How can digital products fight the climate crisis? The scale and urgency of the transformation required to fight climate change has never been more clear. In this episode of Product Talk hosted by Silicon Valley Bank (a Division of First Citizens Bank) Climate Tech SVP Maggie Wong, Climate Product Leaders Co-Founder François Burra speaks on fighting climate change through digital product development and decarbonization education. François shares his experience teaching courses on reducing the digital industry’s emissions and emphasizes product managers’ important role in sustainability. The conversation covers opportunities for more sustainable product development, the benefits of climate-conscious practices, and becoming better equipped to tackle the climate crisis through education and action.

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Show Notes

  1. Digital industry accounts for 3.8% of global emissions currently, projected to rise to 14% by 2040.
  2. Product managers have a crucial role to play in transitioning companies to more sustainable practices.
  3. François teaches digital product decarbonization courses to raise awareness of the industry’s climate impact.
  4. The Climate Product Leaders Playbook provides 33 best practices to help PMs incorporate climate considerations into their work.
  5. The Climate Product Leaders aims to make climate part of discussions in startups and digital companies.
  6. Measuring digital footprint is important to understand emissions sources and reduce impact.
  7. Usage accounts for 1/3 of digital emissions while physical asset lifecycles account for 2/3.
  8. Diversity and inclusivity are important considerations for sustainable product development.
  9. Accessibility helps reduce need for new devices and prevent manufacturing emissions.
  10. Sustainable practices like optimizing files can improve user experience and SEO.
  11. Climate change presents lack of awareness and opportunities for competitive differentiation.
  12. Benefits of sustainable practices include improved products, talent retention, and risk mitigation.
  13. Every job is a climate job and PMs must champion sustainability transitions.
  14. Networking and gradual changes are recommended over reinventing roles overnight.
  15. Leverage non-climate experience for climate industry through transferable PM skills.
  16. Start with education on climate solutions before pursuing new opportunities.
  17. Understand global context and look beyond one’s industry or company.
  18. Case studies can illustrate playbook best practices and increase adoption.
  19. Translating resources increases accessibility and cultural relevance.
  20. Small, incremental changes are most effective for incorporating sustainability.

About the speaker
François Burra Climate Product Leaders, Co-Founder Member

- I'm a Product Lead and UX consultant, mentor, and speaker with 13 years of experience working with startups and agencies in Canada and the US. After taking almost a full year off and following climate courses, I pivoted my career to fight the climate crisis. Now, I help digital companies and product teams take advantage of the net zero opportunity and reduce their digital emissions. - I wrote a Climate Product Management Playbook called "How to Become a Climate-Conscious Product Manager”: - I'm an instructor for Product for Net Zero:, a training startup that helps digital businesses and product teams prepare for the carbon neutral (net zero) opportunity and reduce their emissions. - I’m a consultant for fruggr:, a leading SaaS solution for measuring the environmental and social footprint of digital services and products. - I'm a consultant for Hey Low:, a leading low-carbon design studio. - I help digital teams and companies create and implement their climate playbook and actions on a large scale.

About the host
Maggie Wong Silicon Valley Bank, a Division of First Citizens Bank, Climate Tech & Sustainability SVP

Maggie Wong is an accomplished product management and capital markets leader with over 15 years of experience in driving product strategy, delivering global products, fundraising & capital allocation, and leading cross-functional teams. Outside of her role at Silicon Valley Bank to support New York / East Coast based climate tech companies and investors, she is also experienced in increasing program impact, growing community reach and implementing DEI initiatives at travel and fintech non-profits. Maggie is passionate about making a social impact for the next generation, tackling climate change and traveling. She is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese and a beginner in Spanish.

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