Thought Leader 2023: Justin Ellis, Emerson Automation Solutions
What are the three biggest challenges or threats facing your industry in 2023?
I think three areas industry is really grappling with at the moment are: decarbonising and building a more sustainable industry as part of the commitment to manage the issues of climate change; implementing more flexible, hybrid and connected workplaces as part of the working remote revolution; and lastly, building more diverse, inclusive and equitable organisations that deliver better business outcomes and make people feel comfortable to bring their whole self to work.
Discuss the ongoing impact of the skills shortages on your industry and solutions being implemented in 2023?
Australia has many highly talented people but we are a small population. We have relied at times on international talent to help top up gaps but that was very difficult to access during the pandemic period. I think there are two key areas that companies can think about to address skills shortages. One is to use automation to reduce the reliance on human intervention to manage business, processes and operations. Digital transformation plays an important role here and we have been working with many Australian operations to build unique technology-enabled automation solutions. The second is to collaborate with organisations that have specialist skills and can help cover those gaps, for example, engineering, services, technology advisors, etc.
What opportunities do you predict for the growth of your industry in 2023?
I see two major growth areas emerging in industry at the moment and both are related to climate change. Firstly, there is a wave of new investment around building a more sustainable energy supply using hydrogen and renewable electricity. Secondly, for many companies in hard-to-abate sectors new technology solutions are critical to help reduce their carbon emissions. Emerson is excited to have been a partner to many companies over the last two years on some of these technology pilot projects in both scenarios and it is a major focus for our businesses.
How are you ensuring supply chain resilience during times of global uncertainty?
Supply chains have seen unprecedented challenge over the last few years due to the pandemic, war in Ukraine and more recently due to a series of natural disasters. Globally our organisation has done a lot of work around sourcing additional components as well as redesigning certain products to gain access to more reality available components. We are also fortunate that we built a manufacturing facility for a range of our Rosemount products in Melbourne back in 2012, which we have been able to leverage for urgent situations where we need to keep customer operations up and running.
What plans do you have in 2023 for an energy transition to renewables?
Emerson was quick to move a few years ago and implemented a Chief Sustainability Officer in charge of leading programs globally around three key pillars — GREENING OF Emerson is our series of internal programs to achieve our net zero ambitions; GREENING BY Emerson are the collaborations and technology solutions we have been developing and implementing to help industrial operations achieve their net zero goals; and GREENING WITH Emerson are the industry partnerships with research bodies that we have developed to help build expertise. In all three areas I am pleased we have made significant progress both globally as well as in Australia.
What are your carbon emission reduction goals for 2023?
Emerson has aligned its sustainability approach to the Net-Zero Standard set by the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi), the leading organisation driving science-based target adoption. By 2030, Emerson plans to reach net zero across its own operations for Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. I am pleased to say that at a recent corporate review we were ahead of our plan and in a strong position to deliver both our short and long term commitments.
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