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Deloitte announces senior partner appointments

Deloitte has announced the appointment of two senior partners, Hannah Routh and Charlotte Warburton, to strengthen the firm’s global climate change and transport services. Hannah Routh brings 25 years’ experience in the climate change and sustainability sector. Previously a partner with Deloitte China, Hannah was responsible for the Climate Change and Sustainability Advisory practice for Deloitte Asia Pacific. In her new role with Deloitte UK she will be responsible for building the existing team to deliver climate change, decarbonisation and net zero projects for private and public sector clients.

Hannah said: “We see the 2020s as the climate change decade and in response we are expanding the services we provide to organisations in order to support them on their net zero journey. We are committed to doing high quality and rigorous work that makes a positive impact. After 13 years living and working in China, I’m pleased to have come back to the UK at such a pivotal time. As the UK government prepares to host COP26 in November 2021, now is the time for organisations to look urgently at how climate change commitments can be met and the transformation that needs to take place.”

Charlotte Warburton joins Deloitte’s public sector practice as the consulting transport leader, following five years at PA Consulting Group advising global transport, travel and logistics companies, as well as leading their Rail group. She has previously worked on a number of large scale innovation programmes, both in the UK and in the Middle East. A transport and technology specialist, Charlotte will be responsible for growing the firm’s transport consulting practice across the UK and Europe, with a special emphasis on the building the firm’s offering in the North of England. Through national transformation Charlotte will focus on helping companies to achieve their net zero climate targets.

Charlotte commented: “I am looking forward to helping organisations use technology to make better business decisions and to achieve their net zero goals through digital solutions. Being from the North myself, a key objective will be to transform transport infrastructure in the regions as we continue to support the UK’s levelling up agenda.”

Baker McKenzie names Alyssa Auberger as Chief Sustainability Officer

Leading global law firm Baker McKenzie has named Paris-based Partner Alyssa Auberger as its first Chief Sustainability Officer. Alyssa will be responsible for leading the Firm’s global Sustainability strategy which is core to the Firm’s overall priorities for the next decade.

After beginning her legal career in-house in the United States, Alyssa joined Baker McKenzie in Paris in 1998 and from 2016 until this appointment, was Global Chair of its Consumer Goods & Retail Industry Group. In this role, she worked closely with a number of global bodies, including the United Nations Global Compact, to heighten awareness of the importance of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risks and opportunities for the consumer goods and retail industry. She has worked with the Firm’s leading practices to develop solutions for clients on supply chain transparency and claims, product lifecycle issues, and human rights and emissions reporting, in order to help them understand their impact and responsibilities across entire value chains.

Franco-American and as a partner specialised in multijurisdictional M&A and Private Equity transactions and based in Baker McKenzie’s Paris office, Alyssa has extensive experience regularly advising American and French corporations, multinationals, and private equity investment funds on their acquisitions and divestitures worldwide as well as in their international expansion efforts.

Baker McKenzie has strong relationships with leading sustainability-focused forums, including the World Economic Forum and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, of which it was the first law firm member. In 2017, the Firm collaborated with the World Economic Forum to launch the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco, which brings together leading policy makers, businesses, start-ups, academia and international organisations to collaborate for the greater good by maximising the benefits of science and technology.

The Firm became a participant of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) in 2015 and remains committed to upholding the Ten Principles on human and labour rights, the environment and anti‐corruption. Since then, it has adopted eight of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Gender Equality, Climate Action, and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

Recently Global Chair Milton Cheng joined more than 1,200 Chief Executive Officers from companies in over 100 countries to demonstrate the Firm’s support for the United Nations and inclusive multilateralism by signing onto a powerful Statement from Business Leaders for Renewed Global Cooperation. To mark the 75th Anniversary of the UN, the statement was released by the UNGC Action Platform for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions (SDG 16), of which Baker McKenzie is a proud co-patron. The Firm also recently announced commitments to significantly reduce its global carbon emissions over the next decade and achieve aspirational global gender diversity targets, set at 40:40:20 per cent, to represent 40% women, 40% men and 20% flexible (women, men or non-binary persons).

Alyssa said, “I am delighted to be taking on this new role and leading Baker McKenzie’s Sustainability efforts. Our clients are at differing stages of their sustainability journeys and we want to do all we can to help them achieve their ESG goals given our own depth of experience. More than 20 years ago, we established the first Climate Change practice within a major law firm, and we now offer a number of ESG Advisory services, including Sustainable Finance, Corporate Governance, Renewable Energy, Human Rights and Modern Slavery, Sustainable Real Estate and Responsible Product Sourcing.”

As well as announcing Alyssa’s appointment, Baker McKenzie reaffirmed its commitment to placing Sustainability at the core of its strategy for the coming decade, facilitating active engagement with like-minded businesses, governments, international organisations and civil society, in order to achieve shared goals for a more sustainable world.

Milton Cheng, Global Chair of Baker McKenzie said, “Collaborating with our clients to find solutions to their complex problems has always been at the core of what our Firm does. We strive to provide holistic business advice to our clients, helping them navigate their sustainability risks, as well as identify the opportunities that come with being a responsible business.”

Milton adds: “As a passionate lawyer, partner and leader within Baker McKenzie for over 20 years, Alyssa understands our Firm, our practices and our clients and I have no doubt that this knowledge will be an asset to her as she leads our Firm wide efforts with the same passion and commitment she has always shown.”

DLA Piper commits to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

DLA Piper International has committed to set science-based targets to reduce emissions across its entire value chain through the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi), a coalition established in 2015 which enables companies to set emission reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement.

The initiative champions science-based target setting as a powerful way of boosting companies’ competitive advantage in the transition to the low-carbon economy. It is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations (UN) Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The SBTi is the lead partner of the Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign – an urgent call to action from a global coalition of UN agencies, business and industry leaders, calling on companies to set science-based targets that align with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

DLA Piper’s International Co-Head for Sustainability and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), Natasha Luther-Jones, said: “Climate change is a serious and pressing issue, and we all have our part to play in supporting a more responsible approach to greenhouse gas emissions. Being part of the Business Ambition for 1.5 degree campaign and setting verifiable science-based targets allows us to step up our ambition to tackle the climate crisis as we make adjustments over the coming months and years to deliver against our targets.”

International Co-Head for Sustainability and ESG, Jean-Pierre (JP) Douglas-Henry, added: “We all have our part to play in transitioning towards a more sustainable future and signing up to Science Based Targets is just the first of many steps we’ll be taking over the next year.”

Jacqueline King, Chief Operating Officer, added: “Reducing the impact our business has on the environment is an important part of our sustainability journey. Over the coming months, and led by our International Energy and Climate Committee, we will develop the strategy and plans across all our operations and value chain to deliver the target for verification by SBTi as we play our part to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. This is just the first, but important, step towards increasing and intensifying our focus on the impact we have on the communities in which we operate and we look forward to announcing more advances in the near future.”

UK Climate Finance Results

UK International Climate Finance (ICF) is a portfolio of investments with a goal to support international poverty eradication now and in the future by helping developing countries manage risk and build resilience to the impacts of climate change, take up low-carbon development at scale and manage natural resources sustainably. Through annual publications we set out results from these investments against a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

The ICF Key Performance Indicator (KPIs) methodology notes are used to guide programme teams, delivery partners and analysts managing ICF programming in their data collection for ICF results. The breadth of programming necessitates not having a prescriptive approach. Programmes are asked to report achieved and forecast results annually against relevant KPIs.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-climate-finance-results

Seven things you need to know about the future of energy

The energy industry of old just doesn’t cut it anymore, and time is running out to switch to cleaner and smarter ways of providing power before it’s too late. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned in its report released in early October, based on current emissions levels the world will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius degrees of warming, compared to pre-industrial, temperatures, by 2030.

So what can be done? At WIRED Smarter some of the smartest minds in the energy world came together to explore what the future of the energy industry might look like. Here’s the best of what we learned from a packed speaker line-up that included Bulb CEO Hayden Wood, Verv COO Maria McKavanagh and DeepMind’s Sims Witherspoon.

1. Little pushes can add up to big changes in customer behaviour

“What we find is that by having a relationship with customers we can change their behaviour,” says Hayden Wood, CEO of clean energy supplier Bulb. His customers who received annual energy reports ended up reducing their energy usage by two per cent, compared to those who didn’t receive the reports.

That might not sound like much, but it is estimated that if everyone in the UK made the same change that’d save customers £560 million a year, and stop 36m tonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere, Wood says.

2. Cutting down CO2 emissions isn’t enough – we have to remove them too

“We will need to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere,” if we’re to stop the most extreme impacts of climate change says Jan Wurzbacher, founder and director of Climeworks, a start-up that builds infrastructure to capture carbon from the atmosphere and lock it deep underground.

Last year in Zurich, Climeworks plants removed 900 tonnes of CO2 that was used to supply greenhouses. But his goal is to eliminate eight billion tonnes from the atmosphere, and to do that he needs policymakers to wake up to the potential benefits of carbon capture. “Changes in policy are much easier if we show there are solutions and we’re not 100 years away,” Wurzbacher says.

3. AI isn’t a fix-all cure, but it is a powerful tool for energy efficiency

“Artificial intelligence is not magic sparkle dust,” says Sims Witherspoon, applied artificial intelligence program manager at DeepMind. But if you’re smart about how you use it, AI could have a huge impact on how we heat and cool our buildings.

“AI can show us creativity but it also has the ability to show us new knowledge,” she says. By using AI to analyse energy use in Google’s data centres, the firm was able to save 30 per cent on energy by switching to an AI system that optimised the cooling system in real-time. And there’s potentially no limit to the gains that these kinds of systems can squeeze out, Witherspoon says. “Rules and heuristics don’t get better – AI does.”

4. Smarter energy forecasts could cut down on the amount of energy used

“Today’s energy system is broken, it has failed to innovate at the same rate as other industries and as a result it is in a race to zero profits,” says Maria McKavanagh, COO at Verv, a company that builds intelligent home hubs that track a home’s energy usage. But by accurately predicting the amount of energy a home will use, she says it could allow people to trade energy with their neighbours.

“We can forecast more accurately than anyone else what the energy consumption of that house is going to be in the next five minutes, hours, or even few months,” McKavanagh says. Verv’s monitoring system samples energy usage millions of times every second and then uses that data to predict future energy usage.

And if energy providers got their hands on this data, they could use it to target energy supply to the right areas at the right times, cutting down on wasted energy product. “If the national grid could forecast with extreme accuracy the energy requirements of every home, we would be able to service that demand,” she says.

5. Energy users might be the people that end up driving change

“Consumers are actually far more forward-thinking than government can sometimes be,” says Juliet Davenport, CEO of renewable energy firm Good Energy. “We’re going to have to make it easier if we’re going to get massive uptake of renewables.”

This means making it easier for people to switch to renewable providers and giving people more options – such as letting them buy excess renewable energy from neighbours over a peer-to-peer marketplace. And at the heart of this all is making products that people want to use, Davenport says. “We have to put ourselves in people’s shoes when we’re designing for people, whether that’s a potato peeler or an energy app.”

6. It’s time to stop thinking about energy supply and start thinking about demand

Deptford power station – then the world’s largest energy facility – first rumbled into action on the south bank of the River Thames in 1891. Since then, the logistics of energy distribution have changed fairly little, says Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO of the energy firm OVO energy.

“You build a large power station, you have a very long wire and you put customers at the end of is,” Fitzpatrick says, and the only way of meeting demand is raising the output of those vast power stations. But it’s time for that to change. Fitzpatrick says we should be connecting our energy supplies to the internet, so we can better predict and manage demand, flipping the previous way of distributing energy on its head. “We need to control the demand to meet the supply,” he says.

[h2]Smart homes might not be as clever as we might think/h2]

It’s all very well having connected smart devices that monitor our energy usage, let us set alarms through voice control and adjust the thermostat, but is this technology really as futuristic as it seems? Designer and author Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino isn’t so sure.

“The home is not a system,” Deschamps-Sonsino says – and we should be wary about devices that reduce our living spaces to slickly-oiled, impersonal machines. Why? Well, the impact of smart devices might stretch far beyond our homes and impact how we use public spaces. “Space dictates what people will and won’t do, how much time they’ll spend in places and how they’ll use the rest of the city as well,” she says.

7. It’s time for the green battery revolution

About two-thirds of all of the energy that’s produced in the world ends up being wasted, says Martin Anderlind, chief business development officer at battery firm Northvolt. The problem? There aren’t enough storage options to keep that energy around until its needed.

“We need to be able to store energy in time, not just be able to move it around geographically,” Anderlind says. And this means investing big in battery production. In 2021, Northvolt is planning on opening a 370 megawatt factory in Vasteras, Sweden, that should be able to produce 200 batteries a month.

How businesses can make smarter energy decisions

Ever since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change were established, the UK has been on a journey – a journey to become a low-carbon nation. The recent announcement of the Streamlined Energy Carbon Reporting scheme (SECR), designed to help businesses as they become more energy conscious, is just the latest stage in this transition.

The SECR is a proposed new reporting scheme from the Government. It is set to replace the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), which is due to end in 2019. It aims to use energy efficiency as a mechanism to help increase business productivity. And it will also improve the security of energy supplies, as the goal is to reduce current use by at least 20 per cent before 2030.

So who will this affect and what will it involve?

SECR is aimed at companies with at least 250 employees or an annual turnover greater than £36m, as well as an annual balance sheet greater than £18m. The number of companies reporting into the SECR will include those in the Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme (ESOS), taking the number of businesses involved from 1,200 to 11,900.

If you fall into this category then you’ll be automatically entered into the scheme and your energy use, carbon emissions and energy efficiency actions will be made publicly available, with a suitable intensity metric for reference.

What does this mean for these businesses?

For those who aren’t already on their energy efficiency journey, SECR will likely mean additional administrative costs. But if 20 per cent improvements in energy efficiency can be achieved, that can have its own financial advantages.

So what can businesses do?

An energy management system that encompasses people, process and technology will make reporting for regulatory purposes a much smoother process. But companies should go back to the basics of energy management and analyse their operations to understand the meaningful and sustainable changes they can make.

Here are our six steps to help:

Step 1 – Get everyone involved

Start everyone from across your business talking about energy. Make sure to get buy-in on any new initiatives from your senior management. After all, without their commitment, energy management may falter and can be marginalised.

Step 2 – Write an effective energy policy articulating your organisation’s commitment

This should: set an objective, define targets, develop an action plan, establish accountability, ensure continuous improvement and ensure compliance.

Step 3 – Assess your energy performance

As they say, “to measure is to manage”. Understand your past and present energy performance in order to establish benchmarks and begin understanding your energy use patterns and trends. SECR will be a good starting point.

Step 4 – Conduct energy audits

This will help you identify areas of energy savings within your organisation, whether this be by engaging staff, streamlining processes or installing energy efficient technology. Perhaps all three. So dust off that ESOS report or energy survey or perhaps take a fresh look and audit all aspects that affect energy performance: people, process and technology.

Step 5 – Prioritise

Make sure to prioritise your projects and get them done.

Step 6 – Monitor the benefits

Keep an eye on the results of your projects and communicate these to your senior management. It might make justifying capital expenditure easier in future if your energy projects have a proven record of delivering savings. So, sit back, relax and reap the rewards…but don’t get complacent, always strive to improve.

Ultimately, the best thing businesses can do is to get on board the energy efficiency band wagon as soon as possible.

Energy efficiency is beneficial to all businesses, including SMEs, as it removes unnecessary costs from your business. By understanding where your starting point is, you are already on your first steps to helping the UK’s clean energy agenda, as well as becoming a more cost-effective business.