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Interview with Neil Cawse

CEO, Geotab Inc.

Now the talking is over and COP26 climate objectives have been agreed, attention turns to implementing the actions that will secure a sustainable future. Transportation can play a leading role in this.

We often think of sustainability on an individual level. However, COP26 turned our attention to the power of collective action. We need to look at how nations and big (and small) businesses can work together effectively to address the climate crisis.

Collaboration in transport sector

The need for collaboration within the transport sector is particularly acute. The sector alone is responsible for approximately a quarter of direct CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

Neil Cawse, founder and CEO of Geotab, says: “The transport industry is currently a major contributor to overall carbon emissions but is also ripe for green innovation. We’re already seeing leaders agree to make bold steps towards change. At COP26, twenty-four countries and a group of prominent car manufacturers pledged a commitment to cease the production of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles by 2040.”

For Cawse, while it’s important to convert positive intentions into firm and practical commitments, it is also crucial to carefully craft and implement an achievable climate action plan, such as Geotab’s first Sustainability Report. While his company’s own corporate commitments are important, he points out that the biggest impact can be made in the ability to help others to change their transport habits.

Championing decarbonisation

Geotab is uniquely positioned to champion measures aimed at decarbonising the transport sector. Cawse explains: “As a telematics provider, we can have an immediate, concrete and measurable impact by providing data-driven insights to empower organisations to manage their petrol and diesel fleets more efficiently. We also offer the insight to confidently transition to electric at the right time and for the right vehicles and provide all the tools to streamline EV management, from monitoring battery degradation to managing charging.”

The potential impact is quantifiable. When developing its own corporate sustainability strategy, Geotab found that across its customer base of 2.5 million connected vehicles worldwide, increasing efficiency by just 5% for those customers could reduce CO2 emissions by 1.25 million metric tons per year. 

Overall, Cawse remains optimistic about the possibility to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels as laid out in the Paris Agreement. “While there is a long and difficult road ahead, through collective determination and support, along with harnessing the power of technology, innovation and data, we can rise to the climate challenge together. There is a great opportunity for those in the transport industry to carve a path for others to follow.”

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