There’s a kind of circularity to the conundrum of climate change, as its impacts drive us all to use emissions-inducing gadgetry to minimise its effects. The only long-term solution must surely be to remove the origins of the problem. By acting directly on its own climate impacts, Trane Technologies is convinced it can drive a change of heart and mind in the global climate crisis debate.
Trane Technologies, formerly Ingersoll Rand, separated its industrial businesses in 2020 and is now a devoted climate control business with its strategic brands of Trane climate control products and Thermo King temperature-controlled transport systems. The company prides itself not just on its industry leading product suites, but also its global determination to be a key driver of very ambitious climate mitigation solutions.
Allen Weiqi Ge, President of Trane Technologies, Asia Pacific, is convinced that as a climate innovator, Trane Technologies can make a significant contribution to solving climate change by developing sustainable systems in the heating and cooling industries. In 2019, the company announced its 2030 Sustainability Commitments, focusing on decarbonising its operations and pledging to reduce its customer carbon footprints by one gigaton. Then in March this year, it announced that it would cut product carbon emissions in half by 2030 as a way to meet its 2030 Sustainability Commitments, including the Gigaton Challenge, and support the Paris Agreement goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
"Sustainability is foundational to our strategy and is core to who we are."
"Sustainability is foundational to our strategy and is core to who we are," Allen tells The CEO Magazine. "It’s more than just a nice thing to do – it’s what we do every day. It’s how we serve customers and engage our employees. Trane Technologies’ Asia Pacific team will be one of the major contributors to our 2030 global sustainability commitment, the Gigaton Challenge."
Allen pointedly mentions that 15 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions are derived from heating and cooling buildings, while another 10 per cent is caused by global food loss. Trane Technologies wants to transform these processes for the better.
"The future is now, and we need to work together as an industry to guide and collaborate with our partners through this energy transition for a cleaner, healthier and safer world," he says. "In 2019, we issued the Gigaton Challenge to reduce our customers’ carbon emissions by one gigaton, which is the largest customer climate commitment made by any B2B company, and our analysis shows that this reduction could equate to two per cent of the world's annual carbon emissions — or the combined annual emissions of Italy, France and the UK. Through experience, education and deliberate planning, we’ve developed a four-tiered set of initiatives."
These include addressing emissions at the source using innovative ways to heat and cool buildings and transport perishables; initiating system-level attitudes to energy efficiency; minimising food loss in transport; and removing hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) and high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants in cooling systems. Allen is confident that Trane Technologies can, and will be, the industry leader in addressing these challenges through new technology and waste reduction.
"My experience so far is that most of our customers and business partners have been very encouraged by our sustainability initiatives, and they are willing to take our new products to improve the operating efficiency of their buildings, facilities and vehicles while reducing their energy consumption and emissions," he confirms.
Allen joined Ingersoll Rand in 2011 as its President of Climate Solutions, Asia Pacific. He has held roles in sales, marketing, finance, plant operation and management in his career, after gaining an MBA at Saint Mary’s University in Canada and completing the Asian American Executive Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. This broad experience has fashioned his leadership style of meeting challenges head on and seeing change as an agent for improvement.
"In 2019, we issued the Gigaton Challenge to reduce our customers’ carbon emissions by one gigaton, which is the largest customer climate commitment made by any B2B company."
"Challenge what’s possible and make things happen for good," he proclaims. "One of my ex-bosses told me, ‘Put your head down, work hard and good things will happen.’ I think it was good advice – work hard but keep a low profile."
While Allen may prefer to hide his light under a bushel, he’s relentlessly pursuing a program that will ensure Trane Technologies does quite the opposite as he and his team press on for a cleaner, healthier planet.
In 2009, Allen was the recipient of the China Leadership Award of Innovation by CBN. He was also nominated for the 2009 Asia Leadership Award by CNBC Asia.