Can the world unite to avert the worst effects of climate change?
That’s the central question being posed – and, hopefully, answered affirmatively – at the United Nations 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow over the next two weeks. Many are calling it the last chance for governments and businesses across the world to join together and take dramatic, tangible and immediate steps to counter the effects of climate change.
I agree that we must, as business leaders, act quickly. Only by joining together to transition to low-carbon business models will enterprises be able to compete and succeed in the 21st century. And, even more importantly, positive climate action is undoubtedly the pathway to societal improvements, including job creation, economic growth, improved public health and advanced innovation.
That belief is why I joined a number of other CEOs of global businesses in signing a letter, organized by the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders of the World Economic Forum, calling for business and government leaders to make meaningful commitments to reduce emissions. We are signing our support to reduce carbon emissions by one gigaton annually by 2030, achieve net zero by 2050, and to ensure developed countries meet and exceed their commitment to support developing countries in their carbon reduction efforts.
Here in the United States, we appreciate the efforts of the Administration and Congress to pass legislation that will allow our country to invest in clean energy and meaningfully combat climate change. The climate provisions of the Build Back Better Act and bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will set the United States on a course to meet its clean energy ambitions and take the climate action needed to improve people's lives and protect the future of our planet. HPE strongly supports these climate initiatives.
As a global IT services company, HPE has more than 60,000 employees, hundreds of offices and manufacturing facilities, and thus we have a longstanding commitment to meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. To that end, we were the first IT company to set science-based targets across our value chain aligned to the goals of the Paris climate accord – including a pledge that 80% of our production suppliers will set science-based climate targets by 2025; and that our entire value chain will be carbon net zero by 2050.
But we also have the responsibility, and the privilege, to help our thousands of customers make similar strides and commitments to sustainability through our vast array of products and services. As companies and governments commit to net zero, the difficulty of actually decarbonizing an enterprise is coming into focus. I believe that we need to undergo a complete market transformation, which will be propelled by technology. Net Zero ambitions won’t be reached without concerted attention to digital strategies.
As we outline in our annual Living Progress sustainability report, the HPE innovation engine is creating sustainable IT solutions that empower our customers to transform their entire business models and capital allocation in response to climate change. For example, HPE GreenLake Management Services offers our entire portfolio as a service and remotely monitors, operates, and optimizes customers’ infrastructure and apps in order to significantly improve provisioning and utilization – reducing the energy required to manage their enterprises and unlock the value of their data.
As Forrester has outlined in a recent research report, HPE’s GreenLake as-a-service, edge-to-cloud IT delivery offerings can enable enterprises to reduce their energy costs by more than 30%, and have helped companies reduce their carbon footprint by as much as 50%.
Another of our initiatives is our focus on IT Asset Lifecycle solutions, which enable customers to extend the life of retired IT equipment and to re-manufacture and reuse components for a second life. While in Glasgow for COP26, we will host an event with the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), an HPE customer, which is making use of one of our upcycling programs to help achieve their zero-landfill targets, and ensure they are circular with the use of their IT and technologies.
Technology’s greatest promise lies in the good we can do and the challenges we can overcome, together. My hope is that at COP26, nations and industries will fully unite in our commitment to prudently, comprehensively and expediently deal with climate change. Our people, and our planet, deserve it.