The World Economic Forum (WEF) has advised all member companies to commit to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 or earlier. Globally, climate change has already appeared in various forms and the effects are becoming visible. Extreme weather conditions and its severity have been seen recently. The world continues to heat up, greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at 1.5% rate annually, whereas they must fall by 3–6% per year between now and 2030 to limit global warming to 1.5–2°C.
Climate change has become an issue of higher importance that has gripped narratives in all aspects. Countries and companies scramble to restrict their emissions, new methods of decreasing the carbon footprint are paramount in ensuring targets are met. Major multinationals are scrambling to tweak their approach to ensure that they are less harmful to the environment. However, these incremental changes will not reverse the significant damage already done. Instead of the traditional “reduce, reuse, recycle,” more ambitious targets are required and are being pushed for.
For instance, the World Economic Forum, (an international organization based in Geneva that meets annually to discuss issues of political, economic, social, or environmental concern) has asked all member companies to commit to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 or earlier.
Sustainability and digitalization are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, they are complementarily synergetic and positively influence value creation. Digitization and digitalization are often confused and used indistinguishably though they are fundamentally different concepts. Digitization is simply the transformation of data into a digital format that can be processed by a computer. Digitalization however, is the process of changing a business model, creating new revenue and value producing opportunities.
It’s a fundamentally different process of delivering value, which is paramount in the quest for going green. In a crisis such as the lockdowns of today, a differentiated, digitalized workspace could go a long way in keeping employees safe and ensuring business productivity. The flexibility allowed for by such a model is vital to adapt to any situation.
Going green can be any action that works towards the ultimate goal of making more environmentally friendly decisions. Digitalization, though it has the adverse impact of increasing our carbon footprint, can work in multiple ways to foster sustainability in business. For example, Industry 4.0, or the “smart factory,” uses automation and data exchange and enables higher productivity while reducing waste and conserving resources. These “factories of the future” could very well become “factories for the future” by fundamentally changing the way we produce products. Imagine factories enabled by automation and data exchange that use the minimum amount of resources and labour while maximizing output and also reducing harmful by-products.
Significant progress has already been made in the critical area of sustainability and those who haven’t started will lag behind soon.There are numerous ways in which digitalization is being carried out to promote a more sustainable way of life. The listed innovations and systems used are:
- Energy-system transformation using intelligent energy networks.
- Reducing vehicular traffic in cities by means of shared mobility.
- Using digital technologies to promote a circular economy etc.