It’s going to take bold action and innovative cross-sector collaboration to accelerate the transition to a decarbonized, just economy.
Antenna Group spoke to these issues during GreenBiz 23’s flagship conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. On the first of our two GreenBiz panels, I sat alongside Microsoft, General Motors, Deloitte, and the Environmental Defense Fund to analyze how corporate sustainability leaders can leverage the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to achieve net zero, advance the circular economy, and build more resilient supply chains. For our second panel, authors of the nation’s most aggressive climate legislation, State Senator Chris Lee of Hawai’i and former State Senator Reuven Carlyle of Washington, spoke to legislating for a Just Transition and how companies can actualize the IRA’s $369 billion toward climate solutions for the overburdened communities that need them. Here are some of my key takeaways from Antenna’s lively panels and our 3 days at the nation’s standout sustainability conference:
1. Data-driven decision-making is critical to net zero
If we are to stem the climate crisis and achieve meaningful greenhouse gas reductions, we must transform how both the private and public sectors use and value data. Advancements in artificial intelligence, data analytics, and automation can offer insights to not only energy usage today, but how it can be managed to enhance efficiencies of existing systems and support planning for commercially viable decarbonization investments in the future. But, doing so successfully requires measuring emissions with precision, and effective communications on one’s declining emissions profile before public and private decision-makers to achieve needed system alignment and reforms.
2. Corporate sustainability leaders are investing in energy communities
The IRA has numerous short-term and long-term environmental justice goals. More immediately, the bill offers a reported $60 billion for projects that in some way advance energy communities and reduce the nation’s long standing environmental and health disparities. Corporate sustainability leaders are newly understanding their role in a Just Transition, and the importance of investing in effective communications strategies before increasingly more equity-driven customers, shareholders, and investors.
3. We only go so far without grid modernization
Decades of chronic underinvestment in grid infrastructure has resulted in an outdated, inefficient, and inequitable power system. Today, the United States experiences more blackouts than any other developed country, and loses power nearly 300 percent more often than in 1984 when data collection efforts on blackouts began. Allowing the IRA to meet its promise, therefore, requires a modernized energy system and the strategic integration of emerging technologies that leverage data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning for greater system reliability and flexibility. As new technologies enter the energy economy in unprecedented numbers (accelerated by the IRA), they’ll also need to share their story before energy consumers and regulators to guarantee ongoing tax- and ratepayer investments. Only then will we have a grid ready to realize the New American Energy System and the clean energy technologies needed to get there.
Antenna Group is the nation’s leading PR, marketing and digital agency for leaders in the energy transition. We’re seeing a measurable change in public sentiment and public/private action to reach net zero, moving us away from an age of ideation and innovation in climate technologies to one of widescale deployment. We call this new era in our climate work the Age of Adoption, and we’re proud to be working with the world’s leading organizations to get there.
Get in touch if you’d like to discuss how to tell your organization’s story in the Age of Adoption.