BY LEANNE KEMP // CEO & Founder
Everledger CEO Leanne Kemp hails the recent progress in the fight against climate change — although much more needs done to #RestoreOurEarth. The growth of tech-for-good and provenance transparency will prove critical.
This year’s Earth Day will bring together world leaders and millions of supporters from across the globe under the banner #RestoreOurEarth. It’s a sobering thought that the first Earth Day was more than 50 years ago. Many of the same good intentions from 1970 will be revisited by politicians and chief executives this weekend, with broad commitments made towards meeting zero carbon targets over the next 20 years.
For climate change activists, including younger people inspired by the dedication of Greta Thunberg and others, these promises will fall short of the action and results they are desperate to see. But while it’s tempting to blame governments and big business for kicking the can down the road, there are reasons for optimism too. Decisions are being made today that would have been shelved even three years ago. Why? For three good reasons.
Firstly, the penny has dropped for businesses. This is partly self-interest: companies and their shareholders have seen the reputational damage of greenwash labelling, and are taking action to ensure the finger of blame isn’t pointed at their logo.
To their credit, many businesses are seeking out more rigorous scrutiny and demanding higher levels of due diligence among partners and down the supply chain. Organisations like the Science Based Targets initiative and the Carbon Disclosure Project are meeting this growing proactivity for carbon management and transparency. There are clear incentives too, with a proven connection between ESG investment and future financial performance. Increasingly, it pays to go green.
Secondly, governments are taking notice. In the US, President Biden’s Earth Day climate summit may not hit all the high notes that the climate lobby hopes to hear. But the tune has changed from the previous administration, not least with the return to the Paris Agreement. In the UK, the government has just announced new commitments to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035, which will require large-scale infrastructure and also behavioural changes across society. Yes, these far-off targets are easier to set than achieve, however there is clear intent to position the UK as a leader in green technology.
The European Union (EU) has also weighed in with stringent regulations to enforce more sustainable practices among businesses and citizens. For example, the EU Taxonomy is designed to catalyse green investments by providing transparency to companies and institutional investors, including whether there is substantial contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation based on a series of technical screening criteria.
Meanwhile, the EU Battery Directive’s key components include carbon footprint rules, minimum recycled content, and battery labelling guidelines. These EU regulations advance the greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting requirements that exist across the US, UK, South Korea, Japan, and Australia, which require annual reporting, verification, target setting, and offset guidelines. Fortunately, all elements that we facilitate for our partners using the Everledger Platform.
Finally, technology and engineering are increasingly rising to the challenge of climate change — as they must, if humankind is to find a solution to the problem we have created. The theme for this year’s Earth Day focuses on natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking that can restore the world’s ecosystems. From more-affordable renewable energy and the vast potential of the battery revolution to improvements in energy-efficiency, nanotechnology and food production, the frontline against global warming is gathering force.
The emergence of the tech-for-good sector is also encouraging, with thousands of start-ups and environmental entrepreneurs around the world developing solutions that will help to reduce GHG emissions. As a global community, we need to be intentional about the use of tech in tackling the world’s pressing social and environmental challenges by providing green-minded businesses with the tools and services they need. Advanced technologies such as blockchain, IoT and AI are showing their value in gathering, sharing and analysing the data that will prove critical in fighting climate change.
Platform for change
Everledger is an independent tech-for-good company that helps businesses surface and converge asset information. Our purpose is to contribute greater clarity and confidence in the marketplaces where transparency is a strategic imperative. This transparency can shed a light on the sustainable processes across the entire supply chain of our partners. This week, we have progressed our blockchain-powered platform to make it easier for partners to evidence their environmental and socially-responsible credentials in line with regulatory requirements and growing customer demand.
The Everledger Platform demonstrates the capture of data on energy use and GHG emissions across the extraction, processing and transportation of materials. Incorporating blockchain technology as the backbone of measurement and reporting can ensure the robustness and credibility of sustainability claims across complex international supply chains.
Our partners in industries such as diamonds, gemstones, automotive, electronics, retail, and luxury goods can now benefit from a number of features and applications that are designed to help them demonstrate their commitment to environmental regeneration. The features launched include sustainability badges, real-time reporting, efficient data capture, interoperability with API connections, and plug-ins to feed and receive data into the blockchain environment.
The platform offers independent validation of claims around energy efficiency and GHG reductions, renewable energy sourcing, green job metrics, water efficiency, worker and human rights protections and legal sourcing criteria, such as anti-corruption, thus facilitating corporate compliance to legislation across multiple jurisdictions — and consumers’ expectations for more sustainable products.
Accessible and defendable data is invaluable for driving down carbon emissions and the greenhouse gases that cause climate change, making accountable use of finite natural resources a reality. Our platform grants our partners more visibility and control to establish responsible and ethical sourcing throughout their supply chain, in line with mounting regulation and consumer pressure.
And we at Everledger are doing our homework too! We have joined the SME Climate Hub and committed to a 2030 Carbon Neutral pledge and the “Race to Zero” campaign, as well as Clean Cloud Energy and Responsible Travel. We continue to work with cloud energy providers towards this goal.
After a year of being overshadowed by COVID-19, the conversation around climate change will be reignited at Earth Day. That has to be a good thing. Let’s not pretend that the world is doing enough to slow down, let alone stop the warming effect. However, hope that change can happen quickly and the fact that politicians and big businesses will be competing to make their voices heard this week — rather than putting up the shutters — owes plenty to the power of a collective world consciousness which has been evolving, and accelerating in recent years. Perhaps when Greta Thunberg started her ‘Skolstrejk för klimatet’ she took us all back to the classroom reminding us that as far as we have come, we are still students learning how to care for the planet.