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Smart investments: Technologies for a greener, connected and sustainable future

Listen to the Blue Door Podcast, episode 16: ‘Smart investments – Technologies for a greener, connected and sustainable future’

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During the podcast we cover several topics from the Blue Door Expo panel held in October 2020. Below we’ve captured the first question asked of each panellist about a digital or technology solution they’ve seen helping address an environmental or social issue. Here’s how they responded:

Innovative use of social media

For Jeff Knot, Operations Director Central and Eastern England for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the economic impact of the recent lockdowns has been a real problem. Without visitors, income inevitably suffered.

However, a number of innovative social media campaigns have helped the charity to connect people with their sites, even though they’re not able to physically go and visit them. Jeff explained how they were able to engage their audience:

“During the lockdown, people were really clamouring for the chance to get out into green space. And through the use of social media, we’ve been able to show how their local green spaces they cherish are part of a much bigger environmental agenda.”

The effect has been pronounced, and following the easing of restrictions, the RSPB is seeing different audiences and groups arriving at their reserves and sites, looking to experience nature in the broadest sense.

Smart metering’s impact during lockdown

Oliver Rosevear, Head of Environment at Costa Coffee, opted for smart metering, and particularly the role it has played in recent months. The lockdowns required the company to close down their entire retail estate, comprising 2,500 outlets in the UK, in less than 48 hours.

“What smart metering allowed us to do was to access the data and make sure that all of our stores have been shut down effectively. So this meant that we didn’t have air conditioning or lighting or anything else being left on, with the energy waste that would have resulted.”

As lockdowns eased, smart metering has enabled Costa to monitor and manage how they use energy. For Oliver, it may not be the most exciting technology, but it’s been very effective in managing the company’s environmental impacts, and has helped to home in on the carbon reduction targets they have set.

Rewarding recycling

Trewin Restorick is CEO and founder of Hubbub, an organisation that uses campaigns to make actions that are good for the environment second nature.

Hubbub have identified that some environmental issues can be quite abstract and hard for people to grasp. Technology can make what people should be doing much clearer, and it can motivate them, and make it compelling. A great example is the recycle reward machines which Hubbub have placed in a number of cities across the UK. They incentivise recycling with rewards that can be redeemed for vouchers from a local shop, or donated to charity.

“It’s a very simple mechanism for encouraging recycling on the go. We’ve found that these machines increase uptake of use, but also you get the right sort of materials put into the machines, because the machines can read what’s going in and can reject what shouldn’t be going in.”

With waste management high up on the environmental agenda, using technology to reward recycling is one way that could help to meet ambitious environmental and sustainability targets.

The panel considered the changes organisations are making to take responsibility for their impact on planet and community.

Want more?

We consider technologies for a greener, connected and sustainable future in rpisode 16 of the Blue Door Podcast at the link at the top of this page, or browse, listen, download and subscribe to all episodes here.

You can also hear Tracey Herald (who acted as our facilitator for today’s podcast discussion) outline O2’s objective to become net zero by 2025 in her role as Head of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability on episode 10 of the Blue Door Podcast. 

You can also watch the whole discussion on our Blue Door YouTube channel. Click here.



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