Hero or Villain – Can Industry Save the World?

I’m Swedish, so I’m always proud when my native country invents something that’s considered globally noteworthy.

Here’s one of Sweden’s latest exports: the word “flygskam,” which means “flight shaming.” It’s the name of a movement that encourages people to stop flying in airplanes to lower carbon emissions, and it gained momentum when Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg took a sailboat across the Atlantic to promote an ecological mindset to the United Nations.

Particularly persecuted for their globe-trotting ways were celebrities who often take private jets for their glamorous travel.

While it would be easy to paint our CO2 emission crisis – and yes, it is a crisis – as an affliction brought on by the glitterati, it would be inaccurate. And, it would do absolutely nothing to combat the two billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions generated each and every day.

Left unchecked, the situation will only get worse. While it took humanity to the year 1804 to reach 1 billion people, we are on track to reach 10 billion by 2050. And these humans will continue to fly. And drive. And heat and air condition their homes.

Consumption is a necessary consequence of progress.

So, who is the real villain in this dilemma? And who is the hero who can save us?

As I told 200+ Canadians this morning at the HxGN LIVE PPM User Conference in Calgary, we can easily see how the villain and the hero are one in the same … it’s the industrial status quo. Heavy industry has done little to truly modernize its way of doing business.

Last year, we commissioned a study of 200 customers to see where their heads were as far as digital transformation goes. None said they were planning to invest in the Digital Twin, which we believe holds the key to industrial efficiency. Even though the cost of scalable sustainability through digital transformation is decreasing, it’s not taking root at the rate we need.

The gap between data creation and data usage is growing. Helpful, efficiency-inducing data is just left lying around.

As I told my Canadian friends, while this sounds depressing, the situation is equally hopeful. It is incumbent on market-leading technology providers like Hexagon PPM to help industry see the cost benefit analysis of doing things differently.

At Hexagon, we merge real-world data – through sensor solutions that capture data – with digital platforms that put data to work to reduce costs in the design, construction and operation of industrial facilities. This is where we can improve margins, increase safety and empower scalable sustainability for the future of the industry.

If we do this, perhaps we can lay claim to the Hjälte – or hero – Movement. The future of the earth depends on it.



As Hexagon PPM President, Mattias Stenberg is responsible for the global strategic direction and overall business development of the company. He has an MBA in economics from Linköping University and a degree in computer sciences from Stockholm University, both in Sweden.

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