The need for Corporate Goliaths to be more collaborative for saving the world: A David’s perspective

‘Men Argue, Nature acts’ — Voltaire

The world has merely three years to start making significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions or face the prospect of catastrophic global warming, experts have warned in an article in the prestigious journal Nature.

Businesses and Cities, whose activities contribute to more than 2/3rd of the Global greenhouse gas emissions, are faced with the mantle of leading us towards a world where ‘Green’ is the new norm.

Collaboration for sustainability

However, Corporations are like big ships which are difficult to turn around, and are unfortunately also sailing in rocky waters due to certain mega trends

The Reality

· Trend 1: The perceived future is Green

As per the latest polls, more than 70% of Europeans and North Americans believe Climate change is a real threat, and feel there is an urgent need to change the Fossil fuel guzzling ways of the last century.

Consumers are ready to pay a premium if they perceive a product to be more sustainable. In UK, newer utilities such as Ecotricity which sell green electricity at a substantial premium, score nearly 30% higher customer satisfaction ratings against its competition. This means people are not only willing to pay more for Green, but also happier doing so! Not surprisingly, it is growing at a healthier pace than its peers.

This is part of the larger trend across sectors. In the words of Al Gore — “This sustainability revolution has the breadth and magnitude of the industrial revolution but it has the speed of the digital revolution”

·Trend 2: Change is the new normal

Post the Paris Accord, Government Policies have started changing to support environmentally responsible growth. Combine this with the power of digital technology such as Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence, and we have an era where products and Business models must change faster than pundits ever predicted.

Traditional Business Models of corporations in sectors such Oil and Gas, Transportation and Retail are under threat.

The Indian Government recently made an aggressive move towards Electric Vehicles by announcing that not a single petrol or diesel car would be sold in the country by 2030. To survive in this envisioned new world, making smart cars and electric charging infrastructure will be as important as core automobile manufacturing, and this changed reality might just be fatal for some of the existing manufacturers.

The Opportunity

Large corporations need to do tough business transformations in the current business environment.

While Corporations are like big ships which are difficult to turn around, Start-ups, on the other hand, are very nimble and market-oriented in their approach in developing technology to drive environmental and social change. However, these start-ups lack resources and networks to scale their innovations. Some of the truly disruptive technologies might just perish due to lack of support.

And there lies the opportunity of creating partnerships where everyone wins!

At Ecolibrium Energy, a 7-year-old Energy Analytics pioneer in India, these partnerships are a strategic focus in our quest for unbridled growth. Ecolibrium’s Industrial IOT Platform SmartSense® helps Industries and Buildings create a digital twin of critical equipment, to create predictive Intelligence for Optimizing Energy & Maintenance costs, and reduce asset downtime. This helps slash energy consumption by up to 15%, and downtime by up to 50%.

With cutting edge innovations ready to hit the market, collaborative partnerships are playing a key role in SmartSense’s growth journey.

SAP — The global Leader in Enterprise software, counts most of the Fortune 500 organizations as its customers. Ecolibrium, incubated under the SAP Startup Studio, is working with the software giant to develop disruptive innovations in the field of IOT and Energy Analytics. At a time when SAP is making a transformational change from being an enterprise software company to a services company using its SAP Cloud Platform, solutions like SmartSense® in its ecosystem helps create the edge it needs to emerge the future leader in its market. It creates a win-win relationship where SAP get access to leading innovations in the sector, and SmartSense® gets an entry into the massive global SAP customer base for immediate scale.

Similar tie-ups with Vodafone (Smartsense bundled with Mobile services) and JLL (Predictive asset maintenance for Smarter facility management) are examples of other symbiotic relationships being built to expand SmartSense’s footprint in the Global market of IOT for sustainable Industries & buildings.

It was the collaboration with Nest which helped Google get their first entry into the residential energy management and eventually smart Homes. Just peruse the winners and finalists of EPIC, Ashden, and Cleantech Open for some amazing examples of companies who are future ready for making Global Impact. Some of the leading organisations such as Shell, Nike and Amsterdam city have recognized this opportunity, and have created incubators for creating successful win-win partnerships.

The Way Ahead

Einstein famously said — “Problems cannot be solved by the same mindset which created them”.

If we want to rapidly tackle climate change, we need to more rapidly develop collaborative ecosystems consisting of large corporations, innovative young companies, cities and civil society.

In this exciting age, it isn’t David v/s Goliath anymore; David helps Goliath be nimble enough to solve climate change at the pace we need!