The path to a sustainable future driven by technology was the resounding message during day one of Schneider Electric’s first hybrid Innovation Summit Middle East and Africa (MEA).
Kicking off the two-day conference, Schneider Electric’s Middle East & Africa President, Walid Sheta, said the company wanted to empower a new generation, seize the potential of digitization and bring new solutions, software and services to market.
"We are in a region of opportunity with COP 27 and COP 28 set to lead the way for the Middle East and Africa," he stated.
"People are at the core of everything Schneider Electric aims to achieve in pursuit of a sustainable future," explained Sheta.
"As we observe the development of new cities driven by sustainability, we are investing in people and talent to equip them with the tools and technologies they need to bring new innovations to the region," he added.
Luc Remont, Executive Vice President (International Operations) underscored why the adoption of electrification and digitalization is the recipe for a more sustainable, resilient world.
During a keynote speech on the future of energy, he described climate change as the “defining issue” of our time.
"To tackle this challenge, the energy sector has to be at the heart of the solution,” he said. “The only way to skip today’s climate crisis is a dramatic scaling-up of energy efficiency combined with the adoption of a new energy landscape," stated Remont.
"The new energy landscape is unlocking the full potential of energy resources by providing better visibility of distribution systems and consumer dynamics, reliable and flexible grid connections for behind-the-meter resources, markets that welcome aggregated small-scale resources, and fair market compensation for the multiple flexibility benefits of agile technologies," he noted.
"In order to reach the Paris Climate Agreement, more than 40% of technologies available today need to be cost efficient to close the gap on the 1.5C target. Since the Innovation Summit began five years ago, we’ve seen an 85% increase in consumption savings and a 30% cost saving for energy efficiency across the world from electrification," he added.
Ahmed Khasahn, Cluster President, Gulf Countries, pointed out that digitization and smarter energy management was needed more than ever in a global inflationary environment.
"There is no better friend to inflation than digitization, which can substantially reduce costs across data centres, buildings, factories, grids and infrastructure," he observed.
"Digital solutions create enormous potential for efficiency and agility. Sustainability is the flipside of energy efficiency, and this itself is another side of digitization. Less energy consumption means fewer carbon emissions and greater sustainability and cost efficiency. This is the dividend of digitization," he added.
Promoting women’s rights
As one of the first organizations to sign the Pledge to Accelerate Gender Balance in the UAE’s Private Sector, Schneider Electric ensured gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls was front of mind.
Ayesha Valliani-Robertson, Senior Specialist at the UAE Gender Balance Council, told Natalja Kissina, Human Resources Vice President Sustainability Leader, Gulf Countries, Schneider Electric, that 23 companies have signed the pledge, up from 18 earlier this year.
"Our objective is to have 30% of senior and mid-level roles filled by women by 2025 across the UAE," she said.
"The gender balance commitment aligns with Schneider Electric’s sustainability program for 2025 and we invite more companies to join us and commit to the gender balance pledge, which will be beneficial for the future of your business," he added.
Now in its fifth year, the Innovation Summit MEA is Schneider Electric’s flagship customer event concluded today (May 19) at the Coca-Cola Arena Dubai. It will demonstrate why the blueprint for a more sustainable and resilient world is electric and digital.-TradeArabia News Service