Meet the climate team

Rafi Addlestone

Tech advocate and optimistic innovator
Rafi Addlestone

Climate change is complicated. But that’s not stopping people around the world from making a difference. We’re lucky to have some brilliant people leading our climate work across the firm. In this series, we help you get to know them, their areas of expertise and why they’re passionate about sustainability.

As part of his role as Global Tech, Media and Telecoms Sustainability and Climate Leader, Rafi Addlestone spends a lot of time discussing all things digital. But he views climate change from a human perspective. We chatted to him about using technology for good, finding hope in our communities and how his twin daughters keep him motivated to work for a better world.

The early days

“I grew up in a strong Jewish community in Leeds where taking responsibility for others and the wider world is central to our heritage and beliefs. My grandfather founded our synagogue and showed me from an early age what it means to be a positive agent for change in the world.

“I always wanted a values-driven career. Something with a forthright approach to social impact – and I’m lucky to find that in my role at Deloitte. I feel I can make a difference and help fix some of what needs fixing in the world.

“To me, addressing the climate crisis must be the priority. It is the most urgent issue facing humanity right now. In my current role I draw on the wide range of expertise, connections and resources we have at Deloitte to make a difference.”

Rafi’s grandfather Ted digging the first turf of Etz Chaim Synagogue in Leeds one Sunday morning in June 1980

Tech can change the world for the better

“We need to make big changes to achieve a more sustainable future and I believe technology can help with this. There is a huge opportunity for the tech sector to be purposeful and I try to bring this idea to every client I work with and every project I work on.

“In addition to helping clients decarbonise their operations, we help them to consider the ways in which their products and services can be used to tackle climate change. It’s about encouraging them to think through what benefits technology can bring, who they can best serve and how innovation could lead to a positive impact. For example, how can they use digital platforms to deliver information to farmers on climate smart farming?”

A career highlight

“Looking back at my time at Deloitte, I’m fortunate to have been part of many meaningful projects. One that stands out was a piece of research called Digital with Purpose that explored ways to use tech as a force for good in the world. Working in collaboration with an inspiring senior partner who has become a mentor to me over the years, was fantastic.

“It was an intense project, but I’m proud to have played a part in developing it. I presented our findings on how technology can tackle the climate crisis to policymakers and the EU Commission in Brussels in a room full of people with mics, translation earpieces, cameras and spotlights – it was definitely a career highlight.”

Rafi presenting the Digital with Purpose research to a group of EU policymakers in Brussels, November 2019

What life’s all about

“Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has been a constant source of inspiration for me ever since I read his book, To Heal a Fractured World, when I was 18. He was the type of person who could bring moral clarity to all situations. That book spoke to me as a very clear, deep-rooted rationale for what life’s all about and reading it created a desire in me to live with purpose.”

I have twin daughters, and I want the world to be a good place for them when they grow up. Being involved in The Earthshot Prize, a prestigious environmental prize, gave me hope that it will be.

Rafi with a rainbow unicorn and ginger tiger on a recent holiday.

“Seeing that there are people out there who are trying to find innovative ways to save our planet gives me a sense of optimism about the climate crisis. And with optimism, we stand a chance of delivering.”

Meet the others

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Rafi and his belief that tech can be used to secure the future of our planet. Our climate team are here to help, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to find out more. And if you want to meet the others, just keep reading below. We’ll introduce you to new people every month.

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