Image credit: South Pole
This interview was originally published by Urs Huebscher on Geschäftsführer*in Zürich.
Geschäftsführer*in Zürich spoke with South Pole's CEO Renat Heuberger about South Pole's vision of climate action for all, what's top of mind for companies working towards net zero, and how digital climate technologies and software can dramatically scale up positive impact.
We were a group of young "enviropreneurs " with one goal: to use the private sector to fight climate change. We started by developing climate action projects that would be financed by generating verified emission reductions in the form of carbon credits. We've come a long way from where we started, and have broken new ground in many areas of sustainability – from developing net zero roadmaps for big multinational companies and establishing an award-winning fund to finance climate adaptation, to launching multistakeholder initiatives to scale up high-quality technological carbon removals.
What makes us unique is that we have our boots on the ground – but also in the boardroom. We are experts in measuring and understanding climate-related opportunities and risks, and can provide the right solutions and data to enable our companies to manage both. This means that we can advise on strategy and, importantly, implement that strategy through tailored interventions and best-in-class climate action projects
Our clients from the Zurich region, such as Digitec Galaxus, SwissRe and Holcim, and even our other big Swiss clients like Nestlé, all want to know how they can effectively reduce their carbon emissions and help mitigate global climate change. As with all of our partners, we support them by taking them on a five-step Climate Journey aligned with the latest science and corporate reporting standards: from understanding their own footprint and their exposure to climate-related risks, to finding ways to reduce or avoid emissions, to financing climate action projects within and beyond their direct value chains, and to communicating successes to relevant stakeholders.
The issue of climate action has truly become mainstream, compared to when we started over 16 years ago. The COVID19 pandemic also forced many companies to take notice; “if one virus can completely disrupt our businesses and value chains, what might the hazards brought by climate change do?” It has been a real wake up call for many and has helped propel climate action to the top of the business agenda. Companies, especially ones with complex supply chains, are now raising their ambitions by taking responsibility for their emissions. South Pole has grown in response to this demand from both businesses and governments to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We are also incredibly fortunate to have attracted new investors - including Swisscom - who share our team’s values and support our vision of climate action for all.
Swisscom's long-term commitment to harnessing the power of digitalisation for a more sustainable society goes hand in hand with South Pole's ambition to dramatically scale up climate action using digital technologies.
Digital solutions for climate change are one of the world's most disruptive trends that will shape societies and economies in the decade ahead. Drawing on our complementary expertise in digitisation and sustainability, we will offer a range of services, including measuring climate impact, setting science-based emissions targets, creating emission reduction strategies, compensating for unavoidable carbon emissions, and investing in climate funds.