Collaboration and knowledge key to decarbonization

Against the backdrop of COP28 is the ever-increasing need for everyone to do more to tackle climate change. At Crown, we're building an approach based on knowledge and collaboration.

By Joy Lam

Group ESG Director
Crown Worldwide Group

This week sees the start of COP28, the 2023 edition of the United Nations Climate Conference. The world will convene at Expo City Dubai, in the UAE, to take stock of the ambitious targets set out in the Paris Agreement at COP21, which seeks to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, compared to pre-industrial levels.

To achieve that target, carbon emissions must be halved between now and 2030. And with just seven years to do that COP28 is being positioned as a further opportunity to “rethink, reboot, and refocus the climate agenda”.

As the conference gets underway and as 2023 draws to an end, I have taken the opportunity to reflect on the progress that we have made in our own drive to reduce our carbon impact.

We strongly believe that collaboration and knowledge are critical – not just to Crown, as we begin to substantially step up our own decarbonization efforts – but to global action. It is undisputed that to tangibly drive down carbon emissions, leaders of countries the world over need to be aligned.

But let’s focus for now on what collaboration and knowledge means to us at Crown Worldwide Group.

The power of coming together

Collaboration is critical at every level – and we see with causes of all shapes and sizes that when people unite, action is greater. One of the key steps we’ve taken at Crown this year has been to designate sustainability as a strategic priority and build an extended team committed to reducing our environmental impact.

My appointment was one step in that process, and I’m delighted to be working with Crown’s board on ensuring we deliver sustainable value. We have also established a global sustainability committee, comprising focused and passionate senior individuals from across our global family. They are working on a series of initiatives aimed at moving the company forward in its bid to decarbonize.

One of those key projects has been to develop a network of carbon champions. Crown is a diverse company, employing 3,000 people and operating across more than 40 different countries. Having incentivized and engaged individuals in all of our locations, driving action in line with our broader aims, is an essential part of our program.

This collaboration, across all levels and brands within Crown Worldwide Group, will ensure a joined-up and impactful approach.
But it is important that collaboration extends beyond our own house. We occupy a unique position in a globalized industry, a huge network of organizations responsible for moving people, goods and information from A to B. This means we need to connect with clients and, in particular, partners to ensure we join forces to reduce impact. We have started that work to engage partners, collaborate with clients and foster a community that is united in its desire to reduce carbon footprint.

Knowledge and data

We recognize, too, that making pragmatic and informed decisions around reducing our own emissions relies on data and knowledge.
The latter is intrinsically linked to collaboration: how can we foster positive collaboration if we don’t know what we’re working to achieve and why?

This year, we have embarked on a program aimed at enhancing the knowledge of our people. So far this work has seen staff complete 2723 courses, amounting to 2504 hours of sustainability training. One hundred and thirty-one staff have now been certified carbon literate. This means we are building a base of inspired and informed colleagues, unified behind the climate cause and armed with the knowledge that will help power our effort to reduce carbon emissions.

When it comes to data, we have partnered with Normative, a carbon accounting software platform in 2023, to begin to more accurately tracking our carbon footprint. The database that we build using this platform will enable us take stock of what we’re currently doing well, and where, and then build a net-zero strategy throughout 2024.

That’s not to say that we’ve been standing still in recent years. These two key initiatives will enable our organization to build on the good work and expertise already undertaken in various quarters of our operations. Last year, the UK team reported that it has achieved a 38 per cent reduction in carbon emissions since 2019, deploying a number of initiatives in the process. Our team in Malaysia and New Zeland have set net zero targets, while we’re in the process of procuring renewable energy and integrating electric vehicles into our fleets, to power our operations across the world.  

COP28 and beyond

The corporate world is taking a lead to ensure businesses and organizations make the most positive contribution possible to the Paris Agreement’s goals. As leaders and legislators convene in Dubai, we’re proud to be driving forward with our own strategic initiatives – powered by collaboration and knowledge – as the climate emergency heightens, and increased action becomes imperative.  

Read our 2023 Sustainability Report