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Inside Insights: Sustainability Heats Up

Michael Zimmerman Michael Zimmerman
Managing Editor, Insights, Hitachi Vantara

July 28, 2022

As historic heatwaves bake the planet the global conversation is rapidly moving from emissions control to crisis control – keeping people alive.

According to the Cool Coalition, a group formed by the United Nations Environment Programme in 2019, about 30% of the world’s population is currently exposed to life-threatening high temperatures for at least 20 days a year. Not surprisingly, the most vulnerable are senior citizens, children, economically distressed areas, and those with cardiovascular and respiratory challenges. 

In one of its latest moves to combat the climate crisis, the United Nations-Habitat announced earlier this month the creation of its first Global Chief Heat Officer (CHO), Eleni Myrivili, to coordinate “response and resilience measures” across UN agencies, raise awareness, and help organizations identify opportunities to bring cooling solutions to cities in need.

But Myrivili and officials in municipalities everywhere face a cruel paradox: not only do cooling systems require carbon-emitting fossil fuel energy, but the machines themselves generate additional heat. This challenge is only expected to get worse, as extreme heatwaves become more frequent and populations grow. According to The Future of Cooling, a 2018 study by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the use of air conditioners and electric fans at the time accounted for about 1/5 of the electricity consumed by buildings around the world. The group predicted that over the next 30 years, the use of air conditioners would grow to be one of the leading electrical hogs.

The electrical conundrum was captured last month by Hitachi Vantara CTO Emeritus, Hu Yoshida, in his story, One Way to Solve Electricity’s Energy Problem. In it, Yoshida speaks about the rise of the electric vehicle and its impact on the electrical grid. “Electricity,” he wrote, “has a carbon problem.”

Driving the Sustainability Story

Since the launch of Insights by Hitachi Vantara in January, we’ve articulated points of view about the need to embrace sustainable practices from a variety of experts. Probably no better example, however, came on Earth Day when Sarang Kirpekar laid out Hitachi Vantara’s own green blueprint. In the story, Kirpekar, our Senior Vice President, Head of Product Engineering and Head of Sustainability, shared the planning behind our approach and was offered up as a guide for others to emulate or reference.

We’ve also worked to dispel the myth that going green is costly or detrimental to growth. Our Global Technology Advisor and Executive Analyst, Tom Christensen, put both to rest in a single swoop in, Decarbing the Data Center is Good for Business, Planet. Through thoughtful preparation, the use of smarter infrastructure and deliberate, smarter data management, he explained that companies can dramatically lower their carbon emissions while improving business performance. In follow up story, Christensen dispelled yet another myth and spoke to the value of deliberately blending digital and sustainable programs as one.

Sustainability is resonating with investors, as well, with ESG-related investments reaching $35.3 trillion in 2020. That’s good for companies and the planet, said our Suranjan Som, Vice President and Head of Financial Services. In an April story, he wrote, “governments and international bodies, like the G20 and the G8, will introduce pro-green measures that set standards and goals for a range of initiatives, from reducing the use of coal to pledging to reach net zero emissions by certain dates.”

Som called attention to growing problem of ‘greenwashing,’ the misleading or fraudulent environmental claims by companies and highlighted efforts by the SEC, the European Union, and the U.K.’s FCA to put preventative measures in place. (In May, the SEC announced two sets of “Proposed Rule” amendments to “require registered investment advisers…and business development companies, to provide additional information regarding their environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) investment practices.”)

Hitachi Vantara is certainly not alone in its drive for sustainability. As noted, green investment is soaring, programs and processes are being adopted across industries, and standards and regulations are forming. In an informal LinkedIn poll we conducted recently, we learned that 34% of followers said their companies were adopting Sustainability (ESG) more quickly than any other program. In the same survey, 34% named Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) as the most rapidly adopted programs.

The subject matter experts within Insights have made it clear over the past six months that organizations have a responsibility to their people and the planet. In Making Mental Health a Business Priority, Hitachi Vantara CEO, Gajen Kandiah, issued a call to action: “There is no time to waste,” he wrote. “It is critical that organizations begin to immediately address the health of the workforce, from a holistic, mind, body and spirit perspective and build and cultivate empathetic, diverse and inclusive environments.”

In another post, The Value of Creating a Culture of Learning, Kandiah speaks eloquently to positive impact of continuous learning and the need to build learning into the business culture for the health and wellbeing of the workforce, as well as the organization.

Going Deep on Data

At the core of ESG, of course, is data. And over the past six months our experts have shared new ideas on data fabrics, data management, and data quality like no other digital provider. They’ve presented innovative and practical ways to thwart the scourge of cybercrime imploring readers to focus on protecting the data – first. In fact, when it comes to cybercrime and ransomware, our experts have gone to the mat, laying out the critical steps needed to build a holistic prevention guide, the need to tighten the software supply chains of aggregated code, and the need to establish Zero Trust Architectures.

I’ve merely scratched the surface of our coverage on Insights in these short six months. There’s much more to absorb on the pages involving Cloud, the Digitalization of IndustriesAIInfrastructureDigital StrategyDataOps, and ESG.

We know that explaining what we care about as a company is just as important as what sell, and that’s one of the prime goals of Insights. The emotion was recently affirmed in another informal LinkedIn poll that asked followers what they cared most about their technology partner. According to the poll, 55% said they wanted to know an equal amount about what a company sells and where is stands on issues like ESG.

As the heat remains high, new COVID warnings grow louder, inflation soars, and a possible recession looms we’ll continue to post stories that explain our points of view on issues and puts context around the trends.


Michael Zimmerman

Michael Zimmerman

Mike is managing editor of thought leadership, including Hitachi Vantara Insights and corporate Newsroom. Before joining the company, he spent +25 years in journalism and communications, working  with edit teams and business leaders to craft stories of import and interest.