Schneider Electric Climate Change & Sustainability Commitment: Innovation Summit World Tour 2020

Schneider Electric Climate Change & Sustainability Commitment: Innovation Summit World Tour 2020
Schneider Electric Climate Change & Sustainability Commitment: Innovation Summit World Tour 2020

Attending the Schneider Electric Executive Briefing as part of the Innovation Summit World Tour 2020 provided insight into the company’s leadership values, thinking and direction from Chairman and CEO Jean Pascal Tricoire; Philippe Delorme, executive vice-president, energy management; Peter Herweck, executive vice-president, industry automation; and Chris Leong, chief marketing officer.

Covid crisis

Jean Pascal Tricoire opened by noting, “It is difficult at the moment not to be focused on Corvid-19, in our industry the big winner has been digital. Thanks to digital, we communicate even if we can’t travel anymore.”  He described collaboration working from home and remotely operating installations: “Life could go on because we had digitized a number of processes.” Tricoire explained that digitalization helps us achieve far greater efficiency at a much lower cost and with a much faster implementation, lower energy use and leaner operational processes, as well as enabling a positive step change in sustainability.

Climate change & sustainability

Tricoire stated that despite the Corvid-19 crisis, “we at Schneider don’t lose sight of the true priority, which is climate change; by the way, Corvid-19 has made us even more aware of the necessity to respect natural phenomenon and understand what’s happening. We are the third-generation to be aware of climate change and probably the last generation that can change it because 20 years from now is going to be too late; the trajectory will be too far to come back.” He went on to describe the good news is the convergence of technologies including digital, electrification, and renewables “allow us to deal with the resolution of the climate change deadlock.”

Tricoire stated Schneider Electric’s commitment to being the digital partner for their customers for sustainability and efficiency. “Technologies today do exist; what we have to change is our way of designing things and building things. We know that when we are forced to change, we can really change as the experience of Covid has shown.” He emphasized there is not one thing that can solve everything; it is many technologies, applications, partners and customers co-innovating to accomplish sustainability and solve climate change.

Energy management

Philippe Delorme, executive vice-president, energy management, expressed an upbeat view: “We have seen governments and organizations transforming the way they operate in days and weeks; that makes me really optimistic about the future. We believe we can tackle climate change and support the economic recovery quickly in an accelerated timeframe if we take action right now.” He said the goal is quite simple: “Divide by two CO2 emissions by 2040 to limit global warming less than 1.5 degrees. The solutions do exist. It’s about electrification and digitization. Electricity is the most efficient energy and the best vector for decarbonization and combined with digitalization is a powerful tool for achieving massive efficiency.”

Industry of the future: Peter Herweck

Peter Herweck, executive vice-president, industry automation, discussed Schneider Electric’s vision for industry of the future. “Industries have changed dramatically, of course, in the last couple of months in line with what happened with the greater society, not only Covid-19 but demands going up and down, step changes in some industries requiring resiliency and of course climate change has not gone away.” Herweck noted three challenges in the current environment that also represent opportunities:

  1. Companies will require greater agility and flexibility in their manufacturing operations to deal with changing variability including demand, product mix and geographical variations.   

  2. Productivity remains a problem as indicated by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization recent statement that it lingers at 1%. “Despite great technologies cloud, artificial intelligence, machine learning because many of our customers rightfully say don’t come with these buzzwords." He described the solution as the toolbox Schneider and Aveva, and OSIsoft provide that includes software and  automation technology coupled with domain know-how in various areas of industry. “That allows us to drive productivity forward for our customers.”

  3. More sustainability in operations: “It’s about energy consumption and other goods in production.” 

Herweck emphasized that progress on these three challenges result in more efficiency, resiliency, increased profitability and sustainability. At the World Innovation Tour, “we introduce three new games changers that will enable industry 4.0 in areas where we have seen holdbacks of industry.”

About The Author

Bill Lydon brings more than 10 years of writing and editing expertise to, plus more than 25 years of experience designing and applying technology in the automation and controls industry. Lydon started his career as a designer of computer-based machine tool controls; in other positions, he applied programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and process control technology. In addition to working at various large companies (e.g., Sundstrand, Johnson Controls, and Wago), Lydon served a two-year stint as part of a five-person task group, where he designed controls, automation systems, and software for chiller and boiler plant optimization. He was also a product manager for a multimillion-dollar controls and automation product line and president of an industrial control software company.

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