How we’re supporting a more connected, greener Britain

29/03/2019

Many will know that the Data Communications Company (‘Smart DCC’) is at the heart of UK PLC’s decarbonisation agenda. It’s delivering one of the world’s largest Internet-of-Things programmes in order that the nation has a good handle on the detail of its own power consumption. The programme, the Smart Meter programme, is a fundamentally enabling step both now, and even more so in the future, because we need to encourage behaviours that result in energy consumption being ever more efficient and eventually focussed only on electricity produced from non-fossil, renewable sources, aided and abetted by carbon capture.

It’s why I joined DCC. To be focused on implementing solutions and not just outlining the problem ad nauseum. To be more effective in the drive to prevent our home planet from changing so fast that we’re no longer able to cope with the change. We need to propagate new business behaviours everywhere; and certainly not just within DCC. Not easy. In fact, a very difficult but urgent, long-term, task when working with management boards who are focussed by shareholders on delivering 3, 6 and 12-month forecasts and surely even more difficult for the boards themselves.

What does that mean in a practical day-to-day sense for us at DCC? Most business activities are developed using good information and DCC’s programme activity certainly delivers data on power usage to provide everyone with good solid evidence for achieving their day-to-day goals in the most sustainable, least damaging ways possible.

Internally, DCC’s ‘SmartGreen’ initiative uses all of the lessons learned elsewhere, mainly on efficiencies, and seeks to apply them in our daily work. We’re working towards using only renewable energy sources and tariffs, aiming for a near-zero paper consumption, deploying efficient warm-white LED lighting, developing cycle-purchase schemes, encouraging use of electric vehicles and a myriad of other ways including improving ecoliteracy of all employees; all good things essential to a responsible business faced with the evidence of climate change.

Additionally, we’re doing something different. The SmartGreen team is led by Fabienne Dischamps, our Chief Strategy Officer, and is made up of a panel of experts in their own right. SmartGreen goes beyond the many practical, essential steps to reduce consumption, particularly energy consumption of course. We’re working to propagate change outwards, to spread ways of persuading and compelling business partners to show each other exactly what is being done to reduce net consumption, to be really smart about measuring the absolute impact of our activities in a race towards carbon-neutral. It’s very likely that in the future we’ll be working only with suppliers who are prepared to demonstrate their absolute commitment to sustainable business long before it becomes illegal not to within corporate law. Wow, there’s a statement (but I’ll bet my last petrol-fuelled vehicle that, years from now, we’ll be wondering why -- on earth! -- it hadn’t happened long before).

We eagerly anticipate working with like-minded suppliers who will be working with their own supply chain to propagate the behaviours outward. At least one of DCC’s Tier 1 suppliers has shown very positive behaviours; where one leads, others will have to follow to keep up their competitive advantage. To ensure this happens, we’re looking at ensuring that existing contractual obligations are really evidenced and delivered upon, especially those involving year-on-year reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.

I’ll finish with a quotation that’s been rattling around in my head for the last few months – it’s not mine, it’s from a Lakota businessman (he’s real, I’ve checked) who’s piling in as hard as possible to convert anything and everything that’s electrically powered in his local area from being on the fossil-fuel grid to being on battery-backed solar power installations. Take from it what you will.

“There are times when you need to take small steps toward achieving change …… and there are times when you need to charge like a buffalo”

(Quote by Henry Red Cloud).