“Sustainable Champions, that’s what we are!” said one of my (many!) favorite colleagues, raising his arms triumphantly into the air. He and his seven teammates just finished an exercise where groups of senior leaders were tasked to go carbon neutral in 25 minutes.
Equipped with a big cardboard game board on the floor, a deck of various carbon emission reduction initiatives, green electricity options and carbon offsets with and without social benefits, the teams were tasked to take away 50,000 tons of CO2e (e stands for equivalent) in the most cost-efficient way. Just as in real life, however, they were encouraged to look at other factors too, like how long it would take to implement the initiatives, short term vs. long term effects and the potential brand and employee engagement value.
I was nervous when introducing the challenge. It was the culmination of an intense process to invent a game that would strike the right balance between detail and accuracy vs. the learning objective: To illustrate what it means to go carbon neutral, how it can be done and the trade-offs and implications of whichever route a business pursues. At the end of the day, the potential win would be to have 130 ambassadors for our Sustainability program across the company. Certainly worth going for! If we failed, however, it would be in front of some of the most influential people in the business…
But these are also some of the brightest people I know and, of course, they embraced the challenge head on, immediately putting their combined ingenuity to work.
Putting together the right team and strategy to take LM Wind Power carbon neutral is an elaborate, complex, multi-year program…we gave these leaders 30 minutes! Despite the tight agenda, the teams managed to propose carbon neutrality programs that comprised of a thoughtful mix of energy reductions in the factories, procurement of renewable electricity and encouraging carpooling and public transportation for employees. Not surprisingly given the industry we are in, a majority of teams also went for installing wind turbines to power the operations and some installed solar panels. Carbon offsets from wind farms and other projects would compensate for the emissions that couldn’t be eliminated in other ways.
The level of investment varied a lot! The cheapest program came at less than EUR 1 million and the most expensive was EUR 11 million. This was a good illustration of one of the main points of the game: There’s no ‘one size fits all’ way of going carbon neutral. Rather, each organization needs to find the way that suits their strategy, budget and ambition level.
The smiles on the faces of my perspiring colleagues, giving high fives all around at the end of the challenge, also reflects that these decisions can be hard and require proper engagement and sometimes negotiation and compromise. But when we succeed, it feels great and it’s a win for both the company and for the planet!
If you want to know more about our Go Carbon Neutral Game or maybe even want to try it out, just let me know.
-Lene Mi Ran Kristiansen, Senior Manager, Communications & Sustainability
Ready, set, go carbon neutral!
In this original game, 130 corporate leaders simulate real life decisions to balance CO2 emissions. See how they did.
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