Circle Opinion

Leveraging data to underpin your Sustainability strategy

Glen Lowis

Woman plugging electric charger into car outside Home With Family

Ever since helping an automotive client launch their first all-electric vehicle into the UK a few years ago, I’ve had a growing interest in sustainability and the environment. Now, as part of CACI’s internal working group on Climate Change and Decarbonisation, I’m involved in several exciting initiatives where CACI is using data to drive sustainability.  

Everyone has a role to play

Climate change and what governments, brands and individuals are doing about it has become a constant in the news cycle and data is proving to be a powerful asset in identifying and meeting key sustainability targets. 

Governments need to support their communities

At a local level, governments must understand their communities and provide support via adequate infrastructure. For example, councils are already working with a wide range of data to understand demand and develop strategies for residential EV charging points. Working with CACI means that council-held data can be enhanced through consumer and geospatial data to further define community needs for EV infrastructure or even green space development. 

Strong brands are those taking environmental responsibility

The last five to ten years has seen the rise of new, innovative brands that are disrupting their industries. Among my favourites are a company using flexible solar cells to create solar powered remote controls and headphones, and a packaging company being recognised by Prince William and the Earthshot Prize for using seaweed to replace plastics in food takeaways and hospitality. 

In more traditional industries, environmental responsibility is arguably even more important if we are to have a sustainable future. B-Corp certification is a widely recognised way of measuring a company’s social and environmental impact, and being certified tells consumers a company is serious about their commitments. The CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) is a not-for-profit charity that enables companies to disclose and take accountability for their environmental impacts – a key first step in positive action – something many of our clients are signed up to.  

Away from these more well-known programmes, we’re working with clients who have clearly stated environmental goals of their own and who understand that all departments have a responsibility. This includes Facilities Management assessing how to cut energy consumption, Logistics optimising their routing to reduce CO2 emissions, and Marketing implementing paperless processes and better segmentation to make communications more efficient. 

Individuals support net zero goals

A survey by CACI at the beginning of September shows that 84% of consumers support the government’s goal of achieving net zero by 2050. Consumers are actively looking for brands that have strong environmental policies, with half of respondents seeking brands that set their own, earlier net zero targets.

Support for Net Zero goals from CACI State of the Nation Update consumer survey

Fig. 1 Support for Net Zero goals from CACI State of the Nation Update consumer survey (September 2023) 

How CACI is making a difference

Data is at the heart of everything we do at CACI, and we’re encouraged to think of innovative ways to use it. One example is Ocean, a database of the UK population containing over 600 attributes across demographic, digital and attitudinal characteristics. Our Green Lifestyle attributes include attitudes to recycling, reducing energy use and dietary choices, and can be used to profile and understand your customers’ attitudes to inform targeting audiences and messaging. 

Further evolving this, we’ve developed an ESG score, that drills deeper into Environmental, Social and Governance issues and can help brands gauge which customers are likely to pay a premium for sustainable products and services.

Example Environmental Score pen portrait

Fig. 2 Example Environmental Score pen portrait 

In addition to these attitudinal variables, we’ve been looking at carbon emissions and developing innovative ideas and solutions that include: 

  • Carbon footprint of Household and Travel: Identifying and measuring the impact of consumer behavioural choices on carbon emission. This will help consumers understand their impact (based on property, travel and consumption) and improve local governments’ understanding of their communities. 
  • Carbon footprint of Fulfilment: Helping commercial property owners and retailers assess the carbon impact of acquiring customers and fulfilling orders. This could be used to inform parking, EV charging infrastructure and determine whether click & collect is better than delivery. 
  • Carbon footprint of Logistics: Evolving CACI’s Pin Routes route optimisation software to support the electrification of fleet and distribution services. Our algorithms help reduce mileage, vehicle count and CO2 emissions, cutting valuable costs and reducing your carbon footprint. 
  • Carbon footprint of Marketing: Measuring the carbon emissions from different marketing campaigns and channels to enhance businesses’ understanding of their environmental impact. This enables marketing teams to balance sustainability with sales and optimise campaign strategies to improve both. 

CACI is registered to the Social Value Portal and is actively working towards achieving social and environmental goals aligned to the National TOMs framework.  

We’re passionate about using data and technology to create more sustainable businesses, so if you’d like to discuss how we can help you, please get in touch.

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Glen Lowis