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Tech sector sustainability efforts need full ecosystem approach

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Tech sector sustainability efforts need full ecosystem approach

Reorienting the tech sector around collaboration rather than competition and reassessing the industry’s conventional wisdom around economic growth is essential to improving sustainability on the timescale needed, London Tech Week attendees are told

Sebastian  Klovig Skelton

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Published: 17 Jun 2022 15: 32

Tech companies looking to improve the sustainability of their operations need to rethink their attitude towards growth and collaborate across the sector to be effective in meeting the challenge on the timescale required by the climate crisis.

During London Tech Week’s ClimateTech Summit, representatives from both startups and large corporates discussed the importance of reorientating the sector in a more sustainable direction.

Chairing a session on how firms can accelerate positive growth at scale with climate tech, Accenture’s director of Europe innovation, Dagamara Puddick, noted: “Only 50% of CEOs have a clear roadmap to reaching the sustainability pledges that they’ve made, and only 5% have made positive progress at all.”

This is despite the fact that, according to Lubomila Jordanova, founder of carbon footprint reporting firm Plan A, the “window of opportunity” for effective climate action is currently about three years. “That’s kind of it,” she said. “After that, if we have not implemented solutions that are scalable, we are not in a position to be able to stop the climate crisis. Life is going to get quite uncomfortable.”

Jordanova said a big part of the issue is the way tech companies and the wider economy measure success through very narrow parameters, which is leading to inefficiency and obscuring the nature of the problem.

“We have KPIs like growth and GDP and [profit] margins that are really disassociated from reality because they don’t account for the missing pieces, which are the environmental, social and governance elements,” she said, adding that while tech companies will often make “bombastic commitments” regarding the climate, they often have no idea how they will actually achieve them.

“What we’ve been doing [at Plan A] for the last five years is creating this layer of assessment to enable businesses to have visibility on their actual impact on the planet, and on our society,” said Jordanova.

She said the reality is that many companies are heavily dependent on “scope three” emissions, which refers to all indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain that are not owned or controlled by the company itself. “These are the suppliers, the investments they’ve done – all of these different stakeholders need to work together, and with our platform, we’re enabling this collaboration to be possible, and for this missing layer of the economy to be included in the way we discuss progress.”

Speaking during the same session, Tessa Clarke, co-founder and CEO of food-sharing app Olio, said: “We have to stop deluding ourselves about growth. GDP growth is absolutely the wrong North Star metric for humanity – we need to move to something far more well-rounded that is focused on human wellbeing, because the reality of the matter is that GDP growth is inextricably linked to the consumption of resources.”

On the importance of decoupling growth from consumption, Clarke noted that Earth Overshoot Day – the day in the year where humanity has used all the resources the Earth can naturally replenish in a year – is getting earlier and earlier each year.

“Back in 1969, Earth Overshoot Day was 31 December,” she said. “If you fast-forward to last year, Earth Overshoot Day was 29 July. Our whole economic system is taking us barrelling over the edge of a cliff because it’s based on this premise of endless growth.”

Speaking during a keynote on climate tech, Octopus Energy CEO Greg Jackson said there are a range of technologies that can help solve the climate crisis – from renewable electricity generation tools and electric vehicles to direct carbon capture and nuclear fusion – but the only thing holding back progress is the current economic system, which is preventing us from “unleashing the power of cheaper, greener energy”.

On redefining growth, Ryan Shanks, head of sustainability for Europe at Accenture, noted that while innovation in many areas is done one company at a time and then used for competitive advantage, the opposite is true for climate change-related innovation.

“What I’m seeing in our portfolio work at the moment, if it relates to the circular economy or the energy transition, etc, is none of our individual clients can actually do anything on their own,” he said. “They are hugely reliant on an ecosystem – policy folks, regulators, entrepreneurs, not-for-profits – of people coming together.”

Shanks said that to achieve innovation at scale, the first thing organisations should do is adopt an inter-disciplinary approach from the ideation stage. “I mean the technologists, the consumer folks, the business model people and finally, increasingly for us, social scientists and ethicists, working side by side,” he said.

“Now on a day-to-day basis, they’ll tell me that working together slows each of them down – the creatives want to work on their own, and the tech want to work on their own – but I’ll say it catches up in the long run because it speeds things up to get to scale.”

A collaborative ecosystem approach can be especially helpful when it comes to decarbonising technology supply chains because, according to Mark Fischel, founder of carbon management startup Aklimate, 80%-plus of corporate carbon is embedded within supply chains.

“A lot of this comes down to a data challenge,” he said. “There is no way really to show and track improvements in your supply chain unless you get primary data from your suppliers.

“I think there’s a really great opportunity here, where typically supply chain engagement has been very top-down, audit-style compliance. What is really the next frontier is shifting from that compliance model, really to a more collaborative exercise where the corporate buyer actually provides lots of incentives – and the tooling to make that a reality.”

Peter Votkjaer Jorgensen, a partner at Maersk Growth, added: “Startups are an essential part of actually achieving anything you want to achieve – they are much better at identifying problems, solutions, and so forth. But might have slightly more challenges in terms of scaling certain things.”

Concluding, Jordanova said: “I think collaboration is absolutely critical for any success that we can assume to expect on the sustainability topic. I think one element that is quite unconventional associated to collaboration is this whole concept of collaboration over competition.

“We don’t have time to be thinking in the paradigms of ‘oh, this company is doing exactly the same as me’ or ‘this competitor of ours has targeted the same’ – the only space for competition is probably where you up your targets and you become even more ambitious than your competitors, but the actual decarbonisation of our economy is dependent on us learning from one another.”





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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are

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FIFA 23 lets you turn off commentary pointing out how bad you are
A player shouldering the ball



(Image credit: EA)

FIFA 23 might be the best game soccer game yet for terrible sports fans, as it lets you turn off commentary that criticizes your bad playing.

Now that the early access FIFA 23 release time has passed, EA Play and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers can hop into the game ahead of its full release. But as Eurogamer (opens in new tab) spotted, they’ll find a peculiar option waiting for them.

FIFA 23 includes a toggle to turn off ‘Critical Commentary’. The setting lets you silence all negative in-match comments made about your technique, so you can protect your precious ego even when you miss an open goal or commit an obvious foul. The more positive commentary won’t be affected. 

Spare your feelings

A player dribbling the ball in FIFA 23

(Image credit: EA)

The feature looks tailored toward children and new players, who don’t want to have their confidence wrecked within mere minutes of picking up the controller. But even experienced players who just so happen to be terrible at the game might benefit.

It’s not perfect, though. According to Eurogamer, the feature didn’t seem to work during a FIFA Ultimate Team Division Rivals match, with critical comments slipping through the filter. Still, who hasn’t benefited from a light grilling every now and then?

Polite commentary isn’t the only new addition in FIFA 23. It’s the first game in the series to include women’s club football teams, and fancy overhauled animations that take advantage of the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S’s new-gen hardware. EA will be hoping to end on a high, as FIFA 23 will be the last of its soccer games to release with the official FIFA licence.

If disabling critical commentary doesn’t improve your soccer skills, maybe building a squad of Marvel superheroes will. Although you might not do much better with Ted Lasso wandering the pitch.

FIFA 23 is set to fully release this Friday, September 30.

Callum is TechRadar Gaming’s News Writer. You’ll find him whipping up stories about all the latest happenings in the gaming world, as well as penning the odd feature and review. Before coming to TechRadar, he wrote freelance for various sites, including Clash, The Telegraph, and Gamesindustry.biz, and worked as a Staff Writer at Wargamer. Strategy games and RPGs are his bread and butter, but he’ll eat anything that spins a captivating narrative. He also loves tabletop games, and will happily chew your ear off about TTRPGs and board games. 

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch

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Google Pixel 7 price leak suggests Google is totally out of touch
The backs of the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro



(Image credit: Google)

We’re starting to hear more and more Google Pixel 7 leaks, with the launch of the phone just a week away, but tech fans might be getting a lot of déjà vu, with the leaks all listing near-identical specs to what we heard about the Pixel 6 a year ago.

It sounds like the new phones – a successor to the Pixel 6 Pro is also expected – could be very similar to their 2021 predecessors. And a new price leak has suggested that the phones’ costs could be the same too, as a Twitter user spotted the Pixel 7 briefly listed on Amazon (before being promptly taken down, of course).

Google pixel 7 on Amazon US. $599.99.It is still showing up in search cache but the listing gives an error if you click on it. We have the B0 number to keep track of though!#teampixel pic.twitter.com/w5Z09D28YESeptember 27, 2022

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According to these listings, the Pixel 7 will cost $599 while the Pixel 7 Pro will cost $899, both of which are identical to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro starting prices. The leak doesn’t include any other region prices, but in the UK the current models cost £599 and £849, while in Australia they went for AU$999 and AU$1,299.

So it sounds like Google is planning on retaining the same prices for its new phones as it sold the old ones for, a move which doesn’t make much sense.


Analysis: same price, new world

Google’s choice to keep the same price points is a little curious when you consider that the specs leaks suggest these phones are virtually unchanged from their predecessors. You’re buying year-old tech for the same price as before.

Do bear in mind that the price of tech generally lowers over time, so you can readily pick up a cheaper Pixel 6 or 6 Pro right now, and after the launch of the new ones, the older models will very likely get even cheaper.

But there’s another key factor to consider in the price: $599 might be the same number in 2022 as it was in 2021, but with the changing global climate, like wars and flailing currencies and cost of living crises, it’s a very different amount of money.

Some people just won’t be willing to shell out the amount this year, that they may have been able to last year. But this speaks to a wider issue in consumer tech.

Google isn’t the only tech company to completely neglect the challenging global climate when pricing its gadgets: Samsung is still releasing super-pricey folding phones, and the iPhone 14 is, for some incomprehensible reason, even pricier than the iPhone 13 in some regions. 

Too few brands are actually catering to the tough economic times many are facing right now, with companies increasing the price of their premium offerings to counter rising costs, instead of just designing more affordable alternatives to flagships.

These high and rising prices suggest that companies are totally out of touch with their buyers, and don’t understand the economic hardship troubling many.

We’ll have to reach a breaking point sooner or later, either with brands finally clueing into the fact that they need to release cheaper phones, or with customers voting with their wallets by sticking to second-hand or refurbished devices. But until then, you can buy the best cheap phones to show that cost is important to you.

Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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DisplayMate awards the “Best Smartphone Display” title to the iPhone 14 Pro Max

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