Finding the Missing Piece of the Puzzle: People Empowerment to Attain Global Sustainability Goals

Paridhi Gupta
Published: September 18, 2023
8 min read

As I dive into conversations with inspiring leaders, a palpable excitement fills the air. It is not just the ordinary; it's an electrifying exchange of ideas and emotions centered around sustainability and net-zero. Global leaders realize and own their responsibility in driving our world towards sustainable living and this realization is humbling. The ownership for sustainability and net zero are breaking boundaries and leaders from across domains are joining the movement- energy & water leaders, technology decision makers, academicians, government representatives, and alike.

Picture this: a global mission where people from all walks of life join forces to protect our planet and secure a better future for humanity. From the United Nations to local communities, the rally for sustainability echoes loud and clear. It's a rollercoaster of emotions, from determination to make a difference to the thrill of being part of something greater than oneself.

For sure, sustainability is no longer just a buzzword- It is a mission. Sustainability has evolved into a pivotal goal, a strategic plan, a global mission, and a momentous undertaking that demands the collective effort of EVERYONE.

In our quest for a sustainable future, a fundamental truth emerges and that is “People Empowerment is the cornerstone of success”. We cannot achieve sustainability without actively engaging and empowering EVERYONE. It is not merely an ambitious aspiration; it is a shared responsibility that calls upon every individual and community to take meaningful action.

But navigating the transition from a traditional to a sustainable model – raises tough questions. Like how to empower billions of people for one common goal? How can digitalization, technology, and AI / ML helps us? How do we connect with people’s hearts & minds? How do we integrate changing policies with people’s needs? and many more on similar lines.

I believe answers to these questions revolve around four aspects- Belief, Innovate, Engage and Collaborate. Belief that change is possible and inevitable. Innovate towards a technology-driven, smarter, and sustainable future. Engage billions of citizens to work towards ONE goal and Collaborate with policymakers, regulators, and governments to together foresee a genuine transformation and power future generations’ lives for a better tomorrow.

What’s required?

– This is as important as slating the goals. Execution- No- realistic and extreme commitment to execution. Diagnosing one’s current sustainability positions, establishing quantitative baselines, defining clear aspirations, designing actionable plans towards achieving them and above all empowering people, from across the globe, to make this a personal cause.

Now, let's explore how digital platforms can play a pivotal role in achieving these ambitious sustainability goals. These platforms serve as an excellent conduit to connect diverse stakeholders and lay a strong foundation to propel us towards a more sustainable future. By combining cutting-edge technology with the power of human connection, we can design platforms that resonate with people's hearts and minds, creating a harmonious balance in our approach. In our experiences working with utilities, we have witnessed the potential of such platforms in engaging individuals and inspiring them to contribute their part in saving energy and water, and becoming active participants in the global sustainability movement.

The essence lies in understanding the people element and the emotional aspect that drives meaningful action. Digital platforms offer an ideal medium to bridge this gap, providing user-friendly and interactive interfaces that ignite a sense of purpose and responsibility in individuals. As we move forward, our mission is clear - to empower individuals from all walks of life to take impactful actions, and together, forge a path towards a better world. Through these platforms, we can build a strong network of advocates for sustainable practices, each contributing their unique efforts to safeguard our planet for future generations. It's a collaborative journey where technology and passion unite to turn the tide towards sustainability, making it a personal cause for everyone involved.

Emotion 1: A sense of Joy & Instant Gratification

Experiencing joy when it comes to sustainability is a powerful motivator that can significantly impact individual behavior and collective actions. When people find joy in sustainable practices, it creates a positive feedback loop, leading to increased engagement and a deeper commitment to the cause. 

Here's why it matters:

  1. Sustainable Habits Become Enjoyable: Traditional views often associate sustainability with sacrifice or inconvenience. However, when joy is integrated into sustainable practices, they become enjoyable and rewarding experiences. People are more likely to adopt and stick with sustainable habits when they associate them with positive emotions.
  2. Emotional Connection Fuels Motivation: Joy fosters an emotional connection with sustainability. When individuals experience happiness, fulfillment, or a sense of purpose through sustainable choices, they are more motivated to continue making eco-friendly decisions.
  3. Spreading Positivity: Joy is contagious. When individuals experience joy in their sustainable efforts, they are more likely to share their positive experiences with others. This creates a ripple effect, inspiring more people to participate in sustainable actions.

And by aligning the below use cases with the platform features, digital platforms can not only facilitate sustainable actions but also infuse joy and positive emotions into the overall experience. Users will be more motivated, engaged, and fulfilled in their journey towards sustainability, ultimately contributing to a more joyful and sustainable future for all.

  1. Receive Proactive and Multichannel Notifications and Alerts
    • Users receive real-time updates on their sustainable actions, accomplishments, and conservation milestones, evoking a sense of joy and fulfillment in their progress towards sustainability.
  2. Benefit from Bill Savings with Intelligent Tips and Program Recommendations
  3. EV charging with personalized rate plans and tariffs
  4. Manage Smart Home and Devices
    • Users set personalized sustainability goals for their smart home and devices, finding joy in optimizing energy consumption and reducing their environmental footprint.

Emotion 2: A sense of Pride & Accomplishment

Experiencing a sense of pride and accomplishment in sustainability efforts adds an essential dimension to the journey towards a greener future. When individuals take pride in their eco-conscious actions, it bolsters their determination and strengthens their connection with sustainability. Here's why cultivating pride matters in the pursuit of a sustainable world:

  1. Personal Achievement in Sustainable Actions: Adopting sustainable practices, such as installing solar rooftops or managing EV ownership seamlessly, provides a sense of personal achievement. As individuals see the tangible impact of their efforts, they feel a deep sense of pride in contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable environment.
  2. Fostering a Collective Sense of Accomplishment: Pride in sustainability is not limited to individual achievements. Community involvement and education play a crucial role in fostering a collective sense of accomplishment. When people work together towards common sustainability goals, the shared sense of pride enhances their commitment to making a difference.
  3. Data-Driven Decision Making: Making data-backed decisions is a source of pride, especially when it comes to advancing sustainability. By relying on data analytics to optimize energy efficiency, water conservation, and carbon footprint reduction, individuals and communities can take pride in making informed choices that positively impact the planet.
  4. Meeting Regulatory Standards and Compliance: Complying with state regulations and sustainability standards becomes a point of pride for organizations and communities. Meeting or surpassing these requirements demonstrates a commitment to environmental responsibility and elevates a sense of accomplishment in contributing to a more sustainable world.

By integrating prideful experiences into these use cases and platform features, digital platforms can inspire individuals and communities to take pride in their sustainable choices and accomplishments. This emotional connection enhances the overall journey towards sustainability, creating a positive and meaningful impact on the planet and fostering a sense of fulfillment and pride in contributing to a better, greener world.

Emotion 3: A sense of Relief & Empowerment

In the realm of sustainability, experiencing a sense of relief and empowerment is transformative for individuals and communities alike. Overcoming fear and anger related to utility wastages and disruptions can lead to a more positive and proactive approach towards sustainable living. Here's why cultivating relief and empowerment matters in the pursuit of a sustainable world:

  1. Relief from Wastages and Leakages: Proactive alerts and notifications on wastages and leakages provide a sense of relief, as users can promptly address issues and prevent unnecessary resource depletion, leading to a greener and more efficient environment.
  2. Empowerment through Instant Connectivity: 24*7 connectivity and instant query redressal with chatbots empower users to stay informed and take control of their utility services. This sense of empowerment fosters a more responsible and conscious approach to resource usage.
  3. Managing Outages with Confidence: The ability to report outages and receive real-time updates on restoration status offers a sense of relief, reducing anxiety during unexpected disruptions and enabling users to plan their actions more efficiently.
  4. Avoiding Unexpected Bills: Proactive notifications about usage and timely reminders empower users to make conscious choices, avoiding unexpected bills and budgetary concerns. This newfound empowerment contributes to a more sustainable and mindful lifestyle.

Users will feel empowered to take charge of their utility services, make informed decisions, and contribute to a greener future with a sense of relief and confidence in their actions.

Indeed, the ultimate mission here is to bring sustainable happiness to billions of individuals by bridging the gap between their emotional fulfillment and environmental responsibility. To accomplish this, we must weave these emotions seamlessly in a continuous loop until we achieve our targeted sustainability goals. Additionally, it is crucial to integrate these emotions and technology-driven attributes with these four core principles that form the foundation of our approach, creating an enduring people-sustainability strategy:

  • Understanding people's choices and preferences: Comprehending customer preferences and sources of dissatisfaction to foster a customer-centric, digital-first culture.
  • Performance measurement to enable change: Implementing effective metrics to prioritize customer experience enhancement and revenue optimization.
  • Following a systematic approach for continuous improvement: Embracing innovation and technology to target specific areas for improvement and streamline processes.
  • Prioritize people experience at every level: Proactively identifying and responding to ever-changing market and needs to stay relevant and adaptable.

    Looking Forward

    So, leaders - passion for sustainability and carbon neutrality can be contagious and CANNOT be achieved alone. The key to success lies in people empowerment with digitalization and AI/ML as the secret weapons. Connecting with people's hearts and minds, celebrating milestones, and collaborating with policymakers will surely fuel this adventure.

    With a global population of 8 billion people, this mission may seem colossal, but the passion behind it should be even greater. At SEW, we have already empowered 1.2 billion people globally through our #1 digital customer experience platform, contributing significantly to the sustainability missions of over 410 utilities.

    Let us all stand united in this noble endeavor, propelling sustainability forward with SEW's transformative platforms and envisioning a future where our planet not only survives but thrives. Together, we can build a greener and more sustainable world for generations to come. Join us on this journey, and together, we will create a positive impact on the planet and secure a better future for all.

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    Paridhi Gupta
    Vice President, Marketing, SEW

    Paridhi is the Vice President of Product Marketing and Branding at Smart Energy Water (SEW). She is a lifelong learner, always seeking to expand her knowledge and push the boundaries of her creativity. With a secret weapon of combining her love for writing with a knack for analytics, Paridhi creates marketing stories that captivate and inspire.

    At SEW, Paridhi is the driving force behind innovative and impactful global marketing programs. Working closely with a diverse range of teams, she uncovers client needs, stays ahead of industry trends, and tells the story of SEW in a way that is unforgettable. Paridhi takes pride in her work, dedicating herself to delivering the best digital customer and workforce experiences to utilities worldwide, all while never shirking a challenge and always seeking opportunities to learn and grow. With a work ethic that is second to none and a soft spot for dogs, Paridhi is a true marketing maven.

    As a leader, Paridhi manages a team of super-smart marketers and product analysts, encouraging and supporting their growth every step of the way. In her free time, she indulges in guilt-free Instagram scrolling and immerses herself in a good book.

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