Dolphins swimming down the canals of Venice. Jackals enjoying a stroll on city streets in Israel.
Lions lounging on normally trafficked roads in Africa. Breathing noticeably cleaner air in India. All these things really happened during pandemic-induced shutdowns.
Photographs of a renewal in nature from all over the world brought even more awareness to the damage that humans can cause while going about their business as usual. The Earth Day 2021 theme says it all: Restore our Earth: As the world returns to normal, we can’t go back to business as usual.
Instead of being part of the problem, as it seems we humans have been, technology can help us be part of the solution. But, while sustainability is more important than ever, business keeps the world spinning.
So, today, companies are using tech in bold, creative ways - to both keep them relevant and to help to make the world a greener place.
Reducing waste and carbon output
In retail, the pandemic accelerated the already booming trend of online shopping, and fast delivery became a differentiator for retailers. But the more customers opted for speedy, free delivery, the more trips are made – making delivery wasteful and carbon-intensive.
Using green business process management to understand, document, execute and continuously improve processes, a retailer can significantly reduce its carbon footprint while reducing paper consumption and paper packaging of products.
The Internet of Things (IoT) helps retailers to understand and control inventory across the supply chain – to deploy it to where it is needed by travelling the shortest distance, using the most sustainable route and transportation method.
In office buildings, stores or distribution centers, IoT monitors and controls energy consumption from freezers, and HVAC equipment (heating ventilation and air conditioning).
Water is fundamental to sustaining life, business, and the planet. But it is a finite resource and we are wasting it. So utilities are taking an intelligent and integrated approach to loss management from leak detection to incident management and maintenance, using data collected from IoT devices.
Banks have committed to backing more projects that advance a low-carbon economy and curb pollution. The move to digital banking reduces the need to drive to banks or open and staff expensive branches. Integration and API are at the heart of digital banking with integration unlocking data silos of information while APIs expose these business capabilities for mobile and web apps to easily access and make that info available to the end customer.
Manufacturers are using IoT and streaming analytics to monitor production parameters such as temperature, vibration or conductivity to save waste in the production process. They can monitor quality along the way, quickly reversing any mistakes – or even predicting them.
Sustainability is the new digital
At Software AG, we are committed to forging a sustainable path to the future. We have introduced a program to reduce CO2 emissions and to have a positive impact on reaching the EU’s climate protection goals. We are also rolling out a program to use electricity from only renewable sources.
Software AG also values conserving natural resources; we recycle outdated IT hardware to recover the raw materials, extending the lifecycle of the technology. We introduced a digital workflow for documents, saving the equivalent of 5,207 kilograms of wood, 127,956 liters of water, 12,223 kilograms of CO2, and 846 kilograms of waste since it was launched (from end of 2018 to January 2021). These efforts are just the beginning of our plans.
After all, sustainability is the new digital – it has become a competitive advantage as well as the responsible thing to do. As consumer pressure grows, companies need to act to prove their environmental street creds. You now have the chance to shape the outlook instead of reacting to it.
Technology is key: IoT and sustainable business process management will support a smarter and greener tomorrow. World Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to get started.
With contributions from Oliver Guy, Josephe Blondaut, Subhash Ramachandran and Laura Crozier.