Mitigating climate change by activating the corporate world to change their behaviour

Ashoka Belgium Impact Programme 2020 introduces Kenneth Van den Bergh & Carbon+Alt+Delete (C+A+D). 馃挜 Kenneth gave some insides into C+A+D's activities and how the Impact Programme is supporting them in exploring new opportunities. 馃尡 The Impact Programme is a multi-sector collaboration between Ashoka, ABN AMRO Private Banking Belgium and Accenture Belgium to foster social entrepreneurship in the fields of #circularity and #climatechange.
Carbon Alt Delete presentation

Carbon+Alt+Delete聽started聽out聽in 2017聽as a small project聽to聽help households measure and offset carbon emissions.聽Kenneth Van聽den聽Bergh聽is one of聽the聽four co-founders聽who聽all聽share聽an聽ambition to聽tackle聽what聽they聽believe is the defining challenge of our time: climate change.聽鈥淥ur mission is to mitigate climate change by informing and activating people to change their behavior.鈥 Three years on, climate change聽is rising on the聽corporate agenda, and more and more companies are requesting their help. Supported by the 2020 Ashoka Impact聽Programme, the team is聽creating聽a business plan for聽a聽software tool they are聽developing,聽and聽the first聽pilot聽project聽will be launched聽this year.

Take action聽& pivot聽

Inspiring聽households聽to take climate action is one thing. How can this be adapted to the corporate world? This is the challenge the聽Carbon+Alt+Delete聽team has set itself. The tool they are developing will enable companies to聽calculate聽their annual聽CO2聽emissions, from heating their buildings to company cars and business travel.聽Although聽they are excited聽about聽this聽new聽target group, Kenneth acknowledges聽there are聽challenges:聽鈥淚t鈥檚 still rather early in聽our聽journey.聽The聽most defining moment聽was聽deciding to聽dedicate聽time to launching聽this聽project. That decision created momentum,聽moving聽from聽just聽an idea we discussed聽in meetings to something that聽could聽really have聽an聽impact on聽reducing聽the聽carbon聽footprint聽of companies. Applying to the Impact聽Programme聽and being accepted was a big accelerator.鈥

Energy as motivation聽

Finding solutions聽to聽reduce the waste and overconsumption of energy is what motivates Kenneth on a daily basis.聽鈥淵ou can probably imagine a world without cars, but a world without energy or without a viable climate聽鈥撀爐hat鈥檚 hard to imagine. Working on topics that聽address the聽basic needs聽of聽humans聽has always been appealing to me, and聽from there聽the step to climate change isn鈥檛 that far.鈥 This motivation highlights the qualities of a social entrepreneur: someone聽who goes deeper聽into the systemic problems of a social/environmental problem聽in order聽to find solutions聽that聽change behaviors and shift mindsets.聽聽

聽鈥淐ompanies now聽realize that there is a price聽attached to聽carbon emissions,鈥 Kenneth adds.聽聽鈥淭hey聽are including carbon scenarios in their business strategy. This makes聽us聽optimistic that systemic change is possible, as business dynamics push organizations to include environmental impact in their聽core activities.鈥 聽

Testing assumptions with stakeholders 聽

Although聽the聽Impact聽Programme聽seminars and the weekly coaching have been聽moved聽online聽due to the聽coronavirus, Kenneth聽still聽enjoys receiving an outside perspective during聽his聽weekly discussions with聽senior Ashoka, Accenture and ABN AMRO聽coaches. In addition,聽Carbon+Alt+Delete聽is given access to the聽networks聽of聽these聽three partners, which is an聽opportunity聽to test and validate hypotheses.聽This includes聽talking to companies to聽better聽understand their聽motivation for聽carbon accounting and managing carbon emissions. 聽

聽鈥淚 think the main takeaway is simply talk to other people! You can have a lot of great ideas within your team, but聽that鈥檚 where聽it聽stops. We聽have very similar聽engineering聽backgrounds聽and聽we all think in a similar way.聽Talking to other people聽helps聽to聽bring an outside perspective and聽improve聽the idea.鈥 聽

The corona crisis聽is聽an opportunity to change聽

For Kenneth,聽the upside of聽the corona crisis聽is the聽opportunity聽it offers聽to reflect on聽habits that聽many people聽previously聽took for granted聽in their daily working lives.聽They聽range from appreciating how聽remote working聽can boost efficiency聽and avoid聽wasted聽hours聽of聽commuting,聽to questioning聽the necessity of聽business travel.聽The impact聽on聽global supply chains聽has also been聽enormous and聽this is making聽people think more locally, which聽could have a positive impact on the climate. 鈥淚t鈥檚 still too early聽to know exactly what the long-term聽impact will be聽because everyone is still in a crisis management mindset. However,聽maybe in a couple of months, some of these habits聽that聽are good for the climate will stick and we will move towards a more sustainable lifestyle.鈥 Carbon+Alt+Delete聽certainly hopes to be at the forefront of聽this聽change,聽by actively聽helping households and companies聽contribute to聽a more environmentally sustainable future.