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Digital carbon disruptors: Low carbon, high value

Through low carbon business models that harness digital, companies can sharpen overall competitiveness.


What if companies could cut carbon and in the process significantly boost innovation and profit? The good news is they can. By applying digital to a range of industries, there’s an added incentive: A slice of the estimated $11.4 trillion generated by 2030 from the move to low carbon. The equivalent of China’s expected GDP in 2015.

According to Accenture research carried out with the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI), a consortium of global information, communication and technology companies, digital is capable of offsetting all new CO2e emissions projected over the next 15 years.


Key Findings

For companies hoping to unleash digital disruption to combat carbon, they’ll need to rethink their businesses on a fundamental level or risk losing out. For starters, they should grasp the need for increasingly blurred industry boundaries. Because the most high-impact disruption takes place at the intersection of previously disconnected disciplines. When telcos join forces with energy companies. Or transportation connects with mobile payment.

Within these blurred lines emerge brilliant solutions made possible through digital. Like the one developed by Deutsche Telekom. Their Connected Car Solutions Suite improves the efficiency of traffic, mobility and private transportation. And the behind-the-wheel experience for consumers soars—all while lowering emissions. How much? On an annual basis, by up to 15.9 percent per car.

Companies need to understand that beyond creating sustainable businesses, digital is also expanding the ability to reach new customers, allowing start-ups to scale low carbon ideas.


Accenture has observed three types of carbon disruptors:

  1. Optimizers improve the efficiency of existing operations or reduce costs. Of the potential $11.4 trillion generated by 2030 from the move to low carbon, $4.9 trillion will be the result of cost saving opportunities.

  2. Enablers develop the infrastructure supporting innovative approaches. Accenture, with GeSI, identified a $2 trillion opportunity for the ICT sector in this role.

  3. Transformers create new offerings and entirely new markets all while eliminating resource dependency. They change incumbent businesses to low-carbon business models by digitizing customer offers and channels. For transformers, the potential opportunity is huge—$4.5 trillion.

"The unprecedented scale of digital disruption is making low carbon business opportunities possible that weren’t even feasible five-to-ten years ago."

Managing Director – Accenture Strategy, Sustainability