Sustainability Spotlight: Driving a Carbon-Neutral Journey with Discovery

In this month's sustainability spotlight, we are proud to showcase our work with Discovery on their climate change strategy and carbon neutral, net-zero targets.

Discovery is one of GCX’s longest-standing clients. Since engaging for the first time in 2009 and conducting the company’s first carbon footprint assessment and energy efficiency audits, GCX has provided a plethora of services from carbon accounting, reporting and disclosure to climate change adaptation studies to start to understand climate risk in their insurance business.

Fast forward to 2017, GCX implemented the proprietary Data Analytics and Sustainability Hub (DASH-) with a view to collecting, refining, consolidating, and ultimately automating all of Discovery’s financial and non-financial sustainability data. With access to an online, interactive dashboard and reporting platform, Discovery now has the carbon, water, and waste footprint data of the entire organization in one place and is able to access any insights at the push of a button.

GCX analysts – with the help of some artificial intelligence smarts – interrogate the data as it enters the platform and can identify anomalies and raise queries with the relevant people at Discovery, should any material discrepancies arise.

In 2020, Discovery published its climate change strategy and publicly announced its carbon neutral target by 2025 followed by the 2050 net-zero target.

GCX is now working closely with Discovery to develop a carbon reduction action plan to ensure it can track these targets and milestones as well as identify viable energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to ensure these goals are met. The aim is to reduce as much carbon as possible by 2025 without the need to purchase significant carbon offsets. 

Discovery’s core purpose of making people healthier and enhancing and protecting their lives is aligned to the goal of maintaining an environment that enables and sustains good health. Working with GCX over the years has enabled us to advance this goal and we look forward to continued work with them to achieve our 2025 goal and long-term net-zero ambition.

David Pierre-Eugene, Head of Group Facilities, Discovery

With electricity consumed in their office facilities being the most material aspect of its carbon footprint, the company is looking to implement a best practice ISO50001 Energy Management System and to conduct energy audits across the major sites including 1 Discovery Place in Sandton, its flagship 6-Star Green Star certified green building which comprises most of the group’s electricity footprint.

GCX conducted level 1 energy audits at the beginning of August 2020 which were done remotely due to the onset of Covid-19. The outcome provided some insights into further enhancing efficiencies and indicated large initial savings once implemented by the facilities team.

Once all the reduction interventions have been identified through audits, interviews, and thorough due diligence, the projects are then input into DASH- to understand the impact that the projects will have on the company’s carbon reduction targets and at what return on investment. Once the projects are planned, budgeted, and then implemented, DASH- is used to monitor and verify their financial savings and non-financial impacts.

GCX is also assisting Discovery to better understand the indirect (scope 3) carbon emissions of the group. These refer to activities that do not result in GHG emissions directly through Discovery controlled operations, but to relevant upstream and downstream activities which may be significant in terms of scale and/or influence to change.

Moving forward, GCX is working with Discovery to advise on the implementation of the company’s ISO50001 energy management programme, carbon reduction programme and then monitoring the progress of all of it in the DASH- platform.

We are privileged to be Discovery’s strategic sustainability partner on the company’s carbon neutral journey. Given the very nature of Discovery’s business model in positive influencing people’s behavior, I believe they are perfectly placed to influence the behavior of employees and members to make more climate friendly choices.

Kevin James, CEO, GCX

Find out more about how GCX can help you navigate your sustainability journey with our GCX DASH- and GCX Consult solutions. Get in touch here.

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