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Scaling profitable sustainability to meet customer decarbonization needs by Schneider Electric

Sorouch Kheradmand

Maximizing sustainability and business opportunities may seem challenging due to science and business’s seemingly different approaches and goals. While this topic requires expertise, we must broaden environmental, social, and governance (ESG) responsibility to include business owners and decision-makers.

In the incoming “Net-Zero world,” businesses face challenges of increasing regulation, soaring energy and utility prices, new supply chain expectations, and sustainability commitments. The question for them now is how to address these challenges while continuing growth and profitability.

As Deloitte notes, investors and even large customers ask for “more specifics about how companies plan to move from strategy to execution.” To provide what’s now expected, today’s organizations need:

  • A solid decarbonization strategy

  • Innovative digital tools to measure, track progress, and make data-driven decisions

  • Expertise in accelerating the implementation of their decarbonization initiatives

We collectively need to acknowledge that no one company has all the solutions. A recent Forbes article observes, “Lack of alignment, necessary skills and knowledge, and even adequate KPIs can all disrupt global sustainability efforts. But as in so many other aspects of doing business, innovative partnerships can make a significant difference in driving global sustainability.”

We at Schneider Electric strongly agree that partnerships are instrumental in helping organizations of any size or industry decarbonize their operations and customers effectively.

Four ways collaboration and partnerships help tackle decarbonization

There are four reasons why partnerships and value chain collaboration are key for businesses to achieve their sustainability goals profitably, each with its challenges:

1. We are all someone else’s Scope 3 emissions. Full decarbonization requires tackling these emissions, meaning businesses must work collaboratively and transparently with their value chain.

2. Customers will increasingly require expert vendors to address their current business and sustainability plan needs. We see this as a strongly increasing market demand with its own opportunities.

3. Greater regulatory compliance and increasing carbon prices will eventually force partners and customers to prioritize sustainability to maintain their operating license and profitability.

4. No company can build it all on its own. We must invest in tools that make up and build the expertise while supporting data-driven decisions, focusing on the most implementable solutions first.

These trends will shape the future of business, emphasizing accountability for company actions and the ability to answer the following questions concretely:

  • What is the carbon footprint of my business?

  • Do I have a plan to reduce it?

  • How is that plan progressing?

Our commitment to supporting partners to take the decarbonization journey

Schneider Electric relies on its partner ecosystem to help design, build, install, and commission our solutions for end customers. Our partners have access to best-in-class, innovative solution architectures to contribute to designing and maintaining net-zero buildings, data centers, and infrastructures across markets and industries.

We actively support and educate our partners on sustainability initiatives by developing specific programs and digital tools. This includes award-winning programs like mySchneider and EcoXpert, helping them reach their full potential and grow their businesses by providing:

  • Tailored training and resources

  • Expert support

  • Professional networks

Going beyond to build sustainability expertise at scale

Our Partnering for Sustainability program empowers partners to start and grow their businesses while jumpstarting their sustainability journey by providing:

  • Fundamental knowledge to build and execute a sustainability strategy.

  • Digital tools to assess and address the state of their operations and those of their customers.

  • Technology and processes to accelerate decarbonization efforts while increasing business opportunities.

We aim to help everyone understand the potential and benefits of creating more sustainable and resilient operations with tangible and actionable action items. This process is based on our decades-long experience advising companies on their sustainability journey and implementing our methodology at scale. This methodology is based on three basic steps:

1. Strategize

To start a new initiative, you must understand the why and the how. Sustainability may seem complex (which it is), but there are ways to demystify it by focusing on the low-hanging fruits and turning it into a business opportunity.

We encourage our partners to take full advantage of this opportunity by bridging any knowledge or skills gap with our Sustainability School.

The school provides partners access to training and technical assets to take action independently and their customers’ environmental footprint. It helps expand their market reach by offering customer solutions including sustainability, digitization, and decarbonization.

This new expertise transforms sustainability into a differentiating business advantage to elevate their brand while achieving their goals.

With access to digital tools, they can map their carbon footprint and build a profitable plan with clear levers for decarbonization, resource-saving, and an understanding of the investment and benefits of each project they take.

2. Digitize

To create the foundation for a decarbonization journey, our partners and customers must:

  • Establish their current carbon footprint

  • Develop a plan to reduce it

  • Measure their progress

Each step requires time and to help ensure quality for their efficiency and relevance. Zeigo is a sustainability software ecosystem built to simplify climate action. It features our new software-as-a-service (SaaS) application – Zeigo Activate – to help enterprises move swiftly from decarbonization aspiration to a tangible action plan.

With Zeigo Activate, partners and their customers can use a roadmap wizard for planning and dashboards to track their decarbonization task list, monthly and yearly emissions, and carbon equivalents by site. Users can even customize targets and validate cost savings for each project.

3. Decarbonize

Having the ambition and action plan opens the next phase of the decarbonization strategy: execution and progress tracking.

For that purpose, Zeigo can reduce the gap between customer project requirements and available expertise, including some of our partners. In just a few clicks, the Zeigo Activate Marketplace aims to offer a seamless forum to find the expertise to achieve the defined roadmap.

Making sustainability at scale, with and for our partner ecosystem

We believe that we can enable and accelerate the needed change by bringing the knowledge, tools, and incentives to the market and our ecosystem or suppliers, partners & customers. Our partners are at the forefront of this transformation, and we are committed to helping them seize the opportunities at hand.

For our partners, this decarbonization initiative creates two distinct opportunities:

1. Contributing industry decarbonization at scale through targeted and new projects: The Zeigo Activate Marketplace helps to expand their business and market visibility. Any partner working on detected technologies can join the marketplace free of charge.

2. Partners become trendsetters by decarbonizing their own operations: With the required expertise available through Zeigo Activate and its marketplace, our partners who walk the talk will be incentivized to continue their decarbonization journey and given the global recognition they deserve.

Partnerships and effective collaboration are essential for achieving sustainability ambitions and helping maximize decarbonization impacts as businesses grow.

In 2022, we launched the Schneider Electric Sustainability Impact Awards to recognize the positive sustainability-focused impacts achieved by partners, end customers, and suppliers. These awards highlight the outstanding successes and innovations in decarbonizing operations and supporting net-zero goals. Visit our Sustainability Impact Award portal to learn more.

Listen to our next “Partnering for Sustainability” podcast, where ” Rohan Kelkar, Sylvain Frode de la Foret, and Angela Salmeron of IDC spotlight the significance of collaboration and partnerships in confronting decarbonization complexities.

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