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CEO Sustainability Series | Denis Branthonne, Founder & CEO, Novade

As part of the Sustainable Business initiative, the French Chamber of Commerce in Singapore presents a leadership interview series where we invite CEOs and key executives to discuss crucial management qualities that drive successful sustainable transformation

 

 

Question 1 : What does sustainability mean to Novade?

Novade provides digital solutions to the building and construction industry. The company was established in Singapore in 2014 and operates in twenty countries across Europe and Asia. We look at sustainability at three levels: internal operations, product development, and client support. Internally, we have implemented policies to reduce our carbon footprint, such as promoting remote work to minimize commuting and extending the lifespan of electronic devices.

From a product standpoint, we focus on software efficiency to minimise environmental impact. When we started operations, internet access was a major challenge on construction sites, so we optimized our technology to operate offline and require minimal network bandwidth. All data captured, such as pictures, is compressed before being uploaded, and we discourage the usage of videos. Our applications are designed to work on small screens enabling operators to use mobile devices – instead of buying tablets. By maintaining compatibility with older versions of iOS and Android, we ensure that users can utilise older phones. What was initially an innovation that allowed us to be widely adopted in the industry is turning today into a best practice: we have learned to design “light” software, with a limited carbon footprint.

But the most significant contribution Novade can make to sustainability is through its support and influence over its clients - real estate developers, contractors, and public services.

 

Q2 : How might the use of digital technology reduce the environmental effect in the building and construction industry?

The building and construction industry has a significant impact on the global carbon footprint. According to experts, it represents close to 40% of CO2 emissions, 40% of drinking water pollution, and 23% of air pollution. Construction generates 1.5 billion tons of waste globally. The European Commission estimates that construction and demolition represent 33% of all waste generated.

Real estate operators and government agencies have a critical role to play in promoting sustainable practices, but as a digital field tool vendor, Novade can also help find solutions. We can help our clients measure key metrics such as how much concrete is actually used on projects, how much waste is generated, or how heavy equipment is used on construction sites. With the right information, our clients can start putting in place improvement plans. We are currently working with some key clients to achieve these goals, mostly in Northern Europe.

 

Q3 : What are some of the biggest sustainability issues Novade has faced and how did they tackle these challenges?

One of the biggest sustainability challenges is raising awareness. To tackle this, in 2022, all Novade employees in Europe and Asia attended "the digital fresk" - a halfday workshop to understand the impact of digital technology on the environment. This workshop really helped shape a common view within the company and a desire to contribute. The technology sector can definitively help optimising the way we build, but it is critical to think about providing support in a sustainable way

 

 

This interview was conducted with Denis Branthonne, Founder & CEO, Novade

June 2023| French Chamber of Commerce in Singapore

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