However, the imperative for stability will only accelerate. For example, the rise of purpose-driven customers is now evident. Nearly 93% of global respondents to an IBM Institute for Business Value survey revealed that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed their perspective on environmental sustainability – compared to 2019, 22% more customers now believe environmental responsibility is of utmost importance when choosing a brand Is. In addition, environmental challenges present an increasingly serious risk to supply chains and other operations as outlined in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2020. Therefore, companies must focus on both factual analysis and consumer voices to develop environmental sustainability.
To become truly sustainable, companies must adopt measurable goals. These include key areas – to conserve and promote biodiversity, companies can set targets to reduce water withdrawals on a year-to-year basis at office locations. They can obtain paper and wood-based packaging from sustainably managed forests, while those planning construction projects can opt for third-party sustainability certificates.
For pollution prevention and waste management, companies must remove non-hazardous waste from landfills and incineration by reuse, recycling, composting and waste-to-energy processes. They can also eliminate non-essential plastic packaging, using fully recyclable or compostable plastics where necessary.
The technology can be helpful in key mitigation areas. Reducing green energy consumption and energy-related emissions is critical to mitigating climate change. Companies should now start getting part of their electricity needs from renewable sources. They may set targets for the next five and ten years to gradually increase renewable energy into the overall consumption mix. Companies owning data centers should also consider improving their average cooling efficiency – the metric for maintaining an ideal temperature that ensures companies can fully utilize the power of their processors – over a short-term horizon. . Upgrading their servers can help companies reduce power consumption per unit of work delivered.
In addition, businesses can set carbon intensity reduction goals with their carriers and shipment suppliers. Carbon intensity – the amount of carbon emitted per unit of energy consumed – is critical to decarbonization in the global freight and logistics sector and many corporates are asking their logistics partners to reduce carbon intensity by using renewable energy in place of oil-based fuels. are asking for. Etcetera.
In the supply and value chain, companies should encourage suppliers to set goals for energy and waste management and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. They should guide suppliers, especially in emissions-intensive sectors such as transportation and manufacturing, to set reduction targets, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Companies can use emerging technologies to reduce their environmental impacts while providing better business results – they can leverage artificial intelligence (AI)aye) and Hybrid Multi Cloud to integrate data across its ecosystem and gain faster insights to build more accurate environmental models. These can help optimize business processes and resource consumption while reducing wastage and pollution.
For example, an AI-infused intelligent fulfillment platform can perform reverse logistics to enhance the process of return sorting, product re-merchandising and repair lifecycle tracking, thereby reducing the environmental impact of returned goods. The global fashion industry returns 40% of all online purchases – this is expensive and creates significant additional transport emissions. Therefore, retailers such as US-based Moosejaw are now helping their customers use AI to tailor their exact needs, thereby significantly reducing return rates.
Advanced analytics also empowers companies to reorganize their operations to reduce environmental impacts. In partnership with IBM, a Norwegian chemical company, Yara, has unveiled a global digital farming platform that leverages AI, machine learning, weather and field data to enhance insights for farmers, so that they can track crop yields. to improve continuously. Analytics can also encourage stakeholders to innovate by factoring environmental charges into their costs through methods such as charging carbon. As these results show, it is possible to combine a sustainable and profitable path with AI-powered solutions and quantum computing. Environmental sustainability is now a business imperative, encouraged by both purpose-driven customers and investors.
The pandemic has further emphasized the importance of protecting our environment – businesses cannot be successful along with ecological degradation. AI can help develop more sustainable methods.
(The authors are from IBM. Views expressed are personal.)