Circular thinking and clear language will lead the way towards net zero cities

by | Jan 28, 2021 | Climate | 0 comments

Cristina Gamboa, CEO of the World Green Building Council moderated a session today at the 2021 digital World Economic Forum.

In the discussion, Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Chairman and CEO of Schneider Electric, mentioned the interconnectedness of the broader system of a system and the need to focus on practical “toolboxes”. Firstly mapping the different sub-systems that impact carbonization. Then develop practical tools to help citizens and specific stakeholders to understand where they are and how they can contribute. He said, “a common grammar was needed across audiences and stakeholders, such as investors seeking to invest in new technologies”. A shared understanding of the journey towards net-zero will be key to achieving the goals.

Francesceo Starace, CEO at Enel, referenced that 70% of carbon emissions worldwide comes from cities. He urged focus on circularity in cities based on applying relevant technologies. He mentioned a project to bring together leaders to work on harmonizing and accelerating the trend to make our cities more efficient and an acceleration of efficient technology use, particularly in energy and waste systems. “What happens in cities drives the development of the world”, he said.

Singapore’s Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, Grace Fu, mentioned the way Singapore has had to think out of the box in developing new solutions and a strong data driven approach across different systems to understand the drivers of the total carbon footprint. She stressed the integrated nature of all the systems, sectors and stakeholders and the importance of setting clear targets. Having clear targets and a common framework enables a better discussion about the changes needed. Referencing examples such as car-sharing she said, “The rules will change as the technology evolves so the community and the financiers and all agencies of the government will need to work together in an integrated way”.

Jan Suykens, Chairman of Ackermans & van Haaren, an investment management firm, struck a note of optimism given that in the current climate significant public and private capital is available to invest in ESG technologies and solutions. He mentioned that building sustainable resilient environments require a lifecycle approach to construction and investment. Circularity is becoming essential, making sure we use new, renewable materials and making our environments and buildings more energy efficient.

“We must repurpose existing assets and make the available space more adaptable so we can adapt to emerging needs” he said.