Failure to Act Will Have Grave Consequences


Zayed Abu Alhaj, the Regional Vice President of MENA at Cloudera, says digital solutions help organisations track emissions across their entire value chain

How does technology contribute to sustainability?
One of the keys to becoming more sustainable is digital transformation: With the right solutions – especially ones based on the Internet of Things, Machine Learning, and Artificial intelligence – companies can operate much more efficiently and reduce their carbon footprint.

What sort of sustainability efforts for your company practice?
Cloudera uses lighting controls in work areas and conference rooms. We have LED lighting for all new construction, recycling, and waste management programs. With these implementations, we have reduced our carbon emissions by 26%.

Do we need to look at sustainability beyond the use of “green energy”?
Absolutely! Think about reducing water consumption, for example, by using rainwater and processing water or waste management through reduction and recycling initiatives. Sustainable buildings have better energy efficiency. The Internet of Things, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence can optimise energy consumption and help meet sustainability goals.

Scania, a world-leading provider of transport solutions, is using the information from the 300,000-strong connected fleet. The ability to tap into data, trends, and insights promises to be the foundation for their sustainability mission long into the future.

How can companies reduce their carbon footprint?
Digital solutions help organisations track emissions across their entire value chain and examine carbon offsetting and circularity. Solutions for supply chain management are helping companies monitor and improve their supply chains’ sustainability.

Saudi Arabia, in particular, has shown an outstanding commitment to developing and using AI technology, and organisations have aggressively invested in new technology, with government backing. The 120,000 smart meters will be installed in the Kingdom’s Northern and West Northern areas. The $30 million project will minimise operating expenses and water waste while increasing the accuracy of water consumption data, laying the groundwork for future AI-based advancements.

Some local initiatives in the UAE in attempts to reduce carbon emissions include the implementation of 14 projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Development Mechanism. The region has been actively hosting seminars and educating the population about the importance of sustainability, and encouraging the public to plant 100 million mangrove seedlings by 2030. Moreover, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment pushed out a Climate-Responsible Companies Pledge encouraging the private sector to engage in the country’s decarbonisation drive for its Net Zero vision.

What challenges do companies face today in their journey toward Net Zero, and how can technology help resolve those issues?
According to a Cloudera study published earlier this year, the vast majority of knowledge workers (81%) argue that AI is needed to deliver more sustainable business practices that benefit their organisation and the communities it serves. But less than a third (31%) of business decision-makers are active in implementing these technologies and need a greater understanding of how they work.

If businesses genuinely want to embed sustainability at their core, leaders must start to use data to deliver more sustainable outcomes – and quickly. Failure to act will have grave consequences. Almost half of business decision makers (47%) and 40% of knowledge workers revealed that they believe their company will see its growth decline if they don’t start to use data to make more sustainable business decisions in the next 36 months. Furthermore, 23% of knowledge workers and 27% of business decision-makers believe employees would leave the business for this reason.

What factors can help companies advance toward their sustainability goals?
Technology opens up new opportunities and new ways for businesses to operate. With the world at an environmental tipping point, the time to take advantage is now.

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