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IGF 2020 - Day 8 - WS 72 Tech for the Planet

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the virtual Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), from 2 to 17 November 2020. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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>> You can start as soon as you want.  Please go to the list of attendees and promote to panelist anyone who needs to be there.

>> BARBARA WANNER: I think you all should be able to speak.

>> Hello.

>> Hello.

>> BARBARA WANNER: We have everyone?  You can push the video icon.

>> Hello.

>> (overlapping speakers).

>> CAROLINE LOUVEAUX: I don't have that icon.

>> Nor do I.

>> BARBARA WANNER: We had problems with that yesterday with some speakers, you don't have the little icon in the lower left hand corner?

>> No.

>> BARBARA WANNER: I want to give, since we are beginning a little bit late, I wanted to give some general sort of housekeeping questions.  First of all, if any participants that have joined us and there are quite a few, we are grateful for that, if you have any questions, if you could, let's see, if you could just put, post those in the chat, and I will keep track of them, and we have allowed certain segments to entertain questions for, from the audience.  We will go to your questions then.

I wanted to give you, there have been a few changes to this workshop since we first filed the proposal.  First of all, my name is Barbara Wanner, U.S. council for international business, we co‑organize this with the Government of Switzerland.  This workshop is called Tech for the Planet, where we hope to highlight many exciting examples of how technology can help society tackle environmental challenges.  Jorge Cancio of the Government of Switzerland will be our moderator.  Before we begin, I want to draw attention to the important and related work by the youth for digital sustainability group at the IGF.  Four working groups produced 12 recommendations from the perspective of young people, and I commend the group's excellent work to you.  I will post that link in the chat in a second.  Also, I want to confirm who our speakers are this morning, because they have changed since we first filed the proposal.

We have Matt Peterson, director of Amazon's Climate Pledge Fund, Caroline Louveaux, who is executive Vice President of MasterCard.  We have Nick Wise, Western European and Others Group, and will provide IT perspective on technology environmental challenges, Paolo Gemma, senior specialist and representative of Huawei, and our unsung hero for this workshop will be Livia Walpen from the Government of Switzerland, our important substantive Rapporteur.  As many of you on the call and in the panel have probably been aware, this year's IGF planners are asking speakers to state their voluntary commitments.  I will post the link to that in the chat and encourage everyone to make use of it, if you feel more comfortable doing so as a organization or individual privately afterwards.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Good morning, good evening, welcome to my workshop on tech for good.  My name is Jorge Cancio and I work for the Swiss Federal Office of Communications.  The IGF is excellent venue for discussing digitalization environment.  That is why we supported this topic becoming the main track in this year's IGF, which comes with one main session and more than 14 sessions, on this we are more or less midway in this IGF and also in the environment sessions, and this is also the reason why we are working with the workshop organizers of this workshop.

Today we will hear and discuss exciting experiences and initiatives coming from different private companies, we will learn more about the work being done by the ITU in Geneva, it will be structured in four segments.  First we will have a scene setting with two perspectives, first from Amazon and then from ocean mind collaborating on the potential of technologies solutions to environmental problems, and here we will hear about the relevance of how ecosystems to human well‑being model abundance of data and the need for AI to house and understand the data.

Second, we will deep dive into four case studies and examples of solutions deployed in the field by MasterCard, OceanMind, Amazon and the ITU.  Third, we will then have a specific discussion about multistakeholder approach to saving the planet, where each speaker will provide impressions from various stakeholder perspectives on how their involvement is important to realizing meaningful solutions.  Finally and fourth, we will wrap up with a short take‑aways from the panelists, where they may also share their commitments to the IGF if any, and to further work in the intersection between environment and digitization.

Please use the chat pod for social exchanges and conversations amongst the audience participants, and if you wish to place a question for the panelists, please use the Q&A pod.  Barbara, please advise me also on, during the course of the session, if I oversee any questions.  So without further ado, I think let's start with the first segment where Matt Peterson and Nick Wise will proceed on the potential of technology to develop meaningful solutions, environmental challenges.  Just as a short introduction, Matt Peterson leads Amazon's Climate Pledge Fund, a two million investment program focused on supporting building new technologies that make the goal of becoming net zero achievable.  He is a experienced technology executive and joined Amazon in 2006.  Prior to that, he worked in private equity and cofounded a Internet start‑up.  Nick Wise on his part is founder and CEO of OceanMind, nonprofit organization, dedicated to protecting the world's fisheries.  Using artificial intelligence, OceanMind empowers effective fisheries enforcement and enables more responsible seafood sourcing increasing compliance and sustainability.

The floor is yours, Matt.  I hope the technicalities work.  You go first, and you have around five to seven minutes.

>> MATT PETERSON: Sure, can you hear me?

>> JORGE CANCIO: We hear you loud and clear.

>> MATT PETERSON: Thank you for the introduction.  It's a pleasure to be here.  I'm the head of the Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, and the Climate Pledge Fund is a two billion dollar investment vehicle started earlier this year as a complement to Amazon's climate pledge.  Amazon's climate pledge was a initiative announced last year where it's a commitment for Amazon to be net zero carbon by the year 2040.  And as part of that we are building a Coalition of other companies of similar size to Amazon to join the Coalition and share in that goal of being net zero by 2040.

One of the first things that we figured out after that initiative was set up was that in order for companies to get to net zero by 2040, the technologies that exist that will make that possible, a lot of them don't exist today.  These are things that are still being developed, the technologies are very new.  Products are still nascent.  Even if they are available, they are not at a scale that a company like Amazon or others in the climate pledge can take advantage of in the current form.  We thought about what a pledge fund would look like as a result of that.

We asked ourselves, if these companies that need to be supported to help Amazon reach its own goals of being net zero carbon, can somehow be accelerated and develop their products faster, get to the market faster and get funded easier, then that will benefit everybody involved on the pledge as well.  That is the goal of the Climate Pledge Fund, is to identify companies whose products, technologies and services will help Amazon and other companies get to net zero faster, and put money behind them to accelerate that effort.

The big difference between what we are doing and what other say venture capitalists are doing or other investment firms is that we are asking ourselves up front, is this a product or technology that Amazon can use, and we look through our investments through that lens.  If the answer is yes, that gives us an early look into what could be available, it helps us determine whether or not it's going to be a successful company or successful product, because it works for a company at Amazon scale it probably works for a lot of other companies too.  Most importantly, what we are doing for the companies is not just giving them money.  We are not just putting capital into their operations in looking for them to grow and hoping all will go well.  We are giving them money to grow, but also giving them a customer too.

The idea is that over time, we can support companies both by developing products and be one of their biggest customers going forward and help them sustain that over time.  An example of that, one of the first examples of the company where we have done this is with Rivian, a electric vehicle manufacturer.  It's gotten press lately, raised a lot of money, and we were an early investor in them in 2019.  As part of that, we invested hundreds of millions of dollars the same way any investor would, but later in the year we made public our commitment and made public our purchase of 100,000 electric vehicles from Rivian with the goal of within ten years to completely electrify our last mile delivery fleet.

As much as we are supporting Rivian from a investment perspective, the real value we are adding is supporting them from a customer perspective in buying 100,000 of their vehicles which will eventually aid Amazon in becoming net zero.  Ultimately, once we have done that, other investors who have seen the results of Amazon being a customer, the company has raised two or three billion dollars since then and they have a anchor customer to show it's beyond a prototype, beyond something theoretical.  It is usable by a company like Amazon.  That is the goal of the program, of the Climate Pledge Fund program, is to find other products and other companies similar to that, where we can be a customer to help us decarbonize, help other companies make climate pledge and help other companies around the world decarbonize with these technologies and support them both from a demand side of giving them business as well as supply side of giving them capital.

The program started earlier this year, in June.  We announced five investments so far.  Later in this program, I can walk through some of them, and how they fit with Amazon.  But by and large, what we are trying to do is use Amazon's scale and size to help these companies succeed because we have a common goal of decarbonization.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Great, Matt.  Thank you very much for keeping to time, and for very interesting how you are using scale both from the demand side and also looking for good investments to decarbonize and to help other companies.  I don't see any questions.  So I would pass the floor over to Nick Wise, who will set the scene for his side and what OceanMind is focusing on.  Nick, I hope also technologies are working on your side.

>> NICK WISE: Hopefully you can hear me.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Yeah.

>> NICK WISE: Fabulous.  Great.  Thank you.  OceanMind is somewhat different in that we are a implementation organization.  We are one of those organizations attacking environmental problems with technology.  The challenge that we face with environmental problems is that typically huge and interconnected thriving ecosystems are essential for our well‑being, and we rely on nature to provide us with food and oxygen, clean water, and habitable climate.  But damaged ecosystems provide less, less food, less oxygen, and as we have seen they have reduced ability to regulate the climate to maintain favorable conditions.

In recent decades, we have come to realize that although nature is vast, its balance is fragile and more easily disrupted than we previously thought.  To make progress on some of these big environmental issues, we need data, lots and lots of data.  Monitoring the state of a particular environmental situation, such as the rate of deforestation in an area, requires a vast array of sensors both local and remote to observe the situation.  Monitoring the impact on a change in the environment such as the impact of deforestation on biodiversity, oxygen production, carbon absorption and so forth is more complex.  Observing secondary effects and attributing them to a root cause is challenging and data intensive.  In times gone by, the data challenge would have been met by scientists observing events, supported by imagery, but all manually processed.  It was a arduous process.  It worked at a site level but didn't scale well.  But today the world is a different place due to technology.  We have ubiquitous satellite imagery that lets us see the entire surface of the planet every day.  We have new satellite sensors gathering new data in greater detail than before.  We have new platforms such as drones, and we have the Internet of Things powering sensors.  If you know what you are looking for, the chances are now that there are multiple data sources that can inform you and if there aren't, it's easier and cheaper and quicker than ever to employ new data regimes and observe nature at scale.  We are facing a new challenge, we have gone to a lack of data to overabundance.  There is so much data looking at everything that the challenges in making sense of the data and working out what it means, to understand the data in context we need to bring many sources together and analyze it in aggregate.

This means we need scales of bandwidth, storage and compute that is only possible through the cloud computing platforms, getting data transformed and cleaned, stored, indexed and available is only the first giant problem though.

Extracting knowledge from the data is only possible through computational analysis.  The sheer volume of data means no human is ever going to look at it at all.  Computers must sift and filter and draw out interesting features discarding those that don't make the grade.  With the growth in data, we have therefore seen the growth in data science.  Machine learning is increasingly being applied to spot patterns and trends in data and highlight features of interest.  Artificial intelligence is developing to support decision‑making based on learned patterns and distilling data down to actionable insights.  This gives rise to more challenges of accuracy and bias in ethics as people lean more in the recommendations of machines to make their decisions without truly understanding how they work.

Yet, this modern technology gives us a exciting possibility, we can now more effectively than ever monitor and manage our planet and the state of nature.  We can track the degradation of biodiversity in remote locations, we can see that the oxygenation and acidification of the ocean and observe overfishing and associated reduction in abundancy.  We know about the thousands of species threatened with extinction.  What we can see, what was not apparent before and with this visibility comes the opportunity to take action.

Technology is the key that unlocks the problem of restoring our environment in my opinion.  Anyone with just a laptop can now open a cloud computing account, obtain data observing almost any aspect of our planet, apply algorithms and toolkits to spot features and patterns and trends in the data and identify potential actions to reverse trends of decline.

Then they can monitor the effect of taking a action in near realtime and repeat.  We have a real opportunity to take a agile approach to environmental recovery, small incremental steps building up to monumental change.  We all have that ability to drive change no matter what our industry or mission.  We just need the will to act.  And today we are going to hear from a few of our colleagues that have already shown the will and they are already creating impact.

I'm hopeful that everyone else will want to join us as well.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Absolutely, I see that there is a common theme emerging from many discussions.  I've been hearing about data, about data governance, interoperability, trying to make sense of that abundance of data.  This is really a very fruitful ecosystem where we are moving here in the IGF, where we can put together a lot of knowledge that we will be able to tackle this to address this.

I think that we have already one question.  We have about two minutes to address that, if it's possible.  Barbara, do you want to read it out?

>> BARBARA WANNER: Sure.  Thank you.  This is from Lennart, from ISOC in Germany.  I see why Amazon invests in companies whose products could be useful to them, but wouldn't it be responsible to also invest in companies that protect the environment whose solutions are not directly applicable to Amazon, but maybe to other organizations?

>> MATT PETERSON: That is a good question.  We look at it in two different ways.  The first is that Amazon we believe is a proxy for many different companies.  We have a business that transcends logistics, transportation, cloud computing, retail, physical stores, many different areas of the economy are represented by Amazon.  As much as we say that these businesses that we invest in help Amazon, it also helps all of those different industries I just mentioned.

From our perspective, what we can do for Amazon, we ask ourselves if we can help these companies through our direct involvement.  If it were outside of our business, our core business, then basically we couldn't help them as much as we could as if we were a customer.  We come back to the question, what can we do to be a good supporting partner to the companies we invest in, and if we can do something, that would be helpful and be supportive, that is by essence I think a good indication of investment for us.  Second, maybe another, apart from that, we have other programs besides the Climate Pledge Fund as well.  We do have programs like the right now climate fund which invests in natural solutions as well.  We partner with a nature conservancy to implement nature‑based carbon removing projects in various parts of the world, it is a hundred million dollar fund initially.  Those types of projects are in addition to what I'm doing as part of the Climate Pledge Fund.

We have a portfolio of approaches that we are implementing besides just what my part of the world is.  Look in aggregate, we are going beyond Amazon in many different ways to address these issues.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Thanks so much, Matt.  I hope that with this we can go for the second segment, also in the interest of time keeping, and in this one, we are looking to more specific case studies and example.  Matt and Nick will be joined also by Caroline Louveaux and Paolo.  Caroline is the executive Vice President and chief privacy officer for MasterCard, and she leads the global team responsible for legal compliance, policy and regulatory engagement on privacy and data protection.  She advises the company on a broad range of privacy and data related issues.  Paolo Gemma is a senior specialist and representative of Huawei on the issues related to energy saving environmental sustainability.  He is a member of ITU‑T study group 5 which deals with environment climate change and circular economy, where he is Chairman of working party 2, which deals with environment and energy efficiency and the circular economy.  He also acts as Co‑Chairman of the focus group on environmental efficiency of AI, and other emerging technologies.  He is Vice‑Chairman of the united sustainable cities initiative.  In this segment, as I mentioned at the very beginning, it would also be very interesting, as Barbara mentioned, if the panelists could give any views during their explanations on the youth for digital sustainability recommendations.  They just mentioned two of their recommendations.  The second one which I think is relevant here is that the youth caucus recommends promoting access to the Internet and other ICTs as a matter of sustainability, everyone wants to connect the next billion, taking into consideration the significant environmental impact that digitalization comprehends, also recommendation 4 of the youth caucus that businesses should champion diversity and sustainability by hiring C suite representatives and consulting subject matter experts and strengthening their commitment towards principles of diversity, equity and inclusion and ecological digital infrastructure.

Having said that, and letting it trickle into your minds, I would like to start now with Caroline.  I hope also technology is okay on your side.  I understand that MasterCard has recently adopted a program to empower consumers to address climate change.  Would you mind explaining a bit about who MasterCard is and what your program is about?  Caroline, please, the floor is yours, and you have about 8 minutes.

>> CAROLINE LOUVEAUX: Thank you, Jorge.  Can you hear me properly?

>> JORGE CANCIO: Perfect.

>> CAROLINE LOUVEAUX: Everybody knows who MasterCard is.  We are a global technology company.  Our role is to process payment transactions on behalf of our customers, mainly banks and merchants.  We of course also make sure that transactions are safe, secure and there is no further activity in our system.  What does that mean for climate change, we are exploring how we can leverage access and play our part in the fight against climate change, and our key assets include global network, our expertise on data, so I was interested in Nick's presentation and focus on privacy and human rights.

That is one piece of the puzzle.  We are connecting our assets and expertise with those of partners, is where we see opportunities to have the greatest impact.  It is what we are doing right by doing good together.  With our global reach, MasterCard can engage and empower not only companies, other companies who work in partner with us on environmental issues, but also individuals.  That is the difference, we have about 2.6 billion cardholders around the globe, which is approximately one third of the whole human population so it's a huge group of people, we can really engage and encourage to take an action, and to play a active role in this ecological transition.  How do we achieve that with MasterCard.  We have launched our process planet Coalition which unites the efforts of banks, merchants, and cities to address the climate change with deforestation of a hundred million trees over five years.  We announced a expansion of the Coalition, introducing even more corporate partners around the globe, and more climate change experts on advisory committee.  The goal is to deliver a true network effect, where the collaboration makes much bigger, much greater than the sum of its parts so everybody can benefit.

Let me give an example.  We are working together with merchants through redemption of loyalty points against the planting of trees, so basically people are going to be able to spend their loyalty plants they have with merchants with planting of trees instead of in complement to other items that they have catalog of merchants.  It is one example to illustrate that we want to emphasize the role that people can play by making choice in favor of the environment.  We constantly are looking for opportunities to leverage our partnerships, and our technologies, to deliver more sustainable digital economy.  For example, we make a mobile app available to people so that it can make direct relation to the partners of our Coalition and to round up every day purchases.  We are building a widget API connection between banks and merchants to make it easier and faster and safer for people to make those donations and to contribute to climate causes.

We have many more examples.  But this is in a nutshell what process plan set all about, we empower and inspire consumers to take action against climate change and all of that while leveraging our key partnerships.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Thank you so much, Caroline.  Any reaction or any word on the recommendations from the youth Internet Governance Forum, on your side?

>> CAROLINE LOUVEAUX: Are you asking me the question?

>> JORGE CANCIO: Yeah.

>> CAROLINE LOUVEAUX: Actually, yes, I had some comments that I was looking at other recommendations which are more aligned with my expertise on privacy and human rights.  Do I need to expand on those?  I was looking for example on the fair digital businesses recommendations, and the sustainable Internet Governance, which both highlight the need for businesses to promote transparency and to grant people more control over their data.  Of course, being transparent about what you do with the data and providing people with that power over the file that has been used and shared is not only a legal requirement in many jurisdiction around the globe, but it's successful to build the trust in a digital economy.  So we believe at MasterCard that there is a need for law that promote meaningful protections for people, but also allow businesses to apply globally use data for responsible innovation.  Today we have a patchwork of different standards across the globe and that is bad for everyone, for consumers, business and society.  We believe it is crucial to have the global interoperability between all those standards.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Thank you so much, Caroline.  I see that the themes about data and data control, could even say digital self‑determination, and we are starting in Switzerland, also reverberate in your comments.  Thank you so much, Caroline.  Now, the turn is for Nick.  Nick will now present the case study illustrating OceanMind creates a better understanding of what is happening in the ocean, so that seafood industry can make sustainable choices.  Nick, the floor is yours.  I hope you can make it in 8 minutes.  Thank you.

>> NICK WISE: Thank you.  I hope so too.  I'll speak quickly.  Over 80 percent of all life on earth dwells in the ocean.  It produces over half of the planet's oxygen.  3 billion people derive their protein from seafood, and one in eight people depend on the sea to earn their livelihood.  The ocean is crucial to the global carbon cycle and regulates our weather and our climate.  For these reasons, and many more, human well‑being is directly linked to the health of the ocean.

OceanMind is a nonprofit organization, whose purpose is to power marine enforcement and compliance to protect the ocean's ability to provide for human well‑being.  We work with governments to help them enforce their regulations more effectively, and work with the seafood industry to help them source more responsibly.

OceanMind, we bring together all data needed to understand maritime human activity on the ocean and impact on ocean health.  We use tracking information on vessels of all shapes and sizes, commercial, governmental, proprietary.  We use satellite observations from a wide variety of sensors, including optical imagery, radar from space and infrared detections.  We use data from buoys, sensors.  We use licensing databases and collect local information from ports and authorities.  We codify laws and rules that regulate human maritime activity.  We bring the data together in the Microsoft cloud and use our customized machine learning algorithms to highlight suspected noncompliant activity.

We refined our machine learning over time to understand the human activity, for example, fishing.  Initially, algorithms could detect generic fishing activity with reasonable accuracy.  But now it can spot the different phases of fishing really well, setting fishing gear, soaking or towing the gear and recovering gear with high accuracy.  This means we can now use data to estimate the amount of work a crew might have to do, and whether labor laws and rest periods are being followed.  We can go further.  With deep knowledge of the phases of fishing, we combine this with other factors and we can estimate the sustainability of the activity.  For example, most caught by a fishing technique, a massive net looped around a school of fish, tightened at the bottom like a purse and the entire school, hundreds of tons of fish are scooped from the ocean.  The fishing industry developed techniques to make this process more efficient, they drop a large object into the ocean and leave it to float for a while and then return.

Many fish will have aggregated under this device, called a fish aggregating device or fad, for shelter, shade and security.  The person comes and scoops not just the target species but everything else sheltering there, such as sharks, turtles, juveniles and other species.  Using fad increases catch and affects biodiversity and reduces sustainability.  Conversely, free swimming has less by catch, less impact on other species and as a result is more responsible.  Working with markets in the UK, OceanMind analyzes catch data provided by suppliers in combination with other sources available.  Using this information we detect whether a catch supplied was caught fad free as claimed, or potentially made use of the fad.  The key to making this determination is the combination of advanced technology and deep experience in fisheries that allows us to understand and interpret the information identified by the algorithms.  The benefits of cloud computing, big data techniques and machine learning are that this approach is not limited to fad fishing.  We can scale our analysis to other suppliers and situations.  The independent third party validation is important to Sainsbury to provide transparency and assurance on their commitments to sustainability and biodiversity.  This in turn translates into consumer trust and confidence and establishes brand leadership.

While Sainsbury was the first mover, they are far from alone in wanting verification of the catch they purchase.  For many species and locations around the world, OceanMind provides validation information to more than 20 seafood organizations around the world to ensure regulatory compliance with import regulations and to support sustainability and biodiversity commitments, which in turn increase brand credibility and consumer confidence.

The availability of modern technology allows retailers to do something they never could before.  They can look inside their own supply chains from afar and validate the information that they are told.  Instead of taking on trust that the fish were caught correctly because a piece of paper said so, they can now cross‑reference different data sources to check.  This is powerful and brings a new dimension to regulatory compliance and sustainability commitments.

This doesn't just benefit the retailer.  With the ability to check deeper issues such as labor law compliance against modern slavery commitments, the whole supply chain can benefit right down to the worker.  Transparency allows new insights and transparency, technology allows new insights and transparency and supply chains which will drive more responsible sourcing practices.  Technology is helping us understand our impact on the planet and transparency is driving real change for the better.

This leads to the youth digital sustainability recommendations, which are a great set of principles that can be applied to help organizations actually meet those strives for change, change for better.  There are a wide range of different recommendations to suit different types of businesses, some broadly applicable.  Number 4 in particular is something that is very close to our hearts, that is everyone on our team, not just the C suite but everyone across the organization is committed to sustainability, environment, and indeed diversity, equity and inclusion.

Everything about the work that we do is driven by people who are passionate about this field.  But the recommendations help to set businesses up to make change, just from small changes within their own practices.  I'm very pleased to see them, and hope that they can be widely adopted.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Thanks so much, Nick, fascinating how you use technology to track the seafood supply chain, to validate supply chains related to trusting ability how you are really using or implementing the advances in technology to analyze data and to empower supermarkets and with them the customers to do that.  Thanks very much.

I think we can go now over to Matt from Amazon and take all the questions I'm seeing piling up in the Q&A pod at the end of this presentations.  So Matt, now you can introduce to us the Climate Pledge Fund and more in detail and how it works.  So if you could do this in also about 8 minutes, and so we leave a bit of time for the questions.

>> MATT PETERSON: Sure.  Hopefully my previous comment, I gave a good overview of what the Climate Pledge Fund was.  More specifically now, I can talk about what we look to invest in and examples of those companies.

We looked to invest in six different areas, transportation, energy, buildings, manufacturing, circular economy and food and agriculture, all of these are areas that are important to Amazon and important to organizations.  We invest in a fair number of, large number of investments in the earlier stage, so these are companies that are early in their involvement, they have just had a product that is potentially ready to be sold, but they have not yet scaled that up to customers.  We make a lot of investments there, but also make investments later in the company's growth as well.  That is more the Rivian type of investment where we put more money to work, but at the same time we have a clear view of how these companies can work with Amazon around decarbonization.

Taking a quick tour through the companies we invested in so far, the ones we announced publicly, Rivian is our largest investment.  We first led a 700 million‑dollar investment in Rivian in early 2019, and subsequently ordered 100,000 of their delivery vans to electrify our last mile.  That is a ongoing relationship, where we are going to start putting some of those trucks on the road next year.  We announced, unveiled what the trucks look like a month ago.  And they are being built purposely and custom‑made for Amazon with the idea of they can eventually be used for others as well.  I described earlier, we are trying to push forward development of commercial vehicles, and as a result of that we are pushing forward the mass electrification of charging stations for our facilities and working with local governments and municipalities to increase electrification and charging infrastructure across the United States and eventually in the world as well.

I should mention we have agreement with Mercedes to buy electric vehicles from them, to start the electrification process in Europe.  Rivian is in the United States, but we are going internationally with this initiative, with the goal of having a entire fleet electrified within ten years.

That is Rivian, and that is our largest investment and the one most widely known.

Other investments we have announced recently include CarbonCure, a manufacturer of low carbon cement.  Most people don't know, but cement production and concrete production is 12 percent of the world's emissions.  It is a industry that is unfortunately slow to adapt and one whereby meaningful change is hard to come by, by the incredible demand for concrete and building materials, but also it's difficult industry to carbonize because of processes that are used.  CarbonCure has invented a technology that allows cement to be used, to be created with significantly less carbon involved in it.  It allows the concrete to be constructed with less cement as well.

But at the same time, the amount, the strength of the cement is the same as traditional cement.  It allows buildings and other structures to be constructed without as much cement as they would otherwise, thereby lowering their carbon footprint.

It turned out Amazon is the biggest customer of CarbonCure, in that all our buildings are going forward, many buildings are being used or being built with their product.  Our headquarters HQ2 is being built with CarbonCure cement.  The fact that we are already their biggest customer gave us a good signal that this is a company we should invest in, if their product works for our needs and our buildings, chances are they work for many others.  This is echoing a theme that I mentioned earlier around how Amazon is a good indicator of a company's product for other uses too.

The company is based in Canada, and has raised around with us moving into Asia rapidly.  In terms of the impact that this could have on the global carbon emissions we are looking at as a step to try to address a big process, or big problem with cement and concrete emissions.

Another company we invested in is called Redwood Materials.  This company was founded by the CTO and cofounder of Tesla, by JB Straubel, one of the battery experts in the world.  And this company is anticipating a world where everything is moving to electrification, vehicles, electricity, everything is going to be, there is going to be a new paradigm around electrification for transportation and many other functions.  As a result, batteries are going to be in greater demand.  But the chemicals or at least the minerals and metals that make up these batteries are typically from the, they are mined in different countries, often in areas of the world where there are human rights violations, and the need to recycle these materials and reuse them is going to be ever more important.

Redwood Materials is a large scale battery recycling company, where they take used batteries, electric vehicles, eWaste, any lithium batteries and reconstitute them into their core minerals and metals, and rebuild them and repurpose them eventually for new batteries and cathode production for the sale to larger companies like Panasonic and others who are, with LG, making the batteries.  We did this as a circular economy play as much as transportation play.  Amazon is a big consumer of batteries.  We see, and user of batteries for our operations, so working with them has given us a opportunity to put our batteries into a reusable, recyclable condition that can be rebuilt for other purposes later.

Another company that we invested in is called Turntide, a company that redesigned the electric motor.  Motors consume 50 percent of the world's electricity.  And in some various fashion, various shapes and forms, what they have done is built a more efficient motor, think about a LED light, compared to incandescent light in terms of it can be retrofitted into existing designs, but at the same time has incredible electricity savings.  This motor is designed in a completely different way that's only made possible by advances in compute power.  It is a software controlled motor, as opposed to a strictly electricity or analog controlled motor.  It is digitally controlled by chips that keep it spinning in a way that provides consistency, but at the same time uses a fraction of the electricity.

The use case that they have identified that is very important to Amazon and others is in HVAC systems, heating and cooling.  These motors can be put to retrofit and replace fans in HVAC units that typically sit on top of buildings, these large air‑conditioning, heating units on top of buildings.  You can go in, take out the old motor, put in the new motor and immediately get 50 percent savings on electricity, because the fan, the spinning of the motor and the fan is something that this new technology is very well‑built for, starting and stopping, getting up to speed and slowing down is what their motors are important for.

We are using these products in our own buildings right now and piloting them in a number of others.  They are getting a lot of attention and growth from a lot of other building construction and other large corporations like Amazon that have a need to retrofit and maybe make their own heating and cooling systems much more efficient.

Finally, the company that we invested in, it's interesting to hear Nick talk about OceanMind because this is a similar company called Pachama, though they operate in a different environment.  It uses remote sensing artificial intelligence satellite data, lidar, people on the ground to evaluate reforestation projects.  They have a presence in the Amazon, in Brazil, in Africa, Asia, and the idea is to monitor, evaluate and verify the efficacy of carbon offset programs.  Carbon offsets are known as a means for companies or others to reduce their net carbon output.  But at the same time, there is a huge variation in quality.  Some of them are invested in projects that may or may not actually be doing what they are intended to do or at least what they are saying they are supposed to do.

Pachama is raising the bar, the quality of these projects by using modern technology and cloud computing and remote sensing to see if these forests, afforestation and reforestation projects are doing what they are supposed to be doing, so they can measure over time the growth or the reforestation capabilities of these projects such that then they can look to sell offsets that are credible and verifiable as opposed to ones that might not have that level of rigor.

That company aligns closely to Amazon's commitment, as I mentioned before, to our own reforestation projects through the climate fund, which is a hundred million dollar investment in projects that are proven by us or at least verified by us to do tangible good and reduce carbon emissions from a natural sequestration perspective.  That fit well into this initiative from Amazon.  As a Climate Pledge Fund investee, it checks those boxes too.  Anyway, those are five companies that we have announced so far.  We have many more to come. I think they will be similar in areas of focus and importance both to Amazon and other companies that could take advantage of their solutions.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Thank you so much, Matt.  These are amazing examples.  I see that there are many same or similar ideas come forward once and again, reduce, reuse, recycle.  This also is a good segue to more standard setting area where Paolo Gemma is active, because they really need to try standard setting organizations like the ITU to look how can we tackle at the macro level climate change and eWaste, also in the end.  Paolo, what do you think are the main barriers for implementing digital technologies to solve environmental problems?  How do you think we can integrate such important sustainable environmental values as ones that are contained also in the principles and recommendations put forward by the youth IGF in technological development, how do you contribute to that in your study groups and in your focus groups in the ITU.  The floor is yours.  I hope the technology is with you too.

>> PAOLO GEMMA:  I hope technology is working, or I make a very bad impression.

>> JORGE CANCIO: I see you.

>> PAOLO GEMMA:  ITU is producing standard, ITU‑T is producing standard and study group 5 is working on environmental climate change.  We provide guidance or implementing energy solution for Telecom side, to help city to improve energy efficiency of equipment, and also to increase their resilience of their infrastructure to different climate conditions.  That is important to be ready to change in the climate.  We give guidance from migrating to a economy, when we speak about sustainability as was recognized, we need to change our model of development to go in a more sustainable way.  One possibility is to go to, moving to a circular economy, not to linear economy.

We are working also on reducing CO2 emission, giving trajectory of idea on how much is it taking to reduce our footprint, and also help other sector to reduce waste footprint.  This is something that we can do.

The problem of barrier, there is a lot of barriers in reality.  Two main barriers of technical challenges that many are facing when implementing, artificial intelligence can help a lot on environmental efficiency.  This is one of the reasons to have this new focus group, to work on artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies, not only artificial intelligence, also, I don't know, big data and so on, from governmental point of view, which is important, artificial intelligence on governmental to have better governmental effort, also which is really the input of artificial intelligence because artificial intelligence needs at the end a computer to work, so we need to be sure that when implement, not only benefit ‑‑ the lack of compatibility of legacy system, mainly mainframe, which make it difficult to integrate new systems, programs of innovation.  This is something we need to express because when we spoke about new technology, fantastic and improve a lot, reduce a lot of CO2 emission, the environment of print, but the realities is that there is a lot of old system equipment in the world so we cannot put all the waste, then we create a problem of waste management and problem of business to implement.  Digitalization is very complex project that involve use of data.  Knowledge of digital system infrastructure application, need to be able to communicate and share data one to the other.  It is far too often that data is seen as the most challenging, communication, data liability, so on, the second big barrier is digital divide.  Today half of the world population remain off‑line.  It is important barrier, this is a big issue.  A challenge in many country, especially developing country, with over half of the world population live in city, to be more sustainable and resilient to deliver a strong response to global challenges including climate change.  This is why UN, UNESCO, commission for Sustainable Development is actually working to connect the other half of the world population, while at the risk of being left behind.  I live in Italy, Italy has lot of small community and we have also problem of connections sometimes, not only in developing country but sometimes also in the developed country, because in city, there is normally a good connection, but not everywhere.  The big challenge in the future is give connection to every people in a very sustainable way.  This is all for me, for my side, Jorge.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Thank you, Paolo.  Nice way of taking us a macro look and connecting it with the connectivity issues, and of course if we are able to connect the rest of humankind in sustainable fashion and at the same time, transit to more sustainable ways of connecting those who are already connected, this will be really a key effort in the coming years.

So I think that we are more or less on time.  But I see that many questions or at least a number of questions have been piling up.  I guess I will ask Barbara to take over the remote moderation of these questions.

>> BARBARA WANNER: All righty.  Can you hear me okay?

>> JORGE CANCIO: Yeah.

>> BARBARA WANNER: Good.  A question for all of our speakers came in first, just as governments have designed a credit system for reducing carbon footprints, is there a similar system of rewards to business for solving macro social problems, are there agencies working in this direction?  Anybody want to take that?

>> PAOLO GEMMA:  ITU, we have a agency, and we are working, as study group 5, we wrote standard, but we are working also to help other countries to implement eWaste management, sometimes in collaboration with other sector of ITU, like the ITU‑D, that is more linked to develop, we create workshop, to talk with people to be aware what is climate change, what is the challenge, and some possibility the case they can implement in their countries.  Also the more sustainable cities is a group managed putting together the idea on how to create more sustainable city.  That is when we start, I don't know, number of years ago with discussion of smart city, at ITU‑T we prefer to speak about smart sustainable city, not only smart.  A city need to be smart but also need to be sustainable.  Definitely there is no possibility to survive for us in this and that is all I can give to this point.

>> BARBARA WANNER: Thank you very much.  Anyone else want to add any thoughts?  Or shall we move on?  I'll move on and if anybody wants to come back and make another point that addresses that question, you can.  This is a question for Matt.  Can you share information about how Amazon is working to ensure that the air pollution caused by Amazon's logistics infrastructure are not disproportionately affecting communities that are affected by environmental racism?

>> MATT PETERSON: Environmental justice is something that is very much a top concern for us, both the sustainability group and the rest of Amazon.  My role in this, we look for innovation in the areas, especially logistics and transportation groups, to reduce pollution and make it better for the communities.  I described we are looking to electrify our entire last mile delivery fleet which would be a huge improvement in air pollution quality or air quality among any community we operate in, the centers and delivery network, and for our middle mile too.  We are looking to use different types of new fuels, electrification, hydrogen, clean fuels that will be far greater in their ability I think to reduce air pollution and in the communities where we are operating now.

It is an important consideration for us, and we are using our ability to find innovative solutions to lower air pollution quality.

>> BARBARA WANNER: For Nick, thanks for the interesting insight of OceanMind.  Is OceanMind mainly working with private companies for regulatory compliance and to implement their sustainability goal, or is the data also made available for better policymaking at national or international levels?

>> NICK WISE: That is a great question.  In actual fact, probably two‑thirds of OceanMind's work is with governments and international authorities.  That work is to focus on the regulatory compliance from a enforcement standpoint, because it's the Governments and authorities who have the power to act against some of these noncompliance events.

Private companies are key elements when we are talking about the technology development and innovation and adoption.  But in reality, they are part of the compliance infrastructure as well.  There is a strong interconnection between how governments work and what the private sector does and in actual fact I'll speak more about that in a moment when we talk about multistakeholder.

>> BARBARA WANNER: Great.  Finally, I open this up to the group.  Do you think we need a new global set of standards more governing digital ecosystem of earth APIs, environmental APIs, who is the right actor to broker this kind of digital API ecosystem for the planet.

>> NICK WISE: I'm happy to take a quick first stab.  As an implementer, standards would be useful, but I expect them to take time to come to development.  In the meantime there will be defacto standards that are used by different groups.  These will in my mind be driven by the cloud platform providers.  For example, Amazon and Microsoft and others are putting these data sets into their cloud platforms and making them available at scale for people to work with, we work with Microsoft's planetary computer concept, but overall, I think all of the platform providers have a similar idea that they want to make these things available and doing their best to make them accessible.

In reality, it will be the different users who work in these different ecosystems that start to demand standards through the use of the different data sets, and I think we will get there over time, from a experimental point of view.

>> BARBARA WANNER: Terrific.  Thank you.

>> CAROLINE LOUVEAUX: If I can echo what was said, as a lawyer I confirm any global standards takes a lot of time to emerge, if any.  We have been looking for global standards on privacy and data and we are far from being there.  It is going to emerge from the industry I think, and from informal conversations, absolutely.

>> PAOLO GEMMA:  I am the guy from standardization, but depend what type of standard.  Security sure will take a very long time.  But I like to remind, standard organization is working with the people that is coming from the industry, so if industry want to have a standard and they go to a standard organization, you can have a standard in short time, have a standard that can help you also to promote your product, you can say my product is following international standard, we agree with other company on how to make this piece of activity.  This is where through standard we change a lot in the future because we are moving for more standardized, I don't know, wide standardize idea is challenging, we are working on some standard in my very long experience, we are moving to standard in three week, in three day, to standard that will work for years, depending.  If people from the organization want to have standard, go to the standard organization, not necessarily ITU but which standard organization do you want and work really to have a standard, then you can have a result in a short time.  This is only standard.  If you want to speak about rule, it will be nightmare really.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Okay.  Thank you so much, Paolo.  If it's okay, I'll take it from you, Barbara, because I think we are running a bit short of time.  But this discussion about standards and I think it's standards in the widest sense, common approaches, has very much to do with the third segment of our workshop, where our panelists will briefly provide their perspectives, how does multistakeholder collaboration, what we are doing here, what we are starting here in the IGF is important to develop meaningful solutions to address environmental challenges.

Here we will need to be very strict on time.  I'll ask you to stick to two minutes, if it's possible.  Matt, you are the first.  You have those two minutes sharp.  Thank you.

>> MATT PETERSON: I appreciate it.  It's interesting to talk about standards in the context of the Climate Pledge Fund, because the climate pledge as I mentioned at the top of this discussion is an effort by Amazon to get other companies as well as Amazon itself be net zero carbon by 2040.  Since we announced that program, we had other companies cosigned it with us and agreed to be part of the Coalition and international Coalition.  You have Verizon, Infosys, Mercedes, Best Buy, Siemens Snyder Electric and a number of others who committed to the same goal.  In terms of standards, you can have governmental and corporate standards.  We are trying to be a leader in providing corporate standards so others can join and be part of the same effort to get to where we need to be as quickly as possible from a emissions perspective.

The Climate Pledge Fund has been established to aid in that transition, to help those companies as well as any other company frankly to have access to these types of solutions that don't exist today, but are necessary to get to where we need to be in 20 years or less than 20 years now if not sooner.  I do believe that having a multilateral approach with different corporations all committing to the same goals and being held accountable to those goals is really important and it's very complementary to what governmental and international organizations can do in terms of setting additional guidelines and support systems to help everybody involved reach those goals.

>> PAOLO:  George, microphone.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Ha Ha, thank you.  I forgot.  I was saying that it's perfect, thank you so much, Matt, for sticking to the allotted time.  Now Nick, the floor is yours.  What is your two minutes take about multistakeholder collaboration in this field?

>> NICK WISE: Thank you.  OceanMind's approach is around multistakeholder engagement and collaboration to protect the ocean.  Governments are central as they set and agree regulations and international treaties and are responsible for enforcing the rules.  In each country there are already existing partnerships between governments and NGOs, so local NGOs are essential for engaging governments and understanding the local culture and concerns and complexities.  Each country's industry has many different needs and concerns, and directly are affected by regulators' decisions, their livelihoods could be at risk.  There is international markets with complex international rules, regulations and agreements are overlaid with their own supply and demand signals.  International NGOs and advocacy groups also bring different perspectives and demands, but it requires all of these groups to work in harmony in a culture of compliance, for effective enforcement and compliance to be possible, and to give the impacts of conservation and sustainability.  Taking Thailand as an example, we work with the Government to help increase their enforcement capacity but we also work with the seafood industry to make it easier to comply with the rules and provide recommendations for improvement.

We work with local environmental and human rights NGOs for on the ground knowledge and support, and work with large international NGOs to leverage and facilitate discussion.  We work with the international supply chains and buyers who import produce from Thailand into western markets who need to be confident import regulations around legality and human rights are met.  If any stakeholders are not at the table representing their needs and working together to drive change, the work wouldn't be successful.

Given the complexity of the issues facing the planet, I believe that multistakeholder engagement is a minimum requirement.

>> JORGE CANCIO: I think we can write that on our flags, that multistakeholder is a minimum requirement, that is a good standard to begin with.  Caroline, you have two minutes.  What is your view, what is MasterCard's view?

>> CAROLINE LOUVEAUX: We already demonstrated that the partnerships are key to our model, to a Coalition.  MasterCard makes a difference in this conversation.  We place the individual at the center of what we do.  When it comes to your data, we believe you own it, you control it, you should benefit from it, and we protect it.  Those are consumer principles that guide all of the practices of MasterCard.  In the context of the green transition, our commitment to privacy as being standard to help people understand and control their environmental impact and empower them to make helpful changes.  We partner with a Swedish Fintech which allow mobile users to understand and reduce their carbon footprint for every day purchases, so they understand how consumption impacts the environment.  Only with that transparency, that control can we empower people to make powerful changes and to have a impact on the environment.  There is more, and if I have one moment, I want to connect to what Nick was saying how we can leverage data and technology to help solve problems including climate change.  It is true, AI and machine learning can make a difference, as they can extract valuable data, but for people and society, if this is not done properly, it can bring risks for people, for privacy and for human rights.  That is how MasterCard has pioneered the new Anonymization solutions where we anonymize data in a way that fully protects people's privacy and human rights.  These are at core keeping the individual at the center is key to get it right.  Obviously we are always looking for new partnerships.  If you are interested, please knock on our door.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Excellent points.  Thank you so much, Caroline.  I think this is a moment where partnerships may be blossoming or may be starting.  I see the topic of data, data governance, control by the user as a basis for trust.  This is also macro topic here at the IGF this year.  It's great that you made those points, Caroline.  Paolo, coming from Huawei and working at ITU in those study groups, what is your view on what we can do on these issues for multistakeholder solutions?

>> PAOLO GEMMA:  We think of it multistakeholder approach is very important to have climate action for driving sustainable city and community.  Multistakeholder approach allow policymaker and other members to come together on something, to better look at resource.  Normally we need both public and private sector to take into consideration we need a lot of different stakeholder.  The project can deliver change more efficiently, provide efficiency in policy and elevate local best practice at international level.  We have a focus group, this is global open to anyone without any fee to pay, to raise the impact of artificial intelligence, 5G and other technology.  We work on the focus group, is open to all people that want to come, all stakeholder, we are working on 14 deliverables, led by industry leader, innovator, and more.  We are member of more sustainable city, which is a nation initiative but to provide a global path to support transition to more sustainable city using ICT.  One of the big projects, very important project is more sustainable cities, a key performance indicator for sustainable city project, 19 indicators that smart and sustainable city based on three dimensions, these are environment, economic and social and cultural.  API can be applied to the city and give guidance on how to move the city to be more smarter.  We are working now on a guide but this is something just published now but contain implementation work to become a circular city on all environmental aspects.  The last is we are working on a city transformation, digital technology in city and connect city action to SDGs.  We are working on that with all our stakeholder now.  We need really a multistakeholder approach.  We failed, we are not able to work on only one or two people on these topics.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Thank you so much, Paolo.  I think the invitation is open to everyone attending here to contribute to work of ITU, the study group, very interesting invitation to put resources at that work.  We are quickly arriving at the end of this workshop.  We still have one final fourth segment which is final wrap up with short take‑aways from our panelists, where they may also share their commitments to the IGF, you know that this year within this framework and evolution to an IGF plus within the UN Secretary‑General's roadmap, it's also time to say what's your commitment to the IGF, whatever it may be.

Let's reverse order and let's start with Paolo, I see you taking pictures.  But you have one minute.

>> PAOLO GEMMA:  On what?

>> JORGE CANCIO: Your tweet.

>> PAOLO GEMMA:  As ITU‑T we said always together, we can work together and write something to help the young generation ‑‑ I am not so young ‑‑ to have a better world.  As we said sometimes, we cannot change the past but we can build the future.  And this is very important, but all stakeholders together all the people are working in some way together to find the solution and to agree as a minimum set of solution.  We want to build the best solution ‑‑ I'm optimistic for my nation and company can work together to highlight this goal.  It's interesting to know what Amazon is making, sustainable world is another big point or good step to move together on Sustainable Development for the future generation.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Thanks for that optimistic take away.  Caroline, you have one minute.

>> CAROLINE LOUVEAUX: Thank you, Jorge.  Quickly, I looked at the UN digital cooperation roadmap, for pledge today, and many initiatives are extremely interesting, to continue the work of the UN on this is important, but something that is close to my heart and my work, and that I could commit to continue to do, is to promote trust, security and human rights in the digital era, including for the global collaboration that is needed, we have been discussing today, in the context of artificial intelligence, data and technology.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Okay, thank you so much, Caroline.  I think we can agree on those points.  Nick, what would be your take away in one minute?

>> NICK WISE: OceanMind, it's the technology does not just have the potential to solve environmental problems, but it's a essential ingredient of the solution.  Without technology we wouldn't be able to look at the problem at sufficient scale to truly have impact, and that is why it's core part of the strategy.  For us, we are committed to improving the health of the ocean using technology.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Thanks so much, Nick, very practical, very concrete.  Finally, Matt, what is your one minute golden nugget?

>> MATT PETERSON: It's reinforcing what everybody has been saying, that the IGF is doing important work here, and it's something that we want to continue to support in any way we can.  With the Climate Pledge Fund in particular we would love to give a update as we invest in more companies, find more solutions.  Hopefully what I've described today around some of the companies that we have invested in resonates with a lot of the audience, and they understand the importance of what they are building and maybe how they can employ them in their own walks of life or their own businesses or governments could use as well.  Maybe in preparation for next year's IGF we can be involved in implementing some of or at least incorporating some of our learnings and our findings with the companies that we are working with to help form an additional support for this initiative.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Great, thank you so much, Matt.  And I think we will have some kind of intersessional work here in the IGF coming up, where we are seeing what shape or form, but I think we are one minute over the time, so let me very warmly thank the panel, the organizers, the technical support, and everyone involved in organizing this workshop, especially all those who have stayed here and listened to the discussion and taken part in it.  A report of the session prepared by my colleague Livia Walpen will be posted shortly on the IGF Web site.  I enjoyed very much this session, I hope you did as well.  I don't know if Barbara, you want to say a final word.

>> BARBARA WANNER: No.  I would commend all of our speakers for generously sharing their expertise and contributing to this body of work.  We are grateful that you could, I know this takes time and focus and we are so grateful that you could share all this with the IGF community.  Thank you.

>> JORGE CANCIO: Thank you so much, Barbara, thanks again to everyone involved, especially to Matt, Caroline, Nick and Paolo.  Bye‑bye.

 

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