COP28 Highlights Sustainability as a Vital Cornerstone for Businesses
Sustainability has become an essential talking point for modern businesses, with COP28 highlighting just how important climate change and conservation is.
While this shift in priorities is a welcome one, businesses still face some important challenges on the path to their sustainability goals, as well as several influential factors that dictate the speed at which these changes can be made.
With an increase in environmental awareness and pressure from consumers to adopt more sustainable and ethical products, organisations are struggling to determine the best practices when it comes to setting and achieving sustainability goals.
Furthermore, regulatory and investor pressures can lead to accelerated adoption before the correct standards are in place, leading to inefficiencies and mismanaged targets.
The increased attention for sustainability has not been unwarranted – organisations have realised that climate change is a global issue, and one that needs to be integrated into a business’ core values in order to gain any traction.
Companies such as AVEVA, a global leader in industrial software and a participant at COP28, have taken active measures to reduce emissions and environmental impact. “At AVEVA, beyond being an important conversation, sustainability drives our mission,” says Evgeny Fedotov, Senior Vice President, EMEA, AVEVA.
“We want to lead by example in the fight against climate change. We have already cut our scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 93% and we are actively working to reduce the environmental impacts of our value chain. We have made significant progress in delivering solutions that are low carbon by design and have in-built capabilities to enable industries to decarbonize, drive circularity and adapt to the impacts of global warming.”
Sustainability also brings some important benefits to organizations, namely through innovation with product development and a focus on energy conservation. “The desire to grow amid the rapidly changing industrial demands are driving businesses worldwide to pursue sustainability,” explains Hoda Mansour, Chief Operating Officer, APJ, ME&A, IFS.
“Being sustainable encourages businesses to align their financial activities with responsible practices while prioritizing investments in social and environmental-friendly initiatives, thus embracing a value-driven approach. Sustainability also offers an interesting way to advance product innovations that use fewer resources, increase efficiency and cost savings via energy-efficient technologies.”
The pledge for a more sustainable future doesn’t come without its challenges, which can be overcome in only certain ways. Technology for instance, plays a very important role in sustainability, as it helps to flag inefficiencies in the supply chain and suggest less resource-intensive methods. “In essence, sustainability revolves around achieving more with less and ensuring that we can forge a brighter future that respects our planet's limitations. Harnessing technological solutions is imperative to drive progress towards this better future,” says Fedotov.
Overhauling current supply chains is also no easy feat, as it requires careful prior analysis and benchmarking before changes can be made to a rather delicate ecosystem. “The current supply chain is complex and globalized, and businesses may find it challenging to ensure sustainability across the entire supply chain,” comments Mansour. “Being sustainable also demands a comprehensive overhaul of how businesses operate coupled with technology shifts and cost implications. Navigating through these challenges require strategic planning to drive organizations towards putting sustainability at the heart of operations and business models.”
So, is the path to sustainability one that is solely at the hands of organizations? It may seem that way, but there is strength in numbers, so it is imperative that companies partner with the right experts in order to meet their sustainability goals, as well as share the correct information to make smart changes.
“Collaboration, standardization, and information sharing are essential components of successful sustainability practices,” adds Mansour.
“There are several ways for companies to partner and share best practices including engaging with industry networks, promoting transparency and information sharing, utilizing platforms like COP28 for effective collaboration and showcasing commitments to achieve sustainability goals.”
A promising realm that will be worth exploring is smart cities. Powered by IoT, AI, and a host of other digital benefits, smart cities are poised to pave the way for an increased adoption of sustainability.
Through data-driven decision-making, smart cities can rely on real-time data to manage a myriad of aspects of urban life, allowing city officials to make calculated decisions based on actual conditions affecting their cities.
“Urban leaders are turning to data-driven smart city models to promote a more liveable environment for residents,” says Fedotov.
“Advanced industrial software can now collate, visualize and analyze data from a wide range of civic services onto a single unified digital backbone. With a holistic view, teams can spot trends and predict operational challenges, while improving situational awareness and crisis responses. As a result, they create an ecosystem that minimizes energy consumption, improves efficiency, and controls maintenance expenses.”