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An effective digital management tool can ensure climate plans are delivered in time

Here in Denmark, politicians have passed a climate law that sets very ambitious targets with a short time horizon. Similar political objectives are seen in other countries around the globe including the C40 cities - a global coalition of the largest cities working together to live up to the Paris Convention to reduce global warming. The task is large and complex and time is short, but with the right management tool, it is possible to realize the CO2 reduction targets.

According to the Danish Climate Act, which was passed by the Danish Parliament in 2020, Denmark must reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 by 70% compared to 1990 levels. Furthermore, Denmark must be a climate-neutral society by 2050. These are very ambitious goals with a relatively short time horizon, and many are - perhaps rightly so - skeptical about whether it is possible to achieve such ambitious goals in such a short time.

One of the key aspects is the complexity of the task. If you look at the Danish government's 176-page climate program, you get an impression of how enormous and comprehensive the transition is. Not only do all sectors of society have to undergo significant changes, the concrete measures and action plans must also be coordinated internally and between the individual sectors. It is no exaggeration when some experts refer to the green transition as perhaps the most complex assignment ever. 

Time is running out

As the leader of C40, former Toronto mayor David Miller is more aware than most of the serious climate crisis the world is facing. Although the latest science shows that we are not yet close to keeping the average temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, Miller believes it is still possible to achieve this crucial goal. But time is running out, as he pointed out at an energy conference in the Danish Parliament hosted by DecideAct in the fall of 2022:

"To succeed, global emissions in 2030 must be on the path to net zero by 2050. Because of what is happening in the Arctic and elsewhere, more and more methane is being released into the atmosphere. We are already seeing the results with devastating floods in Pakistan and terrible events in many other places. In Canada, we have heat waves in the rainforest and then floods of biblical proportions literally in the same place," he said.

The management tool exists

The challenge is big. Time is short. How do you ensure that it succeeds? From our corner of the world, where we deal with the implementation and execution of complex strategies daily, it seems quite obvious: it's not possible to transform words into action and manage such a large project to completion without an effective digital management tool that can handle the complexity, create a comprehensive overview, support progress and integrate with various measurement tools.
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The good news is that the management tool exists and is ready to use. In fact, it's already being used, and in principle, there’s no upper limit to the complexity and scope of strategies that can be managed.

Challenged by long timelines

The management tool, called Digital Climate Plan, is a custom solution built on the digital platform for strategy execution that DecideAct developed more than ten years ago - and which is now sold to a wide range of companies and organizations in Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Canada, Germany, and the USA. They use it to create an overview, transparency, and progress in their strategic focus areas - and with great success.

Digital Climate Plan is an innovative solution for municipalities, utilities, and private companies, all of which are increasingly working on ambitious CO2 reduction plans. They are challenged by long schedules and have difficulties estimating CO2 reduction, maintaining an overview of the many action areas, and involving external stakeholders in the effort. The digital management tool can solve all this for them. 

Ensuring action and momentum

Digital Climate Plan supports all strategic frameworks such as EU Taxonomy, C40, and the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. The uniqueness of the solution is that it allows you to incorporate the climate strategy into the organization's overall corporate strategy and ensure action and momentum, whereas other tools can largely only be used for reporting. 

The solution provides a full overview of the many initiatives that need to be managed by both internal and external stakeholders. Follow-up is done via an app or online on tablets or PCs. The CO2 effect is automatically calculated in real-time. The results can be made visible on, for example, a municipality's website so that citizens and other stakeholders can be involved.


Ambitious and far-reaching plans

In Denmark, the philanthropic association Realdania has funded the municipalities' efforts to prepare the so-called DK2020 climate plans, based on a framework developed by C40. The work of preparing the plans has largely been completed in all 98 municipalities, which now all have very ambitious and far-reaching plans to be realized.

One of the challenges for municipalities is that climate plans extend many years into the future. Initially, there are several 2030 targets to be realized, but many of the 2050 targets have already been formulated. Another major challenge is that Danish municipalities monitor all climate targets within their municipal boundaries. This means that they must also monitor measures for utilities, the transportation sector, agriculture, private individuals, etc. In other words, there is an unusually long time horizon and a very large number of stakeholders.

CO2 results with a two-year delay

In mid-2023, DecideAct agreed with Vejen Municipality in Denmark to develop a digital solution that can be used to ensure an overview of the progress of the municipality's many climate strategy initiatives. Vejen Municipality is a pioneering municipality in the climate area, and the mayor of the municipality, Frank Schmidt-Hansen, is also chairman of the Danish Association of Local Authorities' Climate Action Committee in Denmark. He had a strong desire to create an overview, progress, and visibility of the municipality's goals, actions, and results in the climate area, which was crucial for the development of the new digital solution.

The starting point for Danish municipalities in general is that they receive an overview of their CO2 results with a two-year delay. In the digital solution we have developed, it is possible to automatically calculate the impact on CO2 emissions the moment the municipality or one of the external stakeholders registers how far they have come with each specific action. This makes a huge difference when it comes to ensuring that things are going according to plan.


Stakeholders are notified on mobile or PC

The calculations are based on information from research, industry organizations, and the municipalities themselves. The CO2 reduction calculations are accumulated until the planning period ends in 2050 so that the municipalities can continuously make the summarized results visible on the website for different industries and focus areas. In this way, both citizens and other stakeholders can always follow the progress of the entire municipality.The municipality decides how often to follow up on the planned actions, which is a significant improvement compared to the current one- to two-year follow-ups. This means that all stakeholders responsible for actions are notified on their mobile or computer, after which they can indicate their progress with just a few clicks. Once everyone has responded, the digital climate plan is fully updated. 

The municipality decides how often to follow up on the planned initiatives, which is a significant improvement over the current one- to two-yearly follow-ups. This means that all stakeholders responsible for initiatives are notified on their mobile or PC, and with a few clicks they can indicate their progress. Once everyone has reported back, the digital climate plan will be fully updated. 

This allows the responsible climate coordinators to quickly follow up if something in the plan is not working as intended, has stalled, or has gone off track. It is also possible to provide an explanation for deviations so that no unnecessary time is spent trying to figure out the causes, which could be due to legislation, force majeure, or lack of updates.

Targeted management reports 

The digital platform can instantly deliver a wide range of management reports targeted at, for example, local councils, company boards, management, steering committees, and professionals, ensuring a full overview in real-time and following up on deviations as soon as they occur.

DecideAct's digital solution for Vejen Municipality went from pilot to operation at the beginning of 2024 and the solution was presented at the Danish Association of Local Authorities' Climate & Environment Summit in Copenhagen. Both public and private companies can now purchase Digital Climate Plan on subscription at a fixed price.

Brief about DecideAct:

DecideAct is a software company founded in 2014 and headquartered in Denmark. DecideAct provides a digital platform for strategy execution that makes it easy for management and boards to delegate responsibility for strategic initiatives and involve the entire organization in the company's strategic goals. Customers are all types of public and private companies and organizations that use the innovative software to achieve strong engagement, ensure overview, visualize progress, and improve the management of strategy processes. DecideAct A/S went public in 2020 and has subsidiaries in Iceland, Canada, the USA and Portugal.  


By Flemming Videriksen and Claus Stensgaard Jensen, DecideAct A/S

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