Industries that are Benefiting from Carbon Neutrality Using AI
About a decade ago, a brand’s sustainability was a very subjective debate. But today, the tables have turned and topics like carbon neutrality, global warming, climate change, and sustainability and eco-friendly products have garnered more attention.
Sustainability is on everyone’s agenda. Every leader and every brand genuinely wants to reduce their carbon footprints. Leaders across all major industries are not just extensively discussing the effects of greenhouse gases and carbon emissions but also making conscious efforts to attain carbon neutrality. Even consumers are doing their bit to ensure a greener, and more positive impact on the ecosystem. To get this going, companies confidently depend on artificial intelligence (AI).
Whether manufacturing and retail or telecom and the fashion industry, global brands are leveraging AI to achieve net-zero goals and a sustainable future. In this post, we are bringing together the industries that are benefitting from carbon neutrality using AI.
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Retail & E-Commerce
Customer behavior has come a long way. And now we are witnessing a terminology called green consumerism. Shoppers are inclined towards buying more green products. As consumers become more concerned about the environment and prefer brands and goods from carbon-neutral companies, it is imperative for businesses to take swift action to remain apt and consistent. It is a proven fact that artificial intelligence can enhance retail operations by boosting revenue and streamlining administrative procedures.
- By 2028, it is expected that the value of AI services in the retail industry will rise from $5 billion to more than $31 billion.
- In 2021, the market for artificial intelligence in retail was estimated to be worth USD 4.84 billion, and by 2029, it is expected to have grown to USD 51.94 billion, with a CAGR of 5.2%.
AI has tremendous scope in making retail operations more sustainable. A major highlight of AI’s contribution to making retail operations carbon neutral is its forecasting technologies. Other than bringing down costs, AI empowers companies to become carbon neutral by tracking emissions and encouraging recycling.
AI also helps in reducing the environmental strain caused by traveling to physical stores and brings down the number of waste materials sent to landfills. Retailers should deliver returns to areas where there is a good chance they will be resold in order to drastically reduce the amount of time products spend in landfills after failing to find a buyer.
Manufacturers and retailers can do away with stocking up unnecessary inventory, unwanted purchases, and markdowns that are likely to happen in the future. By analyzing consumer fulfillment preferences and purchasing patterns, AI-enhanced inventory management solutions can raise store inventory levels.
Retailers can make the most of the predictions and recommendations made by machine learning-powered systems to efficiently lower their carbon footprints by allotting fewer vehicles on the road as well as fewer containers in the sea. With the help of AI, businesses can track the transportation of goods between distribution hubs and client deliveries.
Logistics can be streamlined better by lowering the number of superfluous trips and increasing truck capacity with a more accurate understanding of which product needs to be delivered when and where. AI’s insights can be used to streamline travel between distribution hubs and determine the most effective, environmentally friendly delivery routes to customers. Fewer half-empty trucks on the roads have a beneficial ecological impact, which is just one of many ways AI may improve your supply chain and promote retail sustainability.
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Another area where AI is enabling brands to meet their sustainability goals is through remote services for building management and operations. The business has the time and the luxury to focus on establishing a strong relationship with their clients all because specialists are taking care of their operations as well as facilities 24*7. With remote operations, service professionals are easily available as well as accessible anytime, anywhere, even if it is the most remote location. They also assist in dealing with anomalies or unexpected trends and resolving the majority of the issues without having to send out technicians.
AI can play a vital part in-store operations. Retailers can assess how AI may help increase efficiency based on business goals, such as reducing store energy waste and emissions brought on by inappropriate equipment operation and maintenance. Then, retailers may proceed with putting the right AI-based strategies into place that are designed to reduce their carbon footprint.
In addition to helping previously installed equipment function more efficiently, AI may help ensure that new energy-efficient equipment is used as intended, enabling the savings that helped create the value proposition for the equipment.
By exploiting the reporting capabilities of AI systems, retailers may prove their adherence to and support for new policies and guidelines, such as the SEC’s recent emphasis on improved corporate reporting connected to ESG.
Enhancing Order Fulfillment
With the help of predictive analysis, retailers and local businesses can get inventories to the right locations in advance to fulfill all orders.
Supply Chain Management
One of the biggest challenges faced by retailers is establishing an eco-friendly process of the supply chain, especially when there’s literally an ocean of SKUs and millions of stores to skim through. Artificial intelligence extracts data to derive predictive insights that can assist merchants in streamlining their supply chains and moving closer to achieving their sustainability goals.
The fashion industry is expanding rapidly and so has its impact on the environment and the planet. Brands are very conscious of their choices and actions. In fact, biggies like Gucci, H&M, and Patagonia are striving to become carbon neutral. They are taking proactive measures to reduce carbon emissions and completely adopt eco-friendly fashion. It makes sense because statistics reveal that 88% of customers want brands to support their efforts to live more sustainably.
In another poll conducted by Futerra, 96% of respondents comprising more than 100 UK and US customers opined that their individual activities, such as giving, recycling, or shopping ethically, can make a difference.
Here are a few facts about the fashion industry:
- Fashion production constitutes at least 10% of the world’s total carbon emissions. This is way more than international flights.
- The fashion industry is a major contributor to 20% of water pollution worldwide.
- Did you know that three-quarters of the shirts and shoes produced end up either buried in landfills or burned? Only 12% of these are used either as cleaning cloths or to stuff mattresses.
If you think this is deplorable, let’s get to the sad truth yet. If things do not change, then by 2050, the fashion industry will be responsible for producing 26% of the world’s carbon footprint.
According to a McKinsey study, the fashion industry produced about 2.1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which accounts for about 4 percent of the global total.
Typically, firms invest an insane amount of time, money, and effort in forecasting trends. Most often than not, they end up manufacturing the trends that do not sell much resulting in pollution and waste during the manufacturing process itself.
This practice enables businesses to invest in fabrics and apparel that are likely to be consumed better. The goal of AI trend forecasting is to understand consumer patterns and comprehend the target market of a business and how they might react to fashion trends. This further empowers the fashion brand to stay ahead of the trend game and avoid producing clothes that won’t sell, hence reducing the waste generated, less water is used during production, and fewer carbon emissions are produced.
AI assists in predicting the type and quantity of fabric, assisting businesses in reducing unnecessary discarded fabric.
AI can also assist in keeping track of inventory of previously manufactured clothing, assisting businesses in determining the appropriate production quantity.
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AI’s 3D modeling of yarn patterns is the superpower every manufacturing brand needs right now. Here’s why. This innovative technology helps to create the yarn without actually having to use any new materials, so this can save time while exploring and identifying sustainable alternatives to harmful synthetic materials like nylon and polyester. This method also helps to ascertain the fall and the flow of the envisioned design or style.
- The fact is synthetic materials like polyester made from fossil fuels are more versatile, affordable, and accessible than natural materials and hence the most common.
- Unfortunately, polyester is made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the most common kind of plastic in the world, so, it is not a sustainable textile alternative.
- Did you know that the production of polyester accounts for 40% of the industry’s emissions?
AI can assist in combining the necessary material compositions and locating the related products that were sourced earlier. With reinforcement learning, brands can reach better vendor negotiation. Besides, AI can also look for a similar pattern that was created in the past, which means better resources, quick ordering, and raw material utilization.
Consumers today demand from their favorite brands more than just high-quality goods; many of them want to see them stand with them in support of a shared future. The quality of life and the earth are intertwined and both will benefit from placing a high priority on reducing retail’s carbon footprint through the use of technology. And the businesses that pick up on the early signs and adopt them are probably going to prosper.
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