Climate change and environmental sustainability represent some of the greatest challenges for business leaders. Recognizing this, here at Globant, we recently launched the Sustainable Business Studio, to provide organizations with knowledge and expertise to be ready for the green economy.
The studio operates at the intersection of digital technology and sustainability to arm organizations with the tools and processes for building climate roadmaps and sustainability preparedness. Leading this studio is Elena Morettini, a geologist with a Ph.D. in isotope geochemistry and a long background in research, design, and development (RD&D) in the energy industry.
We decided to sit down with Elena and learn more about her vision for the studio, how Globant is helping businesses take a new approach to sustainability and the role of digital technologies in helping companies thrive in today’s new green economy.
Elena, please tell us a little about yourself. We know you are a geologist specialized in isotope geochemistry. How did you become one of the most respected voices on issues of carbon management and climate finance, and now director of Globant’s Sustainable Business Studio?
As a woman in STEM, after my PhD in Lausanne, I was hired by Shell International E&P, working between The Netherlands, Oman, and Abu Dhabi. I went on with international assignments as a passionate oil and gas reservoir geologist for 10 years before landing in Argentina in 2007. Here I was hired by YPF, and for 12 years, I led multidisciplinary teams of geologists and engineers to optimize conventional and unconventional onshore assets production through 3D integrated subsurface modeling and simulations.
Meanwhile, I held the Vice-Chair position for the Horizon2020 EU industry-academia partnership projects on energy and environment for 10 years. From this amazing role – I will always be grateful to the EU for shaping the European technology future through such great programs – and from the coordination of the B20 Argentina Task Force of 2018 on energy, resource efficiency, and sustainability, came the shift from conventional energy to energy transitions, carbon management, and climate finance.
Together with other 3 partners, we decided to fund Because energy matterS, a knowledge partner company that takes organizations and businesses through the technical, governance, and financial sustainability path, to achieve the business legitimacy our present times need. The commitment to these new transformative trends was noticed by Globant, who decided to create a new business line to pursue sustainability services through carbon management techniques and technologies, climate finance, and overall legitimate business.
As a result of the pandemic, companies around the world are rethinking their business models, prioritizing digital transformation and the inclusion of employees and customers. Why has sustainability become such an urgent and relevant aspect of business strategy?
The dramatic pandemic we are experiencing is the result of underestimating science and its voices that already back in 2007 declared the incumbent danger of a new virus from the corona family. The sound of science went silent, unheard, and this is now where the world stands or better, kneeled. Governments and companies now know that the physical limits of the planet cannot be ignored and that climate change is an obnoxious problem dwarfing even this pandemic.
The decade of action to revert climate change is here, and business has painfully understood that past economic linear models are exhausted: limited business models create a limited business. Visionary models create a visionary business. Civil society is pushing in the same direction, making it impossible for business to continue as usual. The decade of action marks the time to listen to science to build back better. And there is no escape from the legitimate consciousness of our planetary duties.
The International Institute for Sustainable Development states that “sustainable development for a company means adopting business strategies that meet the needs of the organization and its shareholders, while protecting, maintaining and improving the natural and human resources that they will be needed in the future”. What role does digital technology play in making companies more responsible?
We have already seen how digital technologies and digital models can have an enormous impact on the scale and the speed of change. This means that if used intelligently, or sustainably, these technologies can help us revert climate change and go beyond carbon neutrality faster than we ever imagined. Put another way: it is clear we can’t accomplish the change we need, without digital technologies.
The business sector has become increasingly aware of the environmental and social impact of their activities and made progress in changing their mindset. How does Globant seek to help companies incorporate and enhance sustainability?
Globant is a world leader in accelerating business models and opportunities. It is now important that we understand that moving globally at an unprecedented pace is positive only if we do so responsibly, fairly, and in a way that truly supports our planetary needs. Globant will technologically support companies to manage their carbon footprints, their people, their finances, and their reporting in ways that are aligned with the needs of our time – fostering the convergence between sustainability and digitalization journeys.
What is the Sustainable Business Studio approach to a company that wants to start down the path of sustainability? What would be the first steps and conditions that they need to succeed?
Any company, whether big or small, needs awareness and readiness. With the Sustainable Business Studio, we can start from there, creating the mindset and the sustainable practices in organizations, even those with limited budgets.
What are the challenges faced by organizations and what digital tools could help them in their path to sustainability?
The greatest challenges are considering sustainability and climate change non-material or financial issues and not classifying them as a double dividend: both a risk and an opportunity. Digital tools are part of training, surveys, calculation, quantifications, all aspects key to this climate culture, and change management. Digitalization is involved in any transformative step of energy and financial transition.
Why is it important that companies that want to become sustainable also consider cultural transformation? What practices and capabilities are essential to promote this change?
The kind of transformation that is required is not only technical. A profound change in our understanding of complex systems is needed. This change will only happen if we work with people and leaders at every level; this is what we mean by culture – deeply changing the way and the angle we see things, working together to make the business legitimate in every aspect. Culture is strategy, and new collaborative ways will reshape those strategies.
Elena, in the IT sector, women have a drop-out rate of 45% higher than that of men. Why is it important to include inclusion and diversity policies and practices within the sustainability strategy of organizations?
Diversity and its active management, that of inclusion, imply bringing to the workforce the most unique and specific talents. Nothing can be done without talent. Because of the transition, we are facing needs to be a just transition, leaving nobody behind, we need to consider diverse talent as a fundamental business asset. We have to be clear and blunt: the future is sustainable only if it is inclusive.
What are your professional desires and aspirations and why do you think Globant is the ideal place to continue your career?
I wish to contribute to a better plural and inclusive world through ethical, transparent, and good-humored leadership and decisions. Globant offers the scale, the diversity, the drive, the freedom, and of course the technology, to transform this wish for a better world into something real.
Relive the virtual seminar “Coding for Climate: The convergence between digitalization and sustainability” carried out together with Elena.
|The Sustainable Business Studio’s practices include:
● E-missions. Provides technical expertise, digital tools and fundamental organizational-wide changes to support clients on a path to certifying carbon neutrality.
● Sustainability today. Fosters cultural transformation and maturity through collaborative practices that honor sustainability, diversity, and inclusion. It includes consulting and training for senior executives and organizational-wide training programs to promote the essential cultural change.
● Up with climate. Offers an analysis of climate material risks and opportunities. The studio produces diagnosis and reports on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG), and climate due diligence.
To learn more about the Sustainable Business Studio, visit our website.