for instance pollution and greenhouse gases been covered so intensely by various media outlets globally. It is obvious that climate change and the global environmental crisis are among the most discussed topics today.

Who is responsible for the global climate crisis? 

What almost appears as a global panic attack in terms of anxiety caused by the state of the global environment and the human-caused climate disaster, demonstrators across the world aim to put pressure on governments and politicians with a democratic justification to do so.

Don’t be afraid to stand for what you believe in, even if it means standing alone

Instead of blame-shifting and pointing fingers on who is the biggest criminal in terms of environmental destruction and human-caused climate change, we should better start recognizing the root causes that have placed humanity in the position that we are in today, followed by determined and smart actions throughout societies. This is already clear to the world: we know the root problems, and largely what to do about the problem. Around the world, businesses are already taking serious action to combat anthropogenic climate change. Citizens are taking action. Cities are taking action. Governments are taking action. Countries are OBLIGED to take action (see e.g. Paris Agreement).

A few facts concerning human-caused climate change (through emitting greenhouse gases):

  • The global energy sector alone is responsible for 80 % of emissions which is the main reason for the need to transition from fossil fuels to non-nuclear renewables
  • Cities worldwide are responsible for 70 % of all emissions which is why cities worldwide have no other option than to take action if they want to become carbon-neutral
  • Agriculture is both affected by and a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Up to more than 30 % of ALL greenhouse gas emissions are caused either directly or indirectly by agriculture and farming practices.
  • Every human being on this planet contributes to man-made climate change and environmental destruction. Some less, others significantly much more. One major factor that has to be realized is that each and one of us has influence on how much of a burden we are to the environment. As consumers, we can vote through our consuming habits: demand better quality and consider what and how we consume.

Contact me directly for consultations. Anne-Maria Yritys, June 3rd 2019. All rights reserved.

 

Why Should You Have to Protect The Environment

Why Should You Have to Protect The Environment?

Repeat after me:

I do not want to protect the environment. I want us to create a world where the environment needs no protection. Anne-Maria Yritys

Why should you even have to protect the environment? Would it not be much easier to create a world where the environment needs no protection?

How can this be achieved in a world where man leaves a heavy footprint wherever he goes?

In brief: to create an economically more sustainable future for ourselves and for future generations, we must focus upon developing following sectors:

  1. Transition away from polluting and environmentally damaging fossil fuels and sources of energy that involve serious risks for both the environment and overall health => renewable energy sources such as geothermal energy, hydropower, ocean energy, solar energy and wind energy. The global energy sector is the main reason for human-caused climate change and global warming.
  2. Development of cleantech, including the previously mentioned energy sector.
  3. Circular economies, including recycling and drastic reduction of produced waste.
  4. Sustainable agriculture, farming, and fishing practices.
  5. Education => slowing down population growth.
  6. Legislation and taxation that supports sustainable economic development.

Contact me directly for further discussion.

Anne-Maria Yritys May 29th 2019.