Guest Post – A New Approach: Digitizing Climate Action
By: Mahesh Ramanujam, President & CEO, Global Network for Zero
The warming of our planet is progressing at a rapid pace. What early experts warned would take multiple centuries to happen, has happened in one – we’re in the full throes of a climate crisis.
Every day there’s a new headline: severe weather, migration, spread of disease. The climate emergency isn’t slowing down. To catch up, we need to think ten steps ahead. This begs the question: why are all the major tactics and initiatives to curb this crisis so outdated?
I’d argue traditional approaches are a major reason society has, thus far, failed to galvanize and protect our planet and ultimately our species. This is unlike any other problem we’ve faced before; the solutions don’t stack up. To truly curb this, we need accelerated approaches driven by new and emerging technologies. I have been saying this for more than a decade now and have been successful in demonstrating how emerging technologies help to scale transformation of the building sector. But buildings are only one part of the zero emissions equation. We need a consolidated effort and approach across sectors and industries to realize real change. Recognizing this, I decided to take what I’ve learned, leveraging the strong relationships I’ve built, to move beyond just buildings. To get all sectors and industries to zero emissions, I have created The Global Network for Zero. We’re here to disrupt the old mindset, digitizing climate action and demolishing the market barriers and roadblocks that have too long stood in the way of progress.
Our organization identifies and accelerates solutions that make business and economic sense, because investors hold the power here. While this approach alone is not revolutionary, our implementation of it is. Our ESG frameworks, reporting, progress, and verification will live largely in blockchains and even in the metaverse, decentralized and transparent to prevent greenwashing. By leveraging first of its kind green blockchain technology to track progress to net zero, we’re eliminating the bureaucracy and speed bumps that so typically deter momentum. We’re already partnering with leading technology providers to develop new, disruptive solutions to help get organizations to zero emissions. The Global Network for Zero will also be a force for education, distilling through all the available and emerging technologies and solutions in the market and connecting people and organizations with the areas where they can make the greatest impact. We’re laser-focused on monitoring and tracking this implementation progress.
If this all sounds a bit frightening, I assure you, it’s not my first rodeo. Our team has decades of experience standardizing, digitizing and scaling climate initiatives and certification processes. For instance, the LEED green building rating system would have faced the risk of becoming outdated, impractical and irrelevant without the continuous improvement process used to regularly update the system. During my tenure as the COO and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), my team worked in tandem with the USGBC community to help bring LEED into the 21st century, modernizing and future-proofing the rating system, and created the technological solution (the Arc platform) to digitize the performance tracking and reporting process. These developments enabled a massive expansion of LEED certification across the globe, which resulted in tangible emissions reductions in the built environment. It’s what sets our team apart.
GNFZ Co-founder Sarah Merricks is my right hand, a life long environmentalist, master of strategy, marketing and media with a track record of game changing accomplishments. In partnership with thousands of LEED implementers, Chairman Scot Horst spearheaded LEED v4 and eventually the performance vision for LEED, founded the Arc platform and transformed on a global scale the way humans coexist with the spaces in which they live and work. This leadership team (and the partners we’ll engage with) is unparalleled in the effort to lower global emissions.
This isn’t just about the three of us. It’s a network, after all. We’re engaging investors, activists and policymakers to lay the groundwork for the funding and development for new technologies to reach zero emissions. We are connecting the brightest minds of the future with the resources and contacts needed to make the biggest impacts.
We couldn’t have launched at a better time. The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States signals a new boom in environmental innovation. Emerging technologies continuously have an increasingly important role in the ESG space. Guided by accurate data, investors will be able to clearly discern the most promising and profitable innovations in the clean technology space.
Of course, there will be doubters and skeptics. Two of our cornerstones, ESG and blockchain technology, are met with incredulousness and general confusion. There’s also the tendency to tune out the environmental drum that we so desperately need to listen to. So many have tried and failed. After all, we’re not the first climate coalition to promise real change. But we are the first to take such a forward-thinking, disruptive approach. I’m confident that will make all the difference. If you’re interested in being a part of the progress, visit our website.
About the author:
Driven by his belief in a brighter future, the Global Network for Zero Co-Founder, President and CEO Mahesh Ramanujam convenes a coalition of leaders dedicated to progressing society toward greater ESG compliance and ultimately a zero greenhouse gas economy. An investor, convener and unifier with decades of experience leading global technology platforms, Ramanujam focuses on integration and interoperability for optimal results in the sustainability sector. Prior to founding The Global Network for Zero, he served as President and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), and the global technology platform, Arc. From his work at IBM and Lenovo, to his experience in the global nonprofit sector and beyond, Mahesh is committed to ensuring a healthy, lasting future for generations to come.