A walk towards a better & sustainable climate: How can the world of work help?
On 20th September, what seems to be the biggest day of climate action in the planet’s history, many from trade unions to a thousand workers at the Amazon headquarters, are geared to walk out of their factories and offices to raise climate awareness.
Fires in the Amazon rainforest, one million species threatened with extinction and the risen average surface temperature of the planet, the climate indeed needs attention. And while many might think that climate change is only an important agenda for government, it is a concern for businesses as well.
As per a report, trillion-dollar investment is needed to avert “climate apartheid” and with business innovation the entire world can tackle the climate crisis.
Workforce from many global brands join the cause
Employees from Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and many other businesses are planning to join the strike and work might get affected. But before discussing the work that might get compromised in the one week long strike, it is important to first understand why are the employees joining the strike.
More than 400 workers from Google have so far pledged to join the protests, while from Amazon nearly 1,000 Amazon employees have decided to walk out. Google has been criticized in recent years for partnering with oil and gas companies in an attempt to use technology to help automate the industry. The Google Workers for Action on Climate Change Twitter account highlighted that they are protesting to raise voice for zero contracts with oil and gas companies.
Meanwhile the group at Amazon, called Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ) is making big demands.
Firstly, the group wants Amazon to stop donating to politicians and lobbyists who deny climate change. It also wants the company to stop awarding contracts to fossil fuel companies. Further, the group wants Amazon to test electric vehicles in cities that are most affected by the company's environmental impact. The group has raised their concern and said it is "critical" for Amazon to emit zero emissions by 2030.
Besides these big tech firms, other companies like Ben & Jerry’s is encouraging staff to take part in the strike; however, their attendance is not compulsory. Australian marketing agency Republic of Everyone is closing its business for the day and software giant Atlassian are making it as easy as possible for staff to attend.
How can the world of work help?
What the world needs is technological breakthroughs and innovations that can help combat the current climate crisis and create a more sustainable environment. This puts the focus on tech giants, tech teams and professionals in this field who hold the potential to innovate and unlock the potential of technology to control climate change.
Calvin Jones, a Senior Product Manager at Microsoft said, “It is imperative that all tech companies stand together, denounce the usage of Cloud and AI services for non-renewable energy extraction, and work together to put an end to fossil fuel consumption.”
Microsoft recently announced its partnership with Chevron, the oil giant, and Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield services provider. In a statement, the company clarified that the collaboration is to accelerate the creation of innovative petrotechnical and digital technologies. They are all working together to improve the speed at which oil companies can develop new sites for fossil fuel extraction, as well as the rates of extraction at existing sites and aim to ensure more oil is extracted and burned, more efficiently.
Further, even Amazon has taken a few steps for the benefit of the climate, including its adoption of “frustration-free” packaging and the recent announcement of its “Shipment Zero” project. While shipment Zero aims to produce net zero carbon emissions by 2030 for half of its shipments, the company also maintains that ecommerce and cloud computing inherently emit less carbon than personal shopping trips and on-premises data centers.
These are only some ways in which the big and small companies from across the globe can contribute and help in improving the climatic conditions. There is way more potential that Internet of Things, lithium-ion chemical batteries for energy storage, cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence hold. Although it is a demanding process, exploring the possibilities with these technologies shall be the key focus for businesses and professionals.
As the world requires a large movement to bring in change, it is time for corporates to join in with their workforces and invest in driving the world towards a better climate, not only by joining the protests but also by adopting more environment-friendly practices.