Powering and digitizing the economy: The formula for a sustainable future
This is the first blog post of a series from Innovation Summit Barcelona 2019, a two-day event that brings together more than 3,500 industry professionals, solution experts, and IoT leaders to discuss about global trends, generate bold ideas and foster digital economy.
We are at a critical moment in history. This generation must be the one to create a sustainable future for our planet. At Schneider Electric, our mission is to find the formula to achieve this while at the same time enabling the world to continue to develop and progress. Against the backdrop of an energy transition, new industrial revolution, and accelerated digitization, it’s a great challenge which we’re ready to face.
Just last week, our Chairman and CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire was in New York City at the 2019 United Nations’ Climate Action Summit, where Schneider and 87 other global companies agreed on a common path: halving its carbon footprints and achieving carbon neutrality within the next 10 years.
But that’s not all. At Schneider, we’re stepping up. As announced on September 23rd, the company is taking three new actions:
- accelerating the 2030 goal of carbon neutrality in its extended ecosystem by five years to 2025;
- setting net-zero operational emissions by 2030 as part of validated SBT target;
- achieving a net-zero supply chain by 2050.
This is a big commitment, but it’s not bad for business. Exactly the opposite. As shown to over 3,500 industry professionals this week at our Innovation Summit in Barcelona, we believe this challenge can be met while driving business success, with innovative energy and automation digital solutions that foster efficiency and protect our planet.
Achieving a 50% reduction in the usage of energy
We must tackle climate change in the next 20 years. There’s no alternative. And we see a path to get there using digital to save energy everywhere. For example, every time we build or renovate a building, we target a 30-50% reduction.
We’re moving to an all-electric world. The consumption of electricity will double in the next 20 years, and people are investing in electricity because it allows decarbonization. That makes it very important to make sure this electricity is coming from carbon-neutral places. Today, not enough energy is generated from renewable resources. We want it to get to 40% by 2040.
When we think about digitization, we discover new opportunities. By digitizing, big industrial companies find a lot of untapped efficiency within their own facilities.
At Schneider, we have more than 80 Smart Factories which have been built or refitted to achieve efficiency gains for our supply chain. For example, we’ve seen a 15% reduction in energy consumption through power, automation, and software, thanks to the implementation of our own EcoStruxure-backed solutions. These are improvements all industrial companies could make.
The best gas is no gas
To innovate, we must be ambitious. This week in Barcelona, one of the major breakthroughs announced was our move from Sulphur hexafluoride, or SF6 – a synthetic, non-flammable, colorless, and odorless gas – to zero gas in switchgear. For a long time, medium voltage protection has relied on it, allowing us to safeguard installations, but it is not a good gas for the environment.
Engineers have been working to find a way to get rid of SF6, and some companies have come up with other gas-based solutions. But at Schneider we believe that the best gas is no gas. Therefore, we are bringing to market air-based solutions to replace SF6 solutions.
Alone, digital is not enough. We see digitization as here to empower people to, ultimately, be more efficient.
Digital can guide people step-by-step through problems, so they know what is inside a dangerous machine without having to open it up. For example, augmented reality systems tell people when there’s a problem, by just standing in front of the equipment.
This is supporting people, enabling them to make better choices in terms of both safety and the environment. It makes it possible for people to better collaborate across entire businesses. And, ultimately, to better support customers.
To hear more about how Schneider Electric is providing innovative solutions to achieve a sustainable future and ensure #LifeIsOn everywhere, for everyone, at every moment, watch Jean-Pascal Tricoire’s keynote from Innovation Summit Barcelona.
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