Greentech in government
Our MD, Ella Grant, recently attended some great events about the environment and what the public sector can do - including greentech. Here are her thoughts...
On 22nd Jan, I spent the day in London at 2 very different events looking at the issues of climate change, environmental degradation and the efforts needed to change the way things get done, to reduce emissions, and meet the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). The events were not specifically looking at Greentech in government, but both highlighted the necessary partnership of private and public sector to take the climate crisis.
The first looked at emerging technologies for climate and environment outcomes, and the second considered green government on a broader scale. So naturally, working in the niche space of public sector technology procurement, I was on the train back to Hove thinking: “how can we bridge the gap between the two?”
Greentech helping the public sector
At techUK’s “Climate, Environment and Emerging Technologies” roundtable, we heard from several speakers about the work they’re doing to build awareness of, and build solutions to, some of the world’s most resource-consuming, complex issues. Some so complex that they’re literally impossible to solve without help from a quantum computer. We spoke about the potential use cases of drones, and IoT devices, as well as some of the challenges they pose, for example how much electricity those technologies use, and therefore emissions they create, in the process of solving an environmental challenge such as analysing beach litter and enabling electric vehicles. The technologies themselves have a manufacturing process, and will likely – at some point, though hopefully not soon after manufacture – need to be disposed of; are they environmentally friendly? Nonetheless, we considered applications around air quality monitoring, mass-tree planting, mapping water scarcity, energy efficient data centres, and analysing ocean pollution. Therew was a lot to think about, including how greentech has a big part to play in all of this.
Government taking action
At OneTeamGov’s #OneGreenGov event, where I attended the afternoon session, there was the buzz of a grassroots movement taking shape, people from all backgrounds sharing their thoughts and experiences from around the world. Here the focus was on the urgency and radical nature of the climate crisis – 65% of UK local councils have declared a climate emergency and have developed (or are developing) a Climate Strategy for their region. But equally, sessions fostered a sense of positivity and a “we can do this” attitude; we should embrace uncertainty and use all the tools available to us (and there are lots) to foster not just a sustainable society, but one that is restorative and regenerative. At the local level, the climate crisis is also recognised as a health crisis, a housing crisis, a waste management crisis and a transport crisis, amongst other intersections that impact the policy making of local governments and life choices of citizens.
It poses the question – to what extent do we leave it to government to tackle the crisis? There should no doubt be community-led initiatives and forums that engage with their elected representatives in a symbiotic way. But there is also no doubt that the public sector should be factoring in issues of sustainability and climate change into their procurement decisions and seeing climate adaptation as a key driving force of any further transformation efforts.
So, at Advice Cloud, I’m asking this – how can suppliers of technology products and services, help government to deliver on their climate commitments and the UN Sustainable Development Goals?
Can you help?