Business as usual is an archaic term, made redundant by net zero and other sustainability initiatives. Here's a deep-dive into the future of businesses.
Environmental risks are amongst the biggest challenges that business leaders are focused on today. In the most recent World Economic Form global risk report, the three “most likely” risks identified for businesses over the next 10 years were all environmental – extreme weather, climate action failure and human-led environmental damage. On one hand, climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of weather extremes, which is disrupting business operations – from supply chains issues to damaged assets and inventory.
At the same time, companies are also facing increasing pressure to meet sustainability goals and reduce their own environmental footprint – from consumers, investors and regulators. From a regulatory perspective, companies are preparing for increasing environmental compliance and reporting mandates around the world. Additionally, 80% of consumers indicate sustainability is important to them and 60% are willing to change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact (IBV study)
Organizations need to leverage weather and climate data to get ahead of these challenges – not only to address the immediate operational challenges of climate & weather disruptions and compliance and reporting challenges – but also for longer-term planning for the impact of climate change on their strategies and investments.
The Challenge: Simplifying Environmental Intelligence
The good news is that weather and climate forecasting are more sophisticated today than ever before – the problem is that processes for bringing climate science together with business operations are complex and cumbersome.
Understanding climate risks involves analysis on massive geo-temporal datasets – requiring intensive manual labor, deep climate and data science skills, and computing power.
Additionally, current methods of collecting and reporting on carbon emissions data are often done manually and ad-hoc, which puts strain on operational resources and doesn’t deliver timely/consistent results.
What companies really need to address these challenges isn’t just data, but “environmental intelligence” they can easily use and integrate into their daily business operations. IBM is one of the organizations that is further defining a new market to meet this need, with our new IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite. The IBM Environmental Suite is a set of software that brings together our expertise in AI, weather, climate and operational data in a single solution — to make it easier for companies to manage climate risks affecting business operations, as well as environmental and sustainability goals.
What’s most interesting about products like EIS is the various ways it can be used to solve challenges across a broad set of industries. For example, insights from EIS could help:
Retailers prepare for severe weather-related shipping and inventory disruptions, or factor flood risk into future warehouse locations
Energy and Utility companies determine where to trim vegetation around power lines, or determine which of their critical assets may soon be at greater risk from wildfires
Supermarkets gain a clearer picture of how refrigeration systems are contributing to their overall greenhouse gas emissions and prioritize locations for improvement.
IBM is also committed to reducing its own environmental footprint as a company. Last year IBM released details on its roadmap towards sustainability and its net zero by 2030 goal, including diverting 90% of waste from landfills, pledging 75% of electricity consumed will be from renewable sources, requiring suppliers to set emissions reduction goals, and more.
Quote – As organizations across the globe face risks related to climate change, they need an urgent, science-based approach to adapt to changing weather patterns, become more resilient, and mitigate the impact of their own environmental footprint. IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite (EIS) brings the power of AI and automation to provide organizations with actionable insights via dashboards, maps, APIs and help them address both immediate operational
Shalini Kapoor – IBM Fellow