Orchestras, climate action and the Moonrise Kingdom

Dive into a creative reflection on stakeholder collaboration for supply chain climate action and the global alignment around the 1.5°C ambition. When it comes to climate action, find out why collaboration is the key to success through the lens of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.

Orchestras, climate action and Moonrise Kingdom

Responsible Sourcing Program Manager

Responsible Sourcing Program Manager

The beginning

Intro and selective fascination

Have you seen Moonrise Kingdom, the Wes Anderson film from 2012? I have. To be honest, I don’t remember much of it. There was something about a chimney, and kids running away. But I do remember the very first tune in the first few minutes of the film, and the meaning of it, my meaning, striking me in the last few minutes of the film.

The tune was Benjamin Britten’s “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”. It is a piece of music that demonstrates how an orchestra is put together with its different parts and instruments. The tune lets you hear the separate instrument families: the woodwinds, the brass, the strings and the percussions, and how they come together as a full orchestra.

But we are not here to talk about music. My purpose here is to talk about Ericsson’s approach to supply chain climate action. However, not unlike what Benjamin Britten is demonstrating with this tune, climate action is something that needs to be orchestrated, and that can only reach full effect when all the players are aligned, know what to do, and when to do it. And not much unlike Britten, we have a guide!

The middle

Film clip 1: The runaways meet and decide where to go

Playbook and knowing where to go

Ericsson is one of the partners behind the 1.5°C business playbook, a spinoff of the Exponential Roadmap initiative. For those not familiar with the concept of a playbook, it’s often described as a script for how actors are to act in a play. In American football it’s similarly used to describe the plays and strategies used by the team. In business, it refers to a set of plans and strategies. Basically, it’s a guide for what to do.

In general, most of us know what we want to achieve in the climate action area: limit global warming to under 1.5°C. But what are our options for that? This playbook is a guide and support for organizations to understand how to build their climate action strategy in line with the 1.5°C ambition and the IPCC special report on 1.5°C, and to get tips, tricks or confirmation of already existing strategies.

The playbook has four pillars:

  1. to reduce the company’s own emissions
  2. to reduce the company’s value chain emissions
  3. to transform the company’s products, services and projects to be low or zero emissions or even remove carbon from the atmosphere
  4. work with other actors in society to accelerate climate action

Targets and climate action fatigue

Ericsson has a carbon emission reduction climate target for its own operations, which is aligned with the 1.5°C ambition and the Science Based Target initiative. To be aligned with the 1.5°C ambition can be translated into an organization halving its own emissions by 2030. And if we apply this scientifically well-established target to ourselves, then of course it should apply for our suppliers as well – we want our suppliers to halve emissions by 2030.

This alignment around the 1.5°C ambition is what we are striving for across the rest of the ICT and tech industry too. We want collaboration. What we currently see is that the targets out there on the supply chain climate action differ. One customer is asking for emission reduction in tons, another in percentage, and another is asking for emission reductions only for their own part of the supply chain.

When vaguely different expectations are set on suppliers from different directions, it leads to additional administration and management approvals, parallel calculations, and multiple sets of reporting. Meaning, it leads to inefficiency and climate action fatigue. Instead, aligning around the 1.5°C ambition as a common message provides a target that is widely known, science based and comes with ambitions and achievements that can be reused for many customers.

The French horn, a common instrument in classical orchestras.

The French horn, a common instrument in classical orchestras.

A good base and being the best

But please see the alignment around the 1.5°C ambition as a first building block, and a basic one at that. Whether we’re talking about the own organization or a supply chain, organizations will act differently depending on its possibilities, needs and ambitions. Some companies have come a long way, heroically setting the scene and pace to drive climate action. Others have not come as far, for various reasons, and flexibility, support and special focus is needed.

The 1.5°C ambition should be used as a robust foundation, but on top of that – do more great things! This alignment still allows for organizations to continuously raise the bar of what is achievable. There are a myriad of activities and approaches to use to distinguish your company’s climate ambition, both for the own organization and for the supply chain. Those activities are just as essential to take the area forward!

But, with only scattered supply chain requirements I don’t see the traction that we would get by joining forces and stepping out with one same message, neither for the sake of the individual company ambitions, or for our sector. The 1.5°C approach targets the total climate impact of a supplier own operations and is tightly connected to the industry total contribution of reducing own emissions along the 1.5°C ambition.

Film clip 2: Scout troop 55 is organizing a search party

Collaboration and clarity

There are several organizations with great ambitious targets for climate action. One can say that they’re doing their part. But a few organizations doing their part – is that enough? And, if your individual targets in themselves are not efficiently contributing to reaching the decarbonization targets in the bigger perspective, can it then be claimed that you are doing your part, or does collaboration need to be included?

I often remind myself of one of the supply chain basics – that it actually is a chain. Actors in this chain hold many roles; they are suppliers, they are their own company, and they are also customers. Thinking like this, you see that there are opportunities for setting requirements, expectations and for collaborating in many directions. As a customer, set clear expectations on your suppliers to align with the 1.5°C ambition.

But how are you to act as a supplier? As a supplier, do the same thing, request or set expectations with your customers. Having clear expectations from customers on climate when you’re working with supply chain climate action is a blessing, and makes it so much easier to act and to take expectations further within the own organization, and further to suppliers. And, as an employee, set clear expectations on climate action on your employer.

The 1.5 c business playbook

The end

Settling down

There’s so much happening in the climate area now. When talking about this topic with suppliers, customers, peers, NGOs, climate researchers and consultant firms specializing on sustainability, I get the sense that it’s all up in the air – collaborations, initiatives, approaches for action, disagreements, desperation, opportunities. There is a need to settle down and decide on a common supply chain approach, so that we, as an industry, can get to work.

When working with climate action, and IF we want to see some real results in our sector, collaboration is needed. Work needs to be simple, easily understood, transparent and requirements from stakeholders should be aligned. The 1.5°C ambition is a great target to align around, the playbook is an excellent tool, and I am thrilled to hear that more and more stakeholders are now rounding up and supporting this approach.

Tying the bow and the final dramatic touch

If we now go back to Moonrise Kingdom, how to build an orchestra and the connection to supply chain climate action. In the end scene (spoiler alert), there are children that need to be saved. But, this is not achieved until different parts of their small community come together, to collaborate and with joint efforts get the children to safety. Only through collaboration do they get to that desperately needed result.

Film clip 3: The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34. Read with music for full dramatic effect.

You understand now how I connect the film and music to what we’re trying to achieve when working with supply chain climate action, the 1.5°C ambition and the 1.5°C business playbook. That we are striving to work with stakeholders, creating that beautiful collaboration with common means to reach a desperately needed goal of limiting global warming. As those instrument families, we are great apart, but we are magnificent together.

And those first and last minutes of Moonrise Kingdom turned out to be, for an unclear reason, the only minutes I remembered from the film at the time. I watched it now again for the sake of this blog post. It’s a good film.

The end.

Discover more

Learn more about the Exponential Roadmap initiative.

Read more about the 1.5°C business playbook.

Discover how climate change can benefit from mobilization and digitalization.

Read our 5 ideas on how to promote a sustainable lifestyle.

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