Climate 21

Saving The Planet Is Now A Communications Challenge - A Chat With Dedlyne Co-Founder Huw Bunn

September 29, 2021 Tom Raftery / Huw Bunn Season 1 Episode 42
Climate 21
Saving The Planet Is Now A Communications Challenge - A Chat With Dedlyne Co-Founder Huw Bunn
Show Notes Transcript

There's a lot of talk these days about targets - be it Net Zero targets, SDGs, or other targets, but how do we measure progress against those targets?

Dedlyne is a startup based in the UK which aims to help out here by offering a  dashboard with a very easy-to-understand interface - a simple date, which is articulated in a dial, which is red, Amber, or green, depending on how well an organisation is doing.

I invited Dedlyne co-founder Huw Bunn to come on the podcast to explain their proposition. We had a fascinating conversation around sustainability, targets, and communications. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation, I learned loads as always, and I hope you do too.

If you have any comments/suggestions or questions for the podcast - feel free to leave me a voice message over on my SpeakPipe page, head on over to the Climate 21 Podcast Forum, or just send it to me as a direct message on Twitter/LinkedIn. Audio messages will get played (unless you specifically ask me not to).

And if you want to know more about any of SAP's Sustainability solutions, head on over to www.sap.com/sustainability, and if you liked this show, please don't forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover the show. Thanks.

And remember, stay healthy, stay safe, stay sane!

Music credit - Intro and Outro music for this podcast was composed, played, and produced by my daughter Luna Juniper

Huw Bunn:

It's about helping people understand where they are on their journey, how quickly they're going to meet the targets that we all need them to, and how quickly they need to accelerate if they're not meeting that start. And you know, this orientation around being going back to the date is we've just cut through all the chitchat. And, you know, the hypothetical 1.5 versus all that sort of stuff.

Tom Raftery:

Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, wherever you are in the world. This is the climate 21 podcast, the number one podcast showcasing best practices and climate emissions reductions. And I'm your host, global Vice President for SAP. Tom Raftery. Clemmer. 21 is the name of an initiative by SAP to allow our customers calculate, report and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. In this climate 21 podcast, I will showcase best practices and thought leadership, by SAP, by our customers, by our partners and by our competitors if their game in climate emissions reductions. Don't forget to subscribe to this podcast in your podcast app of choice to be sure you don't miss any episodes. Hi, everyone. Welcome to the climate 21 podcast. My name is Tom Raftery, with SAP and with me on the show today I have my special guest, Huw, Huw, would you like to introduce yourself?

Huw Bunn:

Yeah, morning, Tom, and everyone out there. My name is Huw Bunn, I'm the founder of a business called Dedlyne. And we're based in the UK. We're essentially creating a methodology by which we're estimating the attainment dates of businesses against their sustainability targets, as expressed by United Nation goals, or net zero or whatever else it might be. and expressing that as a simple date, which is articulated in a dial, which is red, Amber, or green, depending on how well they're doing. Unfortunately, for a podcast, I can't show you it. But if you think of a credit, or credit rating stamp type dial, that's exactly what you get.

Tom Raftery:

And so this is this is for the UN SDGs. If organizations are if organizations have committed to meeting those, they can use Dedlyne to see how well they're getting towards those commitments. Is that it?

Huw Bunn:

Yeah, so I think it's equally applicable to SDGs. we base it around that because they're the most commonly used. But likewise, you can you can look at net zero targets, you can basically take data, which based on your performance, not on your promises, but the performance of a business, and then estimate when you might be wanting to hit those particular targets by Yes, that's the that's the intention.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, why is that important?

Huw Bunn:

Well, I think my my hero of all time is Sir David Attenborough. And I think he said, No, saving the planet is now a communications challenge. And I totally agree with that, I think it's, there are so many people who want to do the right thing become more sustainable, adopt ESG practice, whatever way they express that desire. But unfortunately, it's very, very complex for very many businesses. And it's either very time consuming, or very costly to understand in a quick way, where you are, where your business partners are. And this is meant to resolve that communications issue by showing a date, which is the one unifying thing which the SDGs for instance, have, which is the state of 2013. And expressing it in a very simple way like that. So it is meant to help more people realize the intention that they do have within sustainability aims.

Tom Raftery:

So it's a dashboard, essentially, where you're showing people whether they are, as you said, red, Amber or green, red being, you are in trouble, you're not going to get the deadline. Amber being you're kind of cutting it fine. And green being all systems go.

Huw Bunn:

Yeah, no, exactly. But we actually within those red, Amber and green, we also have a date, which is the estimated attainment data of those of those targets based on actual performance of a business. So we don't take into account promises of doing something next year or the year afterwards. And they've all been on all that sort of stuff, we just look at the actual performance of a business and calculating attainment dates based on that. So that's where it would differ, I guess from some of the other approaches which are around which have just a standardized dashboard. This actually has a date. And the importance of that, I think is it gives you a much better indication of how much more you need to do to hit those important targets and important dates. So you can understand how quickly you have to accelerate or indeed, you know, if if you're not providing the right data, you know how to get that data and reflect your performance better. So it's the it's the day to day She's really important within this very simple dashboard framework.

Tom Raftery:

And how are you calculating that?

Huw Bunn:

Well, there are different ways of calculating from a mathematical sense. We've just completed a report, which we did to prove the concept if you like, which was based on the UN SDGs. And we took a very simple approach, which the UN actually approached, adopted themselves a few years ago, which is just a linear progress. So if you carry on your current behavior, this is when you will, are estimated to your SDG targets. The UN actually did it on the gender pay gap. And they said, he wouldn't be reached until 2086, or close until 2086. So we've done that for all the SDGs all the targets, all the countries, based on current data, openly accessible data, and the trends within those data. And estimated targets, target achievement dates for all of them.

Tom Raftery:

So we're right on target. Yeah.

Huw Bunn:

That it would be fair to say, it would be fair to say we're not on target. And then it is. And before I you know, perhaps there's some depressing news about all of this, but this is intended not to hold people to account, I've got one a naughty step and say, Look, you should be doing more, it's actually meant to just reflect the performance and the behavior within that organization. We the organisation of business or, or a country. But yes, there are there are some depressing statistics coming out of that. And for climate change, for instance, there's only one country that we can calculate based on current behavior, which hits a target by 2030. And I know, I know, the Paris Agreement is slightly different, but it's Lebanon is the only country and and the worst. The worst country in terms of attainment dates, is Australia, which is at 714. Now, it's what no, at 740 8000 year, yeah, so the 8914, the ninth millennium. Yes. So now, I mean, we're not suggesting that these these dates are wholly accurate in that sense, but it gives you a very good indication of direction of travel.

Tom Raftery:

All the people in at 714 are going to be waiting to see and holding them to account based on your dashboard.

Huw Bunn:

Yeah. I mean, again, it's it's, you know, we're not suggesting this is wholly accurate in that sense, in a predictive sense. Although once once you once you create the right methodology, you can get more accurate in terms of predicting dates. But it certainly does give you a moat.

Tom Raftery:

It's a modeling thing, right? I mean, it's it's like the, the the models are climate scientists are using, either. I mean, we saw, oh, I forgotten the name of the climate scientists that was in front of Congress recently in the US. And he was showing, or they were showing the model that he created, and his team created when he was working for Exxon, back in 1980. And it showed where the co2 and where the temperature would be in 2020. So 40 years later, and he was pretty much spot on. So you know, climate models, even 40 years ago, are pretty, we're pretty accurate. So you know, these models can can be pretty good.

Huw Bunn:

Yes, absolutely. And I think it's important as well, to embrace all of the different aspects of sustainability within this and not all the SDGs are good to measure the company level, obviously, climate, certainly one, equality is another one, which is massively important. And, you know, so if you look at the gender pay gap, for instance, that of the 193 signatories of the, the SDGs are only 15, that provided gender pay gap in information. And of those five showed that the tendencies were in reverse. So that's, that's, you know, and these are just this is when we're not making, we're just reflecting what the data says. And hopefully that gives people a will, a sense of where things are good and bad. And there are some great things that come out of this as well. Some very surprising cases and stuff. But it is meant to just allow everybody to be more aware of sustainability in a way that everybody can understand. I like it, I liken it, having three children who have just gone through education and gone to further education, to ask him encouraging my children to do their homework, but also making sure they hand it in on time. And and that's this, this it's a simple, simple message, perhaps over simple but it's deliberately meant to solve what for David Attenborough has said is the root cause of maybe the solution sustainability, which is to create a much simpler way in which people can understand it. And we believe that they will help people do

Tom Raftery:

that. Sure, sure. I mean, it's, it's like any project management thing. Where you set milestones and you have to try and meet those, this is similar to that organization, can set milestones be at 2030 or something sooner or something later and then see how they're going towards the milestones they set, right?

Huw Bunn:

Yes, of course, yes. And I think it just takes a little bit of the sentiments out of it really, because you can then track over time, how a company or countries is performing against those milestones. And, and with this incredible age of technology, technological solutions that we have with blockchain, where you can get much more immediate, real time reporting of of impact and progress, then, you know, these dates can reflect that much better, the technology is there to do that. So it's not meant to be all doom and gloom, it's meant to sort of encourage the adoption of approaches where either a data gap can be solved, or a strategy can be enhanced, or, you know, invest investment decisions, or r&d investments from a company can be realigned to make greater impact. So it's meant to be a positive thing, not not just a sort of a, I'd love to see all these dials coming downwards in in speed.

Tom Raftery:

And do you do any prescriptive work as well? I mean, if companies are heavily in the red, do you give them suggestions on actions they could take to move more towards the amber at least?

Huw Bunn:

Yes, yes, we can do that. And we also have partners, we will help to do that as well, who may know them better, who may, you know, say, Well, actually, we need to sort of, you know, to have a do perform an environmental audit, we, you know, to make sure we are releasing the right data to stock markets, and all that sort of stuff. Again, we're not set up to do that. But we know people who can do that for them, you know, for this to work for it for for everybody. It's all about partnerships and working with people who can deliver stuff quickly. And so an environmental audit isn't something we could do quickly. But we do know, very well, people who can do that, and at a good level. So across the whole, you know, audit strategy implementation phase of

Tom Raftery:

things. And where does the data for this come from?

Huw Bunn:

Well from for the UN, it was from open source un data, if it was a supply chain issue, which I know is another another cause close to your heart, that may come from proprietary data from within a business to sort of evaluate their supply chain, again, looking maybe looking at some other external data to make sure you can benchmark a sector product properly, and adequately. So the data will come from different sources, depending on what the what the use cases.

Tom Raftery:

So if, if I sign up for this for my company, if I had a company, like I could pipe in my, let's say, my electricity provider, push that data into it, so that that way that I can see how my emissions are from my use of energy, is that a good

Huw Bunn:

thing and we'll also look at planting data across a wide number of things like equality, inclusion, anti slavery, practice, all those sort of regular indicators of of a good sustainable business. And I think that's, that's what's really important to make sure, you've got the benefits of being a sustainable business, which, after all, is just a business which can survive the pressures from the external markets and regulatory needs, and all that sort of stuff. those definitions have changed, the definition of the same hasn't changed, really, the outside influences have an all we're trying to do is make sure we're reflecting those.

Tom Raftery:

And a lot of that data is now having to be collected, because there's increasingly regulation around the measuring monitoring and reporting of this kind of information to write.

Huw Bunn:

Yes, of course, yeah. And if you look at scope, three reporting requirements, you know, lots of owners of large supply chains will have the resource to be able to understand what's required, a lot of people within their supply chains won't, because they just mean the definition of scope three alone runs to about 170 pages. So it's not many people with outside of a large business who can afford the time and intelligence to be able to understand what to do that. So again, this is meant to provide a simple, frictionless way of, of engaging with supply chains based on simple information.

Tom Raftery:

And it's cloud delivered. Yes, it would be. Okay, cool. How do people access it?

Huw Bunn:

Well, if you want to get in touch with me, in the first case, that would be that would be the great thing here. deadline.co.uk. And, as I say, we're sort of developing the model at the moment we've done proof of concepts and we know it works. So you get to talk to people. Yes.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. Superb, and where to from here? You've got this platform now, to the state it's at today. What are your plans for next week, next year, five years time. 20 30 to throw a data

Huw Bunn:

on your day was coming. Yeah, so no, I think what we want to do is to is is to establish the platform as a, as a acknowledged reporting method for for sustainability for businesses, we would also very much like to having just done the UN SDGs as a sort of a hobby, if you like, and evaluated that we'd like to set that up as a not for profit, because we believe that's a really useful resource for everybody to understand how the how the world is progressing against the SDGs. And also educational tools and things like that, and come up with that. So that's a separate sort of side. But from the business side, it's it's trying to get the this data adopted by businesses as a way of easily measuring their supply chains, for instance, and for independent businesses to understand how they can start their journey of of sustainability to become a more sustainable business. After all, there are 4 million SMEs in the UK alone 30 million US who probably have very little option in terms of how to start doing that, there are some great tools out there B core is brilliant, but the way their model is set up, it's not for scale, it's for much more of a smaller quantum qualitative approach. Whereas ours is much more about scale to get people on the way. And thereafter they can, they can deal delve deeper into working with people at the core, or planet mark, or whoever else they may want to work with, who will give them much more expertise in a specific area. So we're a bit like that. We're a bit like your, your general practitioner, if we're a doctor, and then you can go off to the specialist and get some treatment afterwards. I think if that's the analogy that works,

Tom Raftery:

and where are you in terms of achieving your own goals? Are you on a kind of a red, or

Huw Bunn:

green? I think with any startup, it can go, all three of those colors can be present in the same day, you know, so I think, having done this before, I think any startup out there will understand that it's, it's, this is a green moment for me, Tom, so this is a this is good for me. But yeah, no, we're getting there, we will get there. I think patience is part of it, but also an urgency to get the hopefully get this simple communication tool out that people

Tom Raftery:

cool and why? Why did you get into this? What What, what's your motivation for doing this?

Huw Bunn:

Well, I think, you know, within my career, I have worked in large consumer based organizations, I've run a consulting business, I'm of an age as well, where I've got some grown up kids, we've been through education, higher education, and I think it's a little bit like, I've probably gone along my career may making good money without really understanding the impact it may have had on the environments and, you know, especially consumption, you know, SDG, 12, you know, all that sort of stuff, responsible consumption production. And, you know, I've flown on a plane to Brazil to give a presentation for now and flown back again, all that sort of stuff, which is, yeah, and, you know, I just, I just want to do what I can, you know, for my kids, to, to create, you know, and for everybody else, hopefully, and make some form of contribution to what's going on, and all the good efforts that lots of people are making at the moment, given everything you've seen,

Tom Raftery:

and given the reports you showed where, you know, countries are not doing as well as they should be doing. Are you optimistic?

Huw Bunn:

I think there's a lot to be optimistic about, if you dig beneath the surface, and you find the right, touch points, really. I think climate is one where, and I think, you know, we've discussed this before, Tom about you know, there are no longer non radical decisions to be made for climate. I can't remember you can probably tell the quote just after this, but then the decision really was

Tom Raftery:

that's that's a quote from Professor Kevin Anderson. He's a climate scientist. Yeah, where he says, there are no non radical futures. And I absolutely loved the quote, let me read it out there because I think people should know this and be aware of it on here and sorry for interrupting you. Come now and then remember, remember where you were, and we'll come back to it sorry. The the quote from Kevin Anderson, Professor Kevin Anderson is we face an unavoidably radical future. We either continue with rising emissions and reap the radical repercussions of severe climate change. Or we acknowledge that we have a choice, and we pursue radical emissions reductions, there is no longer a non radical option. And he made that quote in 2013. Yeah, prescient, so yeah, only only radical futures, we have to decide which one we're going

Huw Bunn:

for. Yes. And I think again, there's a call Yes, about the only choice we've got is option we've got now to meet that choice about zero options. Is to label the carbon in the ground and not use it again, just leave it that. But you know, I hope hopefully what we can all do, who get involved in sustainability is to is to make our own contribution, I believe in that as well. You know, switch the lights off at home, and we'll do all that good stuff. But then also, if you've got some time and capability to try and try and do something which can help other people as well,

Tom Raftery:

yeah, yeah. And one of the things that people can do that, you know, I've done is to switch everything to electric. So have no gas at home, have an electric car of electric heating, have electric everything, and then source of fully renewable electricity provider. And that that can work in your home environment, it can work in your work environment, it's, you know, it's one of the easy, simple, low hanging fruit ways to reduce your own emissions as a as an organization or be it as an individual.

Huw Bunn:

Yes, no, absolutely no. And I think what's interesting is if you want to start on this personal journey of of looking at sustainability in its broadest sense, and beyond climate, and you just need to read the newspaper. And probably two stories in every page has to do with equality, inclusion, climate, biodiversity loss, again, you know, it, there's a huge amount going on. Yeah, it's massively important. And you know, I'm totally inspired by people like Ralph charmi, at the IMF and his rebalances. The way they revalue the whales within the world, and their carbon capture and sequestration, abilities, all that sort of stuff. So once you once you embrace your personal journey about sustainability, you can't help but notice it everywhere, which can be a bit annoying. But but also you get, you get to learn a lot about how the world should be.

Tom Raftery:

And it's interesting, you mentioned, it is interesting you mentioned the whale story, because this is the third time that has been mentioned on this podcast. The first time was by Professor David King. Yeah, he mentioned that he's he's now the head of the Center for climate repair in Cambridge. And this is one of the methods that they're looking into for carbon sequestration. And then a guy called Robert Gardner mentioned it a couple of weeks back, and he works for St. James place wealth management. And he got into a conversation with me on this about not just wealth management, but also about biodiversity to your point and how well poop can be used to sequester massive amounts of carbon. And he was talking about maybe using it as a financial instrument, setting up whale coin was what he talked about as a form of decentralized finance tool. And I'm not sure how seriously he meant that comment. But you know, if it was an interesting one to toss out there and know yourself. So it is, I mean, biodiversity is a huge potential sequester of carbon, which is one of the ways that we should be looking, I think, Adam, and your other point, was very interesting as well, because it's very true about leaving carbon in the ground. There's a concept known as the carbon budget that's been around for a number of years now. And what the carbon budget says is that we know that we want to limit our global warming to one and a half to two degrees C. I think one and a half is pretty ambitious at this point two degrees C is no I think we're most people are thinking we might just about be able to stop. So if we say we're going to limit global warming to two degrees C, and we know where we're at today, we can calculate the difference in terms of Giga tons of co2, we know. And we can calculate how many gigatons of co2, we need to inject into the atmosphere to reach two degrees C. And it turns out that figure is around. I'm going to pick a round number. No, it's a wrong number. It's a number that changes every day anyway, as more co2 in the atmosphere, but let's say the number is 1000 Giga tons. If the numbers 1000 Giga tons than the amount of proven reserves of the fossil fuel companies and countries is around 3000 Giga tons. Again, not absolutely correct, but it's the right order of magnitude. Yeah. So that means and they say the proven reserves for people who are not aware of the proven reserves is the amount of fossil fuels that these companies have discovered and have said, Okay, this particular field we just found now has x million barrels of oil or gas in it. And so they can go to the bank and they say we have this, we've discovered this field. It has x million barrels of oil or gas in it, so Can we borrow against that, and it's what their capital is what the capital markets value them at. So the value of these fossil fuel companies and countries is based on their proven reserves the fossil fuels that they have discovered, but have not yet extracted. So they're proven reserves are three times what we can safely actually burn to get to two degrees C. So that means that's why they're fighting tooth and nail against any legislation to start them, extracting that value from the ground and pumping it into the air. That's why a couple of years ago, Saudi opened the taps and reduced the price of oil per barrel because they wanted every possible gigaton in the atmosphere to be a Saudi Giga ton, because, you know, that's how they earn their money. It's by shoving gigatons into the atmosphere. So when you think of fossil fuel companies, if they are talking about net zero, you got to be wondering, and if they're because they, today they earn their money by shoving Giga tons in the atmosphere. And they are incentivized to do so because they've discovered all this stuff. And they are their exploration programs. I mean, if if a fossil fuel company has an upstream exploration arm, you got to ask why? It means they're not serious. Because if they have an upstream exploration business, but what they already have discovered, they can only exploit 1/3 of it, then why are they looking for more? And it makes zero sense.

Huw Bunn:

And I think it's really interesting, what you say is that actually, we all need the energy companies to transition quickly. And because not just because of what they do currently, but because of the resources and expertise, and, and cash that they have available to deploy to more sustainable solutions. And I think if you know, they are incredibly sophisticated, well run, you know, you can't sort of deny it, and so you can't put them out of business, necessarily. What we what you can do is is training, through looking at their real commitment, and their commitment can only be measured by how quickly I can meet these targets, you know, then you want them to deploy those assets really quickly. And that will help us all, if they all did it tomorrow, we could be in a much better place today afterwards. So it's, you know, I don't think the extremist of saying that there's a naughty boy step somewhere, which we're going to virtually put everybody on, I think is there's not necessarily, for me the most pragmatic way of getting things done. I take your points about the cynicism about, if you have an upstream upstream exploration unit, then then you can't be serious to quote john McEnroe. So who is showing my age? But certainly, certainly, you know, it's about it's about helping people understand where they are on their journey, how quickly they're going to meet the targets that we all need them to, and how quickly they need to accelerate if they're not meeting their standards. And you know, this orientation around going back to the data is we believe in just cuts through all the chitchat. And, you know, the hypothetical 1.5 versus two, all that sort of stuff. And just says, this is where you're This is where your current behavior is getting us. So, and that's

Tom Raftery:

and set science based targets, and then use it to like deadline to measure it against them.

Huw Bunn:

Yes. And just make it very simple. And for everybody to understand, we're all stakeholders in this, whether you're an employee, you're a consumer, a shareholder, and a politician, and we missed it, you know, again, the, we've had the conversation before, Tom about it's 100 months, I think you said before the start of the end of 2030 of start that next year after that, it's less than 1500 days, when our government set, you know, anywhere around the world. So, you know, that's not many, you know, again, going back to the children analogy, that's not many sleeps till Christmas sort of thing. So, you know, it's, and, you know, what we, what we can't do is to, especially as we come out of COVID, is to, and we desire to week, restart our economies is to think, you know, shop our way into sustainability, and that's not going to help. And, you know, we were talking before about the one case of COVID in China shut down and the second biggest port and 48 ships waiting to get in. And I think you were saying it was how many ships into San Francisco?

Tom Raftery:

65 I read this morning, 65 sitting outside Long Beach and Los Angeles waiting to get in.

Huw Bunn:

Yeah, so that's 100 ships around the world just waiting to get into port and they're, They're not alone. I'm sure it must be God knows how many. So you know, shopping our way to a better world isn't, isn't the way to do that. And interestingly, if you look at SDG, 12, which is sustainable consumption and production, and you look at the available data from the UN, which is why the World Bank or based on World Bank data, we could not calculate one single date, because there is no data available. So, you know, if there's a date, and the way we calculated for the UN was very benevolent, it was if there was one piece of data for one country, we would give that country a date, we ignored trends in reverse, because, you know, he wants to start somewhere. But there is no data available that we can find for SDG 12, which is responsible, irresponsible consumption, irresponsible production is arguably what's got us here in the first place. So So, you know, so hopefully, things will change in this data will flood in and these dates will come tumbling down, and it'd be great.

Tom Raftery:

Fantastic. Whew, we're coming towards the end of the podcast. Now, is there any question I haven't asked that you wish I had, or any topic we've not addressed that you think, you know, it's important for people to think about

Huw Bunn:

now and I think it's just what we're trying to do is help people communicate to each other, you know, be in a business or across the supply chain, or expectations you might have of your of your, your governments or local governments and all that sort of thing. So, you know, hopefully what we're doing is we'll give that simple cut through and, and hopefully one day I can get to see Dave and ask for his hand and thank him for his inspiration.

Tom Raftery:

I will be right there with you. Hugh, if people want to know more about yourself, or about a deadline, or any of the things we discussed in the podcast today, where would you have me direct them?

Huw Bunn:

Well, either my LinkedIn profile, which I guess this will go out on this podcast will go on or huw, which is H u w, and deadline which is d e d l y n e .co. uk.

Tom Raftery:

Super, super. Whew, that's been great. Thanks a million for coming on the podcast today.

Huw Bunn:

Thank you very much. It's been a great pleasure.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, we've come to the end of the show. Thanks, everyone for listening. If you'd like to know more about climate 21, feel free to drop me an email to Tom raftery@sap.com or connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you'd like to show please don't forget to subscribe to it in your podcast application of choice to get new episodes as soon as they're published. Also, please don't forget to rate and review the podcast it really does help new people to find the show. Thanks. Catch you all next time.