29th April 2021

Good news: the world’s global carbon footprint shrunk in the first half of 2020 by almost 9% against 2019.  Until lockdown, demand tended to outpace carbon reduction. In aviation, for instance, volumes grew at 60% per decade, overwhelming efficiency gains of 1% per annum (and even those had shrunk from 3% p.a. in the ‘60s).

Up to now, big carbon reductions needed big changes and incremental improvements only led to stagnation or climate chaos.

Lockdown represented a system reset, with home working everywhere and airline volumes down to levels last seen in the ‘50s. However, we also abandoned long-term strategies, for instance, by leaving public transport and embracing single-use plastics.

Are those our only choices: prolong the economic crisis or reverse the lockdown gains?

Datchet Consulting has been developing strategies that work now and lead to longer-term benefits.  This thinking is reflected in the thought piece for aviation: Liberating the Lobster. Commissioned by Civil Aviation Training Magazine, it explores how to turn lockdown to radical benefit.

Datchet Consulting, Director, Prof Terry Young notes: ‘Just now, we face deep challenges and terrific opportunities. We have glimpsed a lower carbon world; we are in a different place; we can make different choices.’

What choices? The problem is that every choice has unexpected and unintended consequences – even into unrelated sectors.

Selling vehicles unused during lockdown, for instance, may fund start-up electric fleets. However, environmentally-friendly buses will be unprofitable if we cling to our cars. Filling our homes with products from overseas only works when the carbon footprint from imports is less than that of well-designed infrastructure within the UK.

Each player – IT, logistics. manufacturing process management, or transport – needs to see how its preferred changes would play out across entire supply chains. Computer simulation is a powerful way to do just that.

Datchet Consulting is expert in technology management, simulation and facilitation, well able to coordinate multi-sectoral events and consortium-building. Its aim is to help partners identify how best to decarbonise their supply chains while growing sustainably.

With government support running low before the tide turns for supply chains, it may be time to try something new.

Prof Terry Young, Director, Datchet Consulting Ltd