Michele Savino, Sustainability at Swisscom
5 min

‘IT helps companies reduce CO2’

Net zero is the catchword of the moment. Companies are focusing on sustainability. But how green are the promises they make really? In this interview, Michele Savino explains how companies can become (more) sustainable and the role IT plays in this.

Companies need to back up their green credentials with facts. From the beginning of 2024, companies with 500 or more employees will be required to verify their CO2 footprint with data – including the emissions of suppliers. And this method works. A Swiss IT study has shown that almost a third of the participating companies already use calculation models to report their carbon footprint. In the previous year, this figure was only 13%. Michele Savino, Business Developer Data-Driven Sustainability at Swisscom, has put the results of the Swiss IT study into context. It shows where companies stand on the path to net zero and what it will take to enable the Swiss economy to reduce CO2 even further.

Michele Savino, where do Swiss companies stand on the path to net zero?

Over the past two years, the Swiss corporate landscape has undergone a drastic shift. More and more companies are addressing the issue, setting specific climate targets in accordance with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) and calculating their carbon footprint each year. The Swiss IT study also shows that, compared to the previous year (2022: 61%), significantly fewer companies have no measure of their carbon footprint at all (2023: 36%).

Are SMEs also getting involved?

Yes, absolutely. After all, the pressure is mounting: customers want transparency, and sustainability is a competitive advantage over your rivals. As suppliers to large companies, SMEs are also increasingly being required to declare their CO2 emissions. In order to attract young talent, it is also essential for every company to cultivate a reputation for being sustainable.

Where do companies look for support?

One of the biggest challenges for companies is establishing their carbon footprint. This information serves as the basis for defining climate targets in the first place. Companies want support in this as well as in the implementation of measures. Advice is also needed to ensure that legal requirements are complied with.

Your journey from emissions reduction to net zero

Improve your carbon footprint – we will help you to define
and implement your climate strategy.

What are the requirements for establishing a carbon footprint?

A carbon footprint requires data on the amount and type of energy and materials used, such as combustibles and fuels, electricity consumption, business travel or paper consumption. Often, this data is not collected at all or stored decentrally within the company. However, this data is a key basis for recognising patterns in energy consumption, identifying potential savings and implementing sustainable solutions. In order to do this, documentation on a centralised platform is necessary. Digitalisation and data-driven business are therefore key stepping stones on the path to climate neutrality.

How can the necessary data be collected?

Wherever possible, data should be collected efficiently and without any disruptions.  The networked world and the success of the Internet of Things (IoT) will establish the collection of relevant data using sensors

Now, not all relevant data can be collected, which is why calculation models are needed. What is the aim of these models?

Well, partially to measure and partially to estimate data. Calculation models are used to represent reality as accurately as possible. This is how the emissions of certain processes or products are calculated. They also map aspects that would otherwise not be visible, such as CO2 emissions, energy requirements or material flows.

‘Data serves as a basis for defining climate targets and reduction measures.’

Michele Savino

How can measures be derived from the results?

The calculation models show where the greatest levers are for improving the company’s sustainability balance, which makes it possible to define the measures that have the most impact.

What role does IT play in reducing CO2?

On the one hand, IT can reduce CO2 emissions, for example by reducing travel thanks to Work Smart or by automating and optimising heating systems using IoT technologies. What’s more, IT solutions also make it possible to collect data from buildings or vehicles, for example. Companies can use software to measure their CO2 footprint automatically. Calculation models allow data to be processed and made available as a basis for data-based decisions, for example defining climate targets and reduction measures. In other words, IT helps to monitor the achievement of sustainability targets and to adjust measures based on their success.

What will it take for the economy to reduce CO2 even further?

As mentioned earlier, more and more companies are establishing carbon footprints or even defining reduction targets. Calculation models will provide even further support the implementation of effective reduction measures. In addition to emissions caused directly and indirectly by the company, such as by company vehicles or purchased electricity, the next step is to integrate the value chain. This includes the purchase of raw materials and products, transport, distribution, business travel, employee commuting, etc.

And what is the medium-term perspective on the path to net zero?

We are pursuing the idea of a digital marketplace for reduction measures in Switzerland. Data from the biggest emission drivers, in particular buildings, supply chains and mobility, will be exchanged across companies efficiently and without disruptions. For example, a company with several locations can proactively suggest new locations based on an analysis of employee mobility and emissions in existing buildings. A marketplace like this cannot be implemented by Swisscom alone, however. It will require a sustainable and digital ecosystem. Networking using IoT and the digital mapping of objects using digital twins must also be promoted as a basis for this.

Your journey from emissions reduction to net zero

Improve your carbon footprint – we will help you to define
and implement your climate strategy.

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