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AWS ExecLeaders event: Sustainability - The New Agenda

In December 2022 I was asked to join a round table discussion on Sustainability Transformation. Being one of the 20 people who were invited to share their opinion on the subject had been an honour, the dinner at The Dorchester turned out to be an inspiring and eye-opening event.

On my left was sitting a representative from Amazon, on my right from Intel, around the table sustainability leads from Ocotpus energy, EDF, Novartis, Genius sports, Utility Warehouse, Deliveroo etc. I've now received the event write up from the organisers, Commerce Futures , summarised below:

CEOs, CTOs, CIOs and other senior business leaders working in sustainability came together to network and discuss:

• Aligning the demands of the energy transformation with other business needs.

• Keeping sustainability initiatives on track during uncertain times.

• Creating sustainable operating models for the future.

Rachel Fletcher, Director of Regulation and Economics at Octopus Energy, was the keynote speaker.

Having worked in the regulatory sector, Rachel was able to offer a perspective that encompassed the roles of business leaders, government agencies, and regulators in maintaining their sustainability commitments.

Rachel Fletcher joined Octopus Energy in April 2021 and shared five reflections on her 18 months in-post with the audience. Collectively, they offer an insight into the energy system changes that will be needed to achieve net zero quickly and affordably, and the key questions that business leaders should focus on.

  1. The public and private sectors must work together

  2. Net zero is not an add-on, so be serious about making a real change

  3. Technology is crucial to the success of net zero

  4. Your customers must come with you

  5. Don’t forget your investors

The take-outs from the breakouts

After the keynote, attendees discussed the issues that had been raised and shared their views on some of the challenges facing ongoing sustainability efforts:

How do we effectively align business and energy transformation and keep sustainability on track in less certain times?

  • Don’t pause your sustainability efforts in the face of a challenge, some of the attendees said. If the pandemic taught us anything, it is that being ready can be more important than being cautious.

  • Some of the current and recent uncertainty has been caused by geopolitical conflicts that have affected energy supplies. Greener energy tends to face less disruption from that particular kind of uncertainty, so it could be a way to balance risk.

  • Engage your workforce in your sustainability initiatives. The C-suite sets the agenda, but the employees are the ones who will bring it to life and help it to flourish.

How do we find the balance between funding transformation whilst also keeping a focus on net zero targets?

  • Striking a balance between funding both transformation and sustainability programmes could be easier to find than you think. After all, several of the attendees said, the two are not mutually exclusive.

  • Binary outcomes aren’t always the right outcomes. The best kind of business transformations are those that are just and equitable for all. Sustainable strategies should be factored in.

  • There is a growing awareness of the importance of sustainability among the public and the investment community. You can attract so-called activist investors to your business by demonstrating your commitment to making a positive change.

Visit the Content Hub of AWS ExecLeaders: UK and Ireland for the original source of this content and for details of this and other upcoming events.

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