Letting data lead the charge against climate change

Businesses can streamline operations to reduce emissions, not only benefitting the environment but often leading to substantial cost savings, writes Subramanian Ananthapadmanabhan.

By  Storyboard18Apr 5, 2024 7:59 AM
Letting data lead the charge against climate change
Sustainable practices implemented through data analysis have mitigated 120 tons of carbon emissions and saved 1,980 KL of fresh water, while also generating economic savings of $12,500. Waycool’s success story underscores how data analytics can be a powerful tool for both environmental and economic progress. (Image source: Unsplash)

By Subramanian Ananthapadmanabhan

The year is 2023, and you're staring at a news report titled "Monsoon Mayhem: Chennai Floods Cripple Auto Industry." Images of submerged factories and stalled production lines flash across the screen, a stark reminder of the growing vulnerability of businesses to the whims of a changing climate. Then, come winter, the headlines shift: "Unseasonal Warmth Delays Snowfall, Raising Concerns for Farmers." The once predictable rhythm of the seasons is becoming a distant memory, replaced by an unsettling sense of unpredictability.

These are just a few snapshots of a larger narrative: the undeniable impact of climate change on our planet. From erratic weather patterns to rising sea levels, the consequences are far-reaching, impacting individuals, communities, and businesses alike. In this new reality, building resilience is no longer a choice; it's an imperative.

Traditional climate models, heavily reliant on historical data, are proving insufficient considering rapidly evolving weather patterns. However, a powerful solution emerges in the form of data analytics. By harnessing the vast troves of real-time environmental information, businesses can gain deeper insights and make informed decisions to mitigate climate risks.

Enter Carbon Accounting: green ledger of the future:

To navigate the challenges posed by new climate change models, companies are increasingly turning to data analytics and, in particular, carbon accounting. This entails the careful tracking and measurement of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases generated by human activities. Armed with this knowledge, decision-makers can pinpoint areas for improvement and deploy targeted initiatives to curb emissions.

Businesses can streamline operations to reduce emissions, not only benefitting the environment but often leading to substantial cost savings. Governments can craft policies that incentivize and propel sustainable practices, while communities can adopt measures to fortify their resilience in the face of climate challenges, ranging from extreme weather events to other environmental disruptions.

When preparedness becomes your best defense:

In addressing climate change, utilizing data analytics is akin to shifting from reacting to preparing in advance. Rather than relying on guesses, the focus is on directly measuring real-world sustainability data. In India, where there's a lag compared to global standards in areas like water pollution and air pollution, it serves as a wakeup call. Consequently, predictive modeling is being employed. This aids communities in readiness – implementing early warnings for floods and plans for rising sea levels. It's not just about reacting; it's about being prepared before events unfold.

WayCool Foods, India's leading food and agri-tech company, exemplifies the practical application of data analytics to achieve sustainability goals.

By leveraging data analytics, WayCool has reduced food loss in its supply chain to less than two percent, significantly lower than the industry average of 14.7 percent, per Food & Agriculture organization. It has also electrified 22 percent of its last-mile delivery fleet, eliminating 289 tons of logistic carbon emissions.

Additionally, sustainable practices implemented through data analysis have mitigated 120 tons of carbon emissions and saved 1,980 KL of fresh water, while also generating economic savings of $12,500. Waycool’s success story underscores how data analytics can be a powerful tool for both environmental and economic progress.

Collectively, these steps and nature-centric plans guide us toward a more promising future. It's not merely about reacting when things go awry, it's about preparedness and securing the longevity of our world for generations to come.

Uniting sectors for a common cause

The impact of data analytics on climate resilience is magnified when various sectors collaborate. When governments, businesses, NGOs, and local communities join forces, share data and insights, and formulate comprehensive solutions we see more powerful results. Indian businesses are actively integrating sustainability demands into their ecosystem.

Organizations striving for sustainability recognize the crucial role played by technology vendors in their success. They emphasize sustainable practices in sourcing, contracting, and managing performance to reduce the environmental footprint of technology. A recent Gartner report noted that sourcing, procurement, and vendor management (SPVM) leaders and stakeholders now prefer technology vendors who align with sustainability objectives. Vendors falling short in this aspect will see a reduction in their services, paving the way for exploring new alternatives.

The way forward

The advantages of incorporating sustainability data into the core business are clear, making significant contributions to environmental stewardship and achieving operational efficiencies. Moving ahead requires an ongoing commitment to collaboration, innovation, and the seamless integration of sustainability practices into the fundamental strategies of businesses, governments, and communities alike.

Subramanian Ananthapadmanabhan is the chief revenue officer, APJ, SAP BTP.

First Published on Apr 5, 2024 7:59 AM

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