Partnerships matter - Why we’re building a carbon data engine

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Partnerships matter - Why we’re building a carbon data engine

COVID-19 has provided an unexpected challenge in the fight against climate change. Whilst it has resulted in positive benefits for the environment, the overall impact is negligible overall impact is negligible and global incidents such as the forest fires in California serve a stark reminder that this is a marathon, not a sprint, and that the fight against irreversible climate change is still very much on. The need to rebuild our economies may see climate concerns pushed to one side so now, more than ever, we need to focus on reducing our impact on the world around us and build back better where we can.

Back in May, when we considered our carbon footprint during the lockdown, we mused how great it would be to have access to near real-time data on our carbon footprint so we could factor in our emissions against our targets when making decisions about the future of our business, i.e. remote working and flexible hours. Since then, we’ve pulled together our own carbon calculator spreadsheet, and we’ve built a prototype to demonstrate how the data about our scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions can be added and visualised in a couple of clicks.

Taking things to the next level

Traffic congestion is an issue where I live in Bristol, especially during the morning rush-hour. Commuters, school parents and everyone else seems to be on the congested roads leading to dangerous high levels of nitrous oxide and other pollutants as well as a general negative impact on people’s wellbeing. COVID has provided a temporary respite, but there is a huge risk that we will revert back to normal once the epidemic has subsided.

Most of these people on the roads in the mornings are heading to work and the majority of people are alone in their cars. What would it take to convince everyone to leave the car at home one day per week to walk, cycle or car share to work? And to prompt people to work from home when they’re not required in the office? It won’t be possible for everyone, but just imagine the positive benefits this change in commuter behaviour would deliver for the environment, the local area and the company employees wellbeing.

Building a Carbon Data Engine

We’re delighted to team up with the human behaviour experts at LAB to explore these questions in more detail and build a Carbon Data Engine that automatically monitors travel data and converts this data to provide near real-time carbon visibility for companies. It surfaces emissions data from the data already within companies’ existing systems and allows them to link it to productivity, profitability, and their environmental policies. But, crucially, it will also provide targeted behavioural interventions that promote CO2 reduction.

What is WINSSOME?

Armed with accurate, real-time information, WINSSOME uses the captured Scope 3 emissions data, costs and other information to automatically trigger behavioural change nudges to staff that would otherwise have been impossible. This can include bespoke targeted messages to teams and/or offices/regions and the triggering of competitive tension to promote change.

The value of these interventions has enormous potential. Investors, customers and employees are making choices based on organisations’ ESG (Environment, Social and corporate Governance) credentials wherever possible. The data and reports available through WINSSOME will create value through investor relations, staff acquisition and retention and brand loyalty from their customers. It allows for alignment between costs, efficiency, profitability, shareholder value and CO2 reduction, and organisations will be able to demonstrate in a transparent and measurable way, actions minimising their carbon footprint.

WINSOMME will also contribute significantly to the ‘Green Recovery’ - nudging organisations and employees to continue with practises that reduce Scope 3 emissions and help the UK achieve Net Zero by 2050. The resulting benefits to work/life balance, reduction in traffic pollution and congestion, increase in cycling and exercise, are positive outcomes for people’s health and wellbeing.

We’ve spent a lot of time and effort to pull together these next exciting steps for our carbon journey and have applied to Innovate UK for a grant to help take our idea to the next level. Whatever happens, we’re excited for the opportunity to use our, and our partners, unique problem solving skills for the benefit of the planet.

Wish us luck!