Microsoft, Amazon, and Heinz talk sustainability at Net Zero Festival
While government and industry leaders meet for the AI Safety Summit in the UK’s Bletchley Park this week, chief sustainability officers from firms such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Virgin are in London discussing net zero goals.
Musidora Jorgensen, CSO of Microsoft, explained on a panel that the big tech firm’s sustainability strategy can be broken down into four key areas: keeping their house in order, using technology and innovation to help customers and a wider ecosystem, advocating for change through policy, and managing data.
Amazon’s director of sustainability, Zak Watts, pointed out that the corporate giant is rolling out 100,000 electric vehicles across its global fleet, and that the firm is actively encouraging customers to purchase sustainable products in its retail business.
“We have an opportunity with that scale to really accelerate the transition across multiple different value chains and supply chains where we operate,” said Watts.
Outside the festival, environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion protested, accusing firms sponsoring the conference such as Amazon and Coca-Cola of using it to “greenwash” themselves.
Its leaflets read “There is not enough room on the planet for the amount of trees that multinationals like Amazon, Nestle, and Shell have promised to plant, and carbon capture technology does not exist on a large scale.”
Microsoft has been actively investing in carbon capture technology as stated in its Carbon Removal initiative, claiming that it believes these technologies will do more good than nature-based solutions.
Honing in on the climate crisis, founder of climate advisory group David King made a speech on the effects the globe face if governments and industry don’t tackle the crisis, pointing out that by 2050, 85% of Vietnam will be underwater.
For King, the world needs to follow a “4R Planet Strategy”: reduction, remove, repair, and resurgence in order to combat the climate crisis.
Food giant Kraft Heinz was among the companies showcasing their use of digital technologies to boost sustainability at the event, which took place at the Business Design Centre in London’s Islington borough.
CGSO, Cristina Kenz, presented its augmented reality game, SOS Tomatoes, which the ketchup-maker uses to highlight and raise awareness of how at-risk soil health is on earth, and challenges gamers on Fortnite to change the course. Playing the game in the virtual world will have a positive impact on the real world, as Heinz committed to equaling every square metre of soil saved in the game to real-life.
British actress, and climate activist, Joanna Lumley closed the second day of the festival advising businesses to ignore criticisms of greenwashing, if they are making an effort.
“I travel around the world now, and we do carbon offset and double it,” the Absolutely Fabulous star stated, “but somebody will always [try] to scratch you, so just ignore it.”
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