CSR and Technology: our learnings from Good Forum 2022
On Tuesday, October 18, 2022, the auditorium of Le Monde hosted the second edition of the Good Forum focused on technology and its impact on the environment & society. The richness of this conference lies in the diversity of its speakers, from the young creator of an innovative startup, to the sustainable development manager at L’Oréal, or even the militant of “prosperous degrowth”. Here are some of the questions that bring all these actors together: how to make our society more responsible? Could it be through green innovation in digital? Or by a profound change in our use of tools?
First of all, we can note an essential notion around the change we are experiencing: the need for synergy between the different actors. It is true that advances in ecological transition are often the result of collective thinking. Moët&Hennessy, through its sustainable development director Sandrine Sommer, is opening up these issues within its markets. In an open innovation approach, the subsidiary of the LVMH group has seen its competitors become partners in reflection. This is also the case for the Cointreau group, which is now a player in the Living Soils Living Together project, which is fighting alongside Moët&Hennessy to preserve the soil. This change in the competitive spectrum is made possible by digital technology.
“No relevant action without relevant analysis” Sasha Morard
As a contact facilitator, digital also allows the implementation of measurement tools and precise indicators. As Sasha Morard, CIO of Le Monde Group, says, there can be no relevant actions without relevant analysis. What do the web performance of Le Monde and the irrigation quotient of a Champagne vineyard have in common? Statistics. This need to analyze to improve performance takes on a whole new dimension with digital. It offers us the possibility to identify, process and aggregate an almost unlimited amount of information that is needed to optimize business models to make them more accountable.
The Cloud allows you to share this information almost instantly and without geographical limits. If you want to share the statistical analysis of your carbon footprint with a company based in Norway, you are just one click away. But is this click without consequence? The cloud requires data centers that use 40% of their energy to expel their own heat. Each year, they discharge the energy equivalent of 40 billion hot showers. The environmental backlash from digital, while discrete, is having a real impact. This is where innovation and green tech come in. Jonathan Klein, head of the startup Tresorio, for example, is conceptualizing a data center capable of sending heat from data centers back into the heating ducts of a building. This example brings us back to the fundamentals of technological progress: the response to a need.
“Putting needs back at the center of innovation” Mélanie Tisserand Berger
We are talking about the purpose of innovation. This is the idea defended by Mélanie Tisserand Berger, director and founder of EMS Audit, an independent accounting firm and president of the CJD France. According to her, it is necessary to put the need at the center of innovation. It is in this context that Henri d’Agrain, General Delegate of CIGREF, opened this Good Forum: ” Since the 1980s, we have replaced the notion of progress, which translates into a search for well-being, with the notion of innovation, which translates into a better way of having “. Today more than ever, innovation must optimize our response to existing needs, not create new ones.
“We must trade our techno bliss for techno discernment” Nadia Boeglin
This awareness does not only lie in the creation. Technology is first and foremost what you do with it. According to Nadia Boeglin, ADEME’s Director of Ecological Transition, the energy impact of technologies is due to 50% to the technology itself and 50% to its user. Device on standby, over-mailing, excessive data storage, poorly optimized site, so many bad uses of digital which, in fine, have a considerable impact on energy needs. It is now necessary to make employees and individuals aware of the right way to consume. According to Anne Imbert, VP Brand, Advertising & Content at Orange, brands have a real role to play here. These big brands must now make sustainable more “sexy”. Sobriety and “responsible” are still seen as private and guilt-inducing notions, whereas they are only synonymous with adaptability.
Thus, the ecological transition requires an evolution of behavior leading to the creation of a coherence between behavior and tools. We are talking about the famous virtuous circle of green growth; greens tech echoing responsible use. If the question was initially to know if digital alone can lead to this ideal, the answer is definitely no. It is obvious that the environmental issues we are facing require a real change in our consumption habits as well as in the use of our technologies. Digital is nevertheless a formidable tool that can be a solid foundation for this transition.
The last word:
I particularly appreciated the Tech&communication round table during which the subject of individual carbon footprints was discussed. Quickly, the idea is good, but for the simple purpose of comparison between different individuals. Indeed, as Dan-Antoine Blanc-Shapira explains, our system, our economy, the products we consume, do not function on an eco-responsible model. In other words, these 2 tons of CO2 per person which appear as a “target to be reached” are in reality not adapted to our society.
If you are interested in the subject of ” CSR and technology “, you should know that SQORUS has developed a dedicated approach to this subject. Do not hesitate to contact us!
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