Schneider Electric’s month-long Innovation Summit World Tour 2021 kicked off this week with a keynote speech from company chairman and CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire in which he urged delegates to adopt “critical decarbonization methods.”

The month-long conference, which runs until Nov. 12, will address global climate challenges and focus on Electricity 4.0 and next-generation automation.

In his speech, Tricoire referenced recent findings from The Schneider Electric Sustainability Research Institute, which details the “the need to reduce emissions by 30-50% this decade, compared to current levels. Missing this makes it virtually impossible to limit temperature rise to a 1.5°C degree threshold as outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC).”

“Despite increased momentum around sustainability and more companies adopting ambitious targets to tackle climate change, this research reveals how we need to speed up,” Tricoire said.

Schneider Electric said it is calling for a three to five times greater effort from governments and corporations.

It added that “The Institute believes the only realistic roadmap for success is to deploy proven digital technologies alongside increased electrification as the fastest way to decarbonize buildings, transport, and industry. This approach buys time to address hard-to-abate sectors. Its modelling clearly shows alternative pathways will place too high a burden on consumers.”

To help the cause, on Tuesday it announced the acceleration of its global sustainability consulting business to meet the “increasing demand of organizations making meaningful progress on their energy transition and decarbonization goals.

“The division expansion will double the company’s existing consulting practice and include new services and digital solutions across sustainability strategy, climate action and risk management, ESG reporting and materiality, circularity, and traceability, among others, bolstered by enhanced growth in Europe, APAC, and the Americas.”

Businesses, a release stated, “have increasingly recognized the importance of proactively managing energy and emissions to manage and mitigate climate risk. The disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic heightened this awareness, with some calling the pandemic a trial run for how business and the economy may be impacted by climate change.

“Further, as companies grapple with the impacts of climate-driven extreme weather events such as droughts, flooding, and hurricanes, investor sensitivity to climate-related investment risks has also grown.

”Pressure to decarbonize has particularly intensified for companies with significant disruption/climate risk exposure or activist investors, including oil & gas, financial services, commercial real estate, food & beverage, cloud & service provider, and those in hard-to-abate sectors such as heavy industry and manufacturing.

“Many companies report feeling these pressures for the first time in 2021 as investors scrutinize their portfolios for environmental and social responsibility.”

“We know that addressing climate change is the defining issue of our generation, and that businesses play a key role – but we also know that we must go faster if we are to avoid the worst impacts of warming this century,” said Olivier Blum, the company’s chief strategy and sustainability officer.

“By combining our own experience in sustainability with our market-leading services in decarbonization and energy strategy and action, we can escalate the transition to a cleaner, greener future.”