Tuesday, October 3, 2023

How AI Can Help Your Business Achieve Its Sustainability Goals  

Last updated on July 28th, 2023 at 10:35 am

How can your business use AI to achieve its sustainability goals? It is an innovative modern technology with applications in any industry, so they have many opportunities. In this article, we’ll dive into AI and sustainability.

Why Should Companies Utilize AI?

Organizations generally strive to achieve sustainability goals because it can result in better performance, higher profits and happier customers. However, most manual efforts are time-consuming or very in-depth. The automation capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) are beneficial in this case.

Here are the most significant  benefits of utilizing AI and sustainability:

  • Economic development: Businesses could be responsible for a 4.4% increase in global GDP if they use AI to improve their environmental impacts, resulting in over $1 trillion of economic benefits for multiple countries.
  • Savings increase: Operating with greater energy efficiency reduces electricity and water usage, lowering utility bills. Additionally, AI can function without human input, potentially decreasing labor costs.
  • Environmental improvement: An algorithm can recognize patterns a person cannot, making it much easier to identify areas of improvement regarding sustainability efforts. An enterprise could effectively maximize its environmental impact.

Addressing environmental issues like climate change with circular reuse and eco-friendly business practices can conserve essential resources and improve the economy. This kind of extensive positive change is only possible with widespread effort.

How Can AI Help Businesses Be Sustainable?

A business can manufacture products, power its workplace, maintain equipment and deliver goods with AI to become more sustainable. It can also help them recognize which areas have the most potential for improvement.

Workplace Utilities 

Every workplace relies on resources to operate, so every industry would benefit from minimizing consumption. An algorithm could monitor electricity, water, heating or cooling patterns to optimize usage.

For example, integrating AI into the workplace thermostat could improve energy efficiency by automatically adjusting the temperature. According to one study, homeowners used 4% less electricity and saved 12% on their bills over two years with this method.

The impact would increase significantly in a commercial setting, considering the larger scale. Additionally, the algorithm could learn how to optimize functions for maximum performance over time, potentially saving more. AI and sustainability integration leads to cost savings and profits.

Product Manufacturing

According to research, organizations could use AI to improve the energy efficiency of their manufacturing processes drastically and increase research and development speed. It could monitor for defects during quality control or optimize machinery’s power output, resulting in a more effective operation and a higher return on investment.

Product Waste

Most industries deal with large quantities of rotting, old or broken products. As of 2019, one-fifth of corporate investments in manufacturing go to waste, accounting for nearly $8 trillion in losses. Instead of landfilling items, they could utilize AI demand forecasting or quality detection.

For instance, one company uses AI to detect reusable items during waste collection. It mounted cameras inside trucks to monitor for any potential quality products, with the purpose of creating a circular economy. As a result, it increased savings and improved its environmental impact.

Equipment Maintenence

AI can utilize predictive analytics to project when machinery must receive upkeep or upgrades. For example, telecom enterprises use it to determine when their equipment needs routine maintenance, significantly improving their energy efficiency and reducing downtime.

Supply Chain Management

Comprehensive monitoring of the supply chain is unlikely because it is an incredibly complex task. There are many moving parts, making it challenging to detect when third-party vendors do not adhere to their agreed-upon environmental standards.

AI can monitor and detect noncompliance to ensure they maintain sustainable business practices. For example, it can use historical and current data to audit their behavior and validate their claims. Since it can quickly process massive amounts of information, it can effectively cover the entirety of the supply chain by itself. Considering AI and sustainability together when optimizing your supply chain can have positive effects not just for the environment, but for your bottom line.

Product Delivery

Last-mile delivery has a large adverse environmental impact due to the greenhouse gas emissions transportation creates. It accounts for over 50% of shipping expenses on average — the most significant cost factor for most industries. Still, businesses worldwide must utilize it anyway to meet consumer demand.

To mitigate this issue, they can use AI during the shipping process. For example, AI-powered drones create fewer greenhouse gas emissions and reduce energy usage. They are much more efficient than trucks — even electronic vehicles — and consume virtually no fuel in comparison.

Even if companies prefer their current technology, an algorithm could consider historical and current traffic data to identify the most straightforward route. It could also adjust to real-time accidents or road closures, increasing its effectiveness.

Improve Sustainability Efforts With AI

AI can do the job of dozens in a minuscule amount of time, meaning it is an incredibly effective tool to help businesses achieve their sustainability goals. They can utilize it at any stage, from product manufacturing to delivery.

Guest Author: Jane Marsh works as an environmental writer, covering topics such as sustainability and green living. She is also the founder of Environment.co

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