Perspectives

Episode #27: Is technology our planet’s best hope?    

The Green Room by Deloitte podcast

It’s hard to think of a part of our lives that isn’t impacted by technology. It’s made our world more connected. Our work easier to do. Limitless choice at our fingertips.

But it’s also contributed to a society that consumes more resources than ever before. We replace instead of repair. We upgrade instead of keep. We follow trends rather than embrace the timeless.

We’ve taken for granted the natural systems we rely on to make it all happen. The impact we’re making on the planet is now happening at a faster rate than it can replenish itself. And we can’t afford to ignore it any longer.

Some days, the scale of the problem seems insurmountable and we’d rather just turn the telly off. But know this: it’s not too late. Each and every one of us can make a difference. So where do we start?

We’ve got a lot to achieve over the next decade. Luckily, acting fast is one thing we know we can do when we put our minds to it. In fact, could the very technology that’s shaped our world today now help us to save it?

Every day we see new and exciting examples of how we can use technology to repair our planet. Social media is raising awareness of key environmental issues. Smart technology can reduce our energy consumption. We’re even looking into using the cloud to predict deforestation and save the rainforest.

Are these technologies enough to make a real difference? Or are they just a piece of the puzzle? What changes do we all need to make to create a healthier planet? And how can we empower others to embrace change too?

How do we stay positive and focus on the future while our planet feels like it’s falling apart? How can we inspire action through hope instead of despair? Is it time to finally change the narrative?

To help answer, we’re joined by Colin Butfield, Executive Director, Our Planet – WWF, and Siobhan Gardiner, Deloitte Ventures’ Climate Studio Lead.

Solving this problem is perhaps as much a communications challenge as it is a scientific or technological one – Colin Butfield

Speakers

Siobhan Gardiner
Climate Change & Environment Lead
Deloitte Ventures

Siobhan leads the Climate Change & Environment Studio in Deloitte Ventures. With more than 10 years of R&D experience across FMCG companies, start-up development and academic research, Siobhan is a passionate advocate on climate action, STEM outreach and diversity initiatives. Through internal and external ecosystems, Siobhan and the Studio team leverage existing products and services, global technology alliance partnerships and start-ups, to create value, and accelerate development of new technology-based sustainability and climate change solutions. The team also provides cross-sector support and subject matter expertise to ideate, experiment and test offerings in the market with clients and collaborators. Siobhan’s current portfolio includes exciting projects on climate justice, wildlife conservation, circular economy, smart agriculture, decarbonisation, smart energy systems and space technologies, amongst others!

Prior to joining Deloitte this year, Siobhan worked at Unilever, driving the adoption of technologies and sustainable agricultural practices in several regions across the globe. During this time, she completed a PhD focussing on sustainable smallholder livelihoods and protecting ecosystems in Northern Madagascar. Her awards include the 2019 Woman of the Future Award, presented by The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, for her continued work in this development area integrating biological sciences, education, tech access, and the climate action agenda, to work towards a more equitable and sustainable future for both people and the planet.


Colin Butfield
Executive Director, Our Planet, WWF

Colin is WWF’s Executive Producer for the Our Planet project. He was the scientific and conservation advisor to the Netflix Our Planet series and is Executive Producer of the feature documentary David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet

Colin has worked on conservation issues around the world and during his career led many high profile campaigns and worked across number of UN Climate and Biodiversity agendas.

He has produced many award winning short films and digital content pieces on issues around climate change, nature and sustainable development.

Colin is an Advisor for Prince William’s The Earthshot Prize.

Further reading

If you’re interested in any of the topics we talked about during this episode, you might find the links below useful.

  • WorldClimate – Find out more about our commitment to drive responsible climate choices within our organisation and beyond, including our goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030.
  • Our Planet – you can watch the Our Planet series and feature documentary on Netflix, produced with the WWF.
  • The Earthshot Prize - Deloitte is the Implementation Partner for the Earthshot Prize, which aims to find innovative solutions to help repair our planets over the next ten years.
  • Stories without borders - read more about the work we’re doing on sustainability across North South Europe.
  • Making the UK a digital clean tech leader - a joint report with techUK looking at how we can back the UK’s emerging digital climate tech sector.
  • World Economic Forum - here’s a great article on how tech could help us save the planet.
  • BBC ClickNational Geographic - an optimistic look at our future and why we’ll succeed in saving the planet.

The Green Room by Deloitte podcast

Visit The Green Room by Deloitte podcast library for the full collection of episodes.

 
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