Sustainability and Intelligence: an essential mix for the business future

  • 15/05/2024

Sustainability is not just a goal to achieve, but an essential path to ensuring the continuity of both society and businesses. By leveraging intelligence and technology, we can move towards our goals more effectively.

Sustainability, traditionally associated with the environmental aspect, can be extended into the business context towards an "informational" perspective, where Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) play a crucial role. In this context, the notion of "smart sustainability" emerges, which is much more than a business strategy; it's a way of thinking and acting that integrates technological intelligence to address environmental and social challenges.

Carlos Cosials

Industry 4.0 Manager, 9altitudes

In the business world, this connection between intelligence and sustainability is redefining how companies operate and relate to their environment. It involves harnessing innovative solutions such as AI, AR, and industrial IoT to optimize processes while minimizing environmental impacts, promoting sustainable growth.

Business intelligence, which involves the process of extracting relevant information to support decisions, becomes an essential component of smart sustainability. Organizations are leveraging digital technologies to understand and optimize their performance, using data, which serves as evidence, to guide informed decisions in an increasingly complex business environment.

Demonstrating sustainability goes beyond certifications; it entails a profound transformation in how companies operate, a change in philosophy and vision, balancing economic benefits with environmental and social impact.

Every company must incorporate sustainability in three key areas to make informed and conscious decisions supported by accurate data and a circular economic approach:

Product Definition:
This involves establishing the product's characteristics, from its composition to its functionality. It also entails considering its entire life cycle, from manufacturing to eventual market withdrawal, including the sustainable allocation of materials.
Product development:

Here, we refer to the manufacturing, construction, or assembly process of the product. It is essential to manage material logistics and waste comprehensively, from the beginning to the end of the process, ensuring practices that minimize environmental impact.

Service delivery:
During this stage, the product is in the hands of the customer, and both the customer and the manufacturer share the responsibility for its proper use. It is crucial to have established guidelines for sustainable product use, actively promoting responsible and conscious practices.

Leading companies like HP, BMW, and Textil Olius are adopting technologies to drive smart sustainability in their operations. This enables them to be more productive, efficient, save costs and resources, while also reducing their carbon footprint.

HP, a technology leader, utilizes the PTC Windchill Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution to streamline its product design process, making it more environmentally friendly and sustainable. Their objective was not solely to adhere to environmental regulations but also to transparently showcase their dedication to sustainability throughout all phases of the product lifecycle. This platform enabled HP to systematically organize and manage all pertinent information, establish connections, and disseminate it across all relevant departments, thereby simplifying the demonstration of their sustainability compliance.

Textil Olius, a company dedicated to manufacturing natural wool felts, has embraced industrial IoT with PTC ThingWorx to improve efficiency in its production processes. Through real-time monitoring and data analysis, Textil Olius has managed to reduce material waste and optimize resource usage, aligning its operations with sustainable principles.

BMW, a leading manufacturer in the automotive sector, is another prominent example of how smart sustainability is transforming business practices. The company is using IoT solutions to optimize, based on gathered intelligence, energy efficiency in its manufacturing processes and design more sustainable vehicles. From material selection to production and recycling, BMW is committed to reducing its environmental impact and promoting sustainable mobility.

In summary, smart sustainability involves leveraging technological intelligence to promote responsible and sustainable business practices. By integrating intelligence and digital technologies into their business model, organizations can reduce their carbon footprint and environmental impact, save on energy consumption, and become more competitive.

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