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European report reveals state of play in business’ decarbonisation efforts to reach net zero by 2050

European report reveals state of play in business’ decarbonisation efforts to reach net zero by 2050

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Atos has announced results from a European report on decarbonisation, published by independent research company Coleman Parkes Research.

The study, prepared by Atos and Amazon Web Services (AWS), reveals business leaders’ attitudes and actions towards decarbonisation and how they are managing their efforts to reach net zero by 2050 – the target called for in the Paris Agreement in order to keep global warming to no more than 1.5°C.

Key findings show that rising costs and economic uncertainty are among the key obstacles to businesses’ decarbonisation progress and that despite confidence in the success of decarbonisation efforts, there is a clear gap between target setting, accurate internal measurement and external targets.

Coleman Parkes Research surveyed 4,000 business leaders across three sectors, energy and utilities, financial services and manufacturing, in four major European countries, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Target setting vs performance measurement gap

Almost all organisations surveyed (96%) have set emissions reduction targets, however, only half of businesses are measuring their emissions (scopes 1 and 2). This poses the question as to how the remaining half of businesses can effectively understand, track and therefore manage and progress against targets if they are not measuring emissions.

Overcoming fragmented data

One of the key obstacles to carbon reduction plans and efforts mentioned by half of business leaders was fragmented and out-of-date internal data sets and insights. Robust data can be harnessed to provide deeper insights into a business’ environmental impact and to drive cost reduction, streamline operations and manage decarbonisation. In this study over half of businesses cite ‘accurate and reliable data’ as one of the top three elements that they would find most helpful in the implementation of their carbon reduction plans.

The human factor

Barriers to decarbonisation are not only technology-related. Also mentioned by almost half of businesses is the difficulty faced in finding the right professionals with the appropriate skill set, with 55% saying that support from an external specialist consulting would be among the top 3 elements helpful to make better progress on carbon reduction. Another obstacle mentioned is a lack of commitment from the leadership team (39%). This lack of alignment is evident, with less than half of businesses involving the C-level management teams, including CIOs, in the creation of decarbonisation plans.

Lack of technology solutions

Almost a third of businesses said their technology solutions could be improved and 1 in 5 said they lack the appropriate technology to see through their plans. 75% of business leaders admitted that their environmental impact reporting would be improved by an emissions measurement tool.

Technology plays a big role in decarbonisation. The study shows that digitalising and automating sustainability initiatives has a clear positive effect on decarbonisation success – for those companies that have digitalised most or all of their sustainability initiatives, 58% say they feel successful in decarbonisation.

Cloud-enabled technologies, including Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, IoT and data analytics can be used to develop solutions for more efficient, decarbonised operations such as using predictive analysis to prevent machine malfunction, thereby increasing uptime, productivity and reducing energy costs and consumption.

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