Data-Driven Future

Empowering Sustainable Progress Through AI

If data is the new oil, then AI tools are the super engine for sustainability – and for credible marketing communication.

Author: Eleonora Bodulusic, Director of Sustainability at LIGANOVA

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” This old business wisdom from Peter Drucker is more relevant than ever in times of sustainable transformation for companies: If Apple, IKEA, the Oktoberfest hosts, Procter & Gamble, Mercedes-Benz, or all the many other companies announcing ambitious climate goals cannot clearly demonstrate what they have achieved in terms of sustainability, they’ll have a problem. And not just with consumers and consumer associations, who now respond to greenwashing with boycotts and lawsuits but also with EU regulations: The new guidelines, for example, on sustainability reporting and supply chain law or (foreseeably) the Green Claims Directive and Eco-design Regulation, require transparent, up-to-date, valid, and traceable information.

The problem: Many companies still have numerous unstructured data. Data silos, missing interfaces, and a low level of digitalization make it difficult to get a holistic view of the facts. Without data, sustainability goals cannot be defined or measured. According to Microsoft, for example, only 16 percent of German companies have detailed data on their CO2 emissions. However, such data is necessary to take effective measures to reduce emissions.

AI tools help with measurement and management

The solution: AI. When it comes to measuring and managing sustainable transformation, the use of AI tools offers a huge efficiency advantage. Intelligent “green” software solutions show where a company stands in terms of sustainability and what adjustments it needs to make to achieve its goals. Moreover, they provide the factual basis for honest communication.

Unlike conventional software solutions, AI tools can not only measure and aggregate data but also derive helpful forecasts and recommendations. This helps executives make informed decisions. Meaningful technology makes sustainability goals measurable, creates granularity and transparency, considers regulations, ensures speed, reduces complexity, and is highly efficient.

There is an enormous range of innovative AI software that help companies achieve their sustainability goals. Cloud-based software solutions, for example, can calculate the carbon footprint of brand and retail projects, whether they are brand spaces, point-of-sale campaigns, events, or trade fair appearances. The results are prepared in a way that makes them easy to integrate into ESG reporting. Relevant project data from suppliers – such as the amount of materials used or the kilometers traveled for transportation during a trade fair construction – can also be collected using appropriate tools. AI-powered software tools are already reducing greenhouse gas emissions, optimizing supply chains, conserving resources, reducing waste, and efficiently using energy. They will have a significant impact on the transformation towards a sustainable economy in the future. The European Commission is convinced: “Well-coordinated use of AI can bring about significant improvements to society. It can help us reach climate and sustainability goals and will bring high-impact innovations in healthcare, education, transport, industry, and many other sectors.”

In addition to the societal benefits, AI tools clearly make the work easier for their users and provide valuable information for the sustainability strategy. If data is the new oil, then AI tools are the super engine for greater sustainability in companies.

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