From a certain perspective, the global market appears grim. Take, for example, the following:
- Experts predict that while supply chain pressures will ease by 2023, the recovery won’t reach pre-pandemic levels any time soon.
- Climate scientists believe that Earth’s climate could develop into a chaotic system that experiences rapid fluctuations of severe weather.
- By 2050, 87 percent of Americans will live in cities, which will put significant strain on infrastructure and resource consumption.
Our perspective of risk has been radically altered by events like the COVID-19 pandemic and the rapidly escalating threats caused by the climate crisis. At one time, we though of risk as something we could anticipate and manage. Today, however, we know that not only can cataclysmic disruption occur overnight, but threats from climate change can extend decades into the future and have unpredictable outcomes.
Technology innovation provides an opportunity to meet these challenges in a way that mitigates threats and finds opportunities for achieving organizational goals that provide business value and benefit for the global community. By embracing technology innovation that encourages process efficiency and reduced waste, organizations can reduce carbon emissions and energy expenditure, which means improved ESG ratings, better brand image and reduced cost of poor quality.
Much of the ground-breaking innovation in ESG technology is taking place in the energy sector. Despite the fact that energy organizations are frequently excluded from ESG funds, oil and gas companies produce more high-quality green patents than any other industry.
Artificial intelligence (AI) solutions are at the forefront of technology innovations that are helping organizations find opportunities in ESG. AI has the potential not only to respond to environmental events by processing data in real time during a crisis, but to predict the impact of human behavior on ecosystems to assist with conservation, biodiversity, air quality and disaster resilience. For example, AI can be a critical component in achieving the following:
- Optimizing energy use in real time.
- Monitoring oceans for pollution and temperature levels.
- Predicting droughts and severe weather events.
- Recording air quality in real time.
However, while technology can provide many solutions to sustainability challenges, it is important to note that it can also contribute to them. Hyperscale data centers that support today’s ubiquitous cloud applications consume enormous amounts of energy to run equipment and to control the temperature of the facility. Many data centers are now working to mitigate that consumption by embracing technology that supports more efficient processes and energy optimization, while also designing equipment to facilitate reuse and recycling of key components.
Our Insight Report Better, Smarter, Cleaner: How ESG Inspires Technology Innovation looks at why embracing technology innovation is a critical step on the journey to mitigating ESG risk and thriving in an increasingly disrupted world. Download it today to learn more.