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Careers & Education   >   Norwich Science Festival   >   Tackling climate change with technology
Day 5: Tackling climate change with technology
1 - Introduction
Meet Claire and Neil, our hosts for the day, who will introduce you to today's topic of Climate Change with our experts from BT and the University of East Anglia:
2 - Climate change with Penny Guarnay and Ian Caveney
Claire Doyle
Claire (host): Meet Penny Guarnay and Ian Caveney who are going to explore the role that technology can play in making a more sustainable society.
Over to you Penny and Ian...
Photo of Penny Guarnay
Photo of Penny Guarnay
Penny Guarnay
Climate Change Programme Manager, BT
Key qualifications: MA, BA, (Memberships/Chartered etc) PIEMA & Fellow EMA
What does your job involve? I programme-manage BT's carbon reduction strategy globally in line with our Net Zero targets. The role requires me to work cross-functionally to deliver and oversee the reduction in carbon emissions from direct and indirect operations. I also provide technical expertise and guidance to business units including Supply Chain, Technology, Openreach, Property, Enterprise, Global and BT Sport; leading multiple projects to facilitate climate change adaptation and deliver BT's Net Zero ambitions. Finally, I represent BT externally and advocate for the acceleration of Net Zero policies that will inspire change at industry and consumer level.
How did you get into your current role? Prior to working for BT, I led Marks and Spencer's Energy team. I have worked in environmental and energy (sustainability) roles since 2005 when I was a graduate.
What did you want to be when you were younger? A Paediatrician. I come from a family of Doctors and Nurses.
What do you do outside work? When I'm not chasing my own kids around, then I enjoy travelling and learning languages. I can speak 4 languages (3 well, 1 not so…) and I've visited 51 countries around the world to date.
Photo of Ian Caveney
Photo of Ian Caveney
Ian Caveney
Tech for Good Manager, BT
Key qualifications: BA (Hons) Business Studies and Marketing
What does your job involve? I work with a wide range of colleagues from across BT to find companies that are developing new break-through green tech. I then help develop the new products and services that we can jointly develop with the companies that will help our customers to reduce their carbon footprint.
How did you get into your current role? After graduating,  I forged a successful career in brand strategy and advertising including award winning work for EE, T-Mobile and Canon. Whilst I was at EE an opportunity opened up to join the sustainability team as I'd been working with them on some advertising and my career changed direction, and I've never looked back.
What did you want to be when you were younger? I wanted to be a goalkeeper and my inspiration was Bruce Grobbelaar (he played for Liverpool football club in the 80s).
What do you do outside work? I enjoy spending time outdoors with my family, either hiking or playing frisbee (or sometimes doing both at the same time!). I also love Lego, and it's great that I have kids as an excuse to buy expensive sets!
Photo of Penny Guarnay
Penny: Thanks for watching our video. Has it made you think whether technology can help save our planet? We have had some questions submitted relating to this topic in the lead up to Norwich Science Festival which are answered below. However, if you have any questions, we'd love to hear from you. Please email stemexpert@bt.com . We also held a live Q&A session on the day, a recording of which can be seen below...
Questions and answers
Question:
What is BT's strategy to help tackle climate change?
student profile
Photo of Penny Guarnay
Answer:
In September this year BT announced a new 2030 net zero target for our own operations, and a 2040 net zero target for our supply chain and customer emissions. Previously, we'd committed to be net zero by 2045 for all emissions. As one of the largest UK consumers of electricity, we're proud to say that we're now using 100% renewable electricity worldwide – which means that your BT broadband network and EE mobile network are both entirely powered by clean electricity. We've outlined plans to transition the majority of our 33,000 strong fleet vehicles to electric or zero emissions vehicles by 2030, and we're working with our supply chain to help them reduce their carbon emissions by 42% by 2030. But as we all know, our efforts – and those of other leading businesses - are not enough. We need others to follow. Which is why we're calling on all businesses to set their own ambitious but realistic net zero targets for 2050 at the latest and to engage with their customers, colleagues and supply chains about climate change, what it means for them and what they can do to make a difference. With a customer base of 30 million households and one million small or medium-sized businesses, BT is well placed to help our customers and the wider general public cut emissions.
Question
What is the most difficult part about trying to reduce the carbon footprint of such a large business like BT?
student profile
Photo of Ian Caveney
Answer:
Our biggest challenge is our supply chain (us and our suppliers working together to supply products and services to our customers), over two-thirds of our end-to-end carbon emissions come from our supply chain. To rise to the challenge, we're partnering with suppliers to curb their emissions and ours. This year, we expanded our target to reduce supply chain emissions in line with the latest 1.5°C climate science. We were originally aiming for a 29% reduction from 2016/17 by end of March 2031 and now we're going for 42% within the same timeframe. We have 12 of our key suppliers with a clause in their commercial contracts with BT or Openreach that commits them to make measurable carbon savings. Nokia was one of the first to sign up and is working with its own suppliers to reduce the impact of high-carbon components that go into our network equipment. Openreach suppliers MJ Quinn and KN Group have committed to significant carbon savings across their operations. Meanwhile, Telent are developing their plans for setting science-based climate targets and plan to cut emissions from supporting our network. These three suppliers alone are expected to save over 6,000 tonnes of carbon during their five-year contracts with Openreach.
Got a question? email stemexpert@bt.com
3 - Have a go activities
Photo of Neil Parkin
Neil (host): Now it's your turn to get involved. In this activity you're tasked with inventing a new product or scheme that will help to tackle climate change! You can download the activity pack to get step by step instructions.
Downward arrow
Download activity pack
4 - Career profiles
Claire Doyle
Claire (host): Climate Change is a really important topic and the way in which we tackle it with technology can lead to a really exciting career and you might be surprised by the various different roles available within this space. Take a look at the career profiles for some people from Adastral Park and across BT that are working in this space, to see how they help to make a positive difference.
Photo of Ian Neild
Photo of Ian Neild
Ian Neild
Smart Infrastructure, Research Manager in BT Applied Research
Key qualifications: Applied Physics with Opto-electronics and laser system engineering BEng Hons; Telecoms MSc
What does your job involve? I look to see what problems BT and our customers are having / going to have and then how I can use emerging technologies to fix them.  Currently, I'm helping BT create services that will allow councils to get much more information about air pollution to make our cities cleaner.
How did you get into your current role? BT Applied Research offered me the chance to do summer placements during my first degree course, which I found fascinating.  BT saw I had an inquisitive nature and after I graduated, they recruited me.  I've had various roles inside BT, mainly working on emerging technologies and their impact, which has given me the chance to travel around the world, appear on national TV/radio as a 'futurist' and also do an MSc.
What did you want to be when you were younger? As a child I wanted to be a fighter pilot but my dad explained that machines were likely to be flying the planes by the time I grew up, I think he was right but was a generation out.
What do you do outside work? I'm an Archery coach for a local Archery club, so I make sure the archers and surrounding people are safe and don't end up as targets. I'm part of APES (Adastral Park Emergency Services) and training to be a Community First Responder, I drive the ambulance that we have at Adastral Park.
Photo of Laura Russell
Photo of Laura Russell
Laura Russell
Apprentice Researcher, BT
Key qualifications: A Levels (Physics, Maths and Product Design) + Working towards a degree as part of the Apprenticeship.
What does your job involve? Currently I am in the Internet of Things team and am working on a project involving Robots, Networking and Strawberries!
How did you get into your current role? I am on my final rotation as an apprentice and will stay in this team until I finish the apprenticeship in 2022. Previously I have rotated within Applied Research in areas such as Cyber Security, Software Development Labs and Openreach Research.
What did you want to be when you were younger? Something creative, maybe a designer of some kind.
What do you do outside work? I love bouldering which is indoor climbing without the ropes, if I'm not climbing I'll be making cake and eating it (obviously!).
Photo of John Davies
Photo of John Davies
John Davies
Senior Manager, Future Business Systems, BT
Key qualifications: Degree in Computer Science and Physics, PhD in Artificial Intelligence
What does your job involve? I am in charge of a team of BT researchers looking into the future of digital business systems. In other words, how we can use IT to make more intelligent systems for businesses. Recently, for example, we have started to investigate cyber-physical systems – robots which can act independently to do jobs like pick fruit, deliver parcels and so on. The best thing about my job is working on cool technology with clever people!
How did you get into your current role? I joined BT after I finished my PhD in AI. Back then, the web was quite new and I worked on one of the first ever web search engines, a forerunner of Google. Later on, I started to lead a team of other people and I got interested in the Internet of Things – loads of sensors recording data and sending it to the Internet for analysis.
What did you want to be when you were younger? International Footballer
What do you do outside work? Outside of work, I like sports and music. I play tennis and go to the gym a lot. With music, I like Indie bands like The DMAs and also some rap (Bugzy Malone, for example). Fun fact: I once organised a free music festival in Colchester: the first year we got 800 people, by the third year it had grown to 10000!
5 - University of East Anglia
Photo of Neil Parkin
Neil (host): Meet Charlie Wilson from the University of East Anglia who is going to show you how digitalisation of our daily lives can have both positive and negative impacts on energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Over to you, Charlie...
Photo of Charlie Wilson
Photo of Charlie Wilson
Charlie Wilson
Professor of Energy and Climate Change
Key qualifications: Scientific training including a doctorate (PhD) in environmental social sciences
What does your job involve? Asking questions about how the world works, and trying to answer them as rigorously as possible.
How did you get into your current role? I worked in consultancy and finance in the private sector for 10 years before changing course and returning to university to study for my PhD. I love being an academic, so this was a very good decision!
What did you want to be when you were younger? An environmentalist or a journalist
What do you do outside work? Rock climbing and surfing ... although there are few opportunities for either in Norfolk where I live!
Photo of Charlie Wilson
Charlie: Thanks for watching my video. If you'd like to find out more about SILCI, check out the SILCI website. We have had some questions submitted relating to this topic in the lead up to Norwich Science Festival which are answered below. However, if you have any questions, we'd love to hear from you. Please email stemexpert@bt.com or join us live between 13:45 - 14:30 on 15th October for the Q&A session.
Questions and answers
Question:
What's the one most effective thing I can do to reduce my carbon footprint?
student profile
Photo of Charlie Wilson
Answer:
Switch from driving (or being driven) to travelling around by foot, bike, scooter, bus, tram, or train. Or switch from eating red meat to eating less or no red meat! It's also helpful if you keep thinking about, talking about, and persuading others to reduce their carbon footprint. This isn't just about you, but about all of us.
Question:
What's the most exciting piece of technology that is helping to tackle climate change right now?
student profile
Photo of Charlie Wilson
Answer:
Solar panels, offshore wind, electric vehicles, batteries for storing electricity, smart energy-saving devices. And smart phones ... if we use them to access digital services rather than having to own lots of stuff ourselves.
See more questions...
Got a question? email stemexpert@bt.com
6 - Final thoughts from our hosts
Now that you've reached the end of the last day of Adastral Park's Norwich Science Festival @ School, why not take a look at the main Norwich Science Festival website?
7 - Related STEM learning content