DXC Technology, a Fortune 500 global technology services company, has forecast five ways software will help create a more sustainable future in the next five years.
Henrik Hvid Jensen, Chief Technology Strategist, DXC, says, “Technology has an outsized role in almost every aspect of sustainability - from increasing productivity, efficiency, and cost savings, to monitoring and modelling progress.
“As a global IT services leader, DXC sees a number of pivotal ways that technology will help us to drive sustainable development in the next five years.”
1. Organisations will adopt circular economy business models
Globally, natural resources are dwindling and their increased exploitation to cater for global demand is having a negative impact on the environment. To build a competitive global circular economy that produces no waste, companies must adapt their business models to maximise resource efficiency, develop recyclable products, and repurpose waste as new offerings, DXC states.
One of the biggest challenges of moving to a circular economy is collecting and sharing data about a product throughout its entire lifecycle. Digital product passports (DPPs) offer that capability and promise to act as a transparent record of a product’s sustainability, environmental and recyclability attributes. The European Union is positioning itself as a first mover in the space and expects most products in the region to be covered by DPP regulation by 2030.
2. AI will help manage natural resources
AI will become increasingly important for tackling most environmental sustainability issues including biodiversity, energy, transportation and the management of agroecosystems, according to DXC.
In the agriculture sector, AI can produce insight and increase automation to improve environmental stewardship and detect diseases and potential infestations before crops or livestock are threatened. Technology not only impacts individual farms’ output, but data generates valuable insights that can positively influence policy decisions at the local or national level.
For example, DXC is partnering with the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA) in Spain to transform the Spanish agricultural sector through data analytics and AI. One project uses AI algorithms to accurately predict forest fires by evaluating environmental data sources collected by MAPA and its partners. Elsewhere, AI helps farmers makes more informed decisions about what crops to plant and where.
3. AI will increase the viability of renewable energy
McKinsey estimates that by 2026, global renewable-electricity capacity will rise more than 80 percent from 2020 levels. For example, Europe will add approximately 36 million renewable-class assets, such as solar panels, electric vehicles (EVs), and energy storage, to the grid in 2025, and 89 million by 2030.
DXC finds, automation and data analytics can help manage decentralised energy sources, direct excess electricity and flag potential grid weak points before they become significant issues, and help utilities redirect power to where it’s needed in real time.
4. There will be a major shift to software-defined EVs in the next decade
The automotive industry accounts for nearly a quarter of global greenhouse emissions and is a major cause of city air pollution. To address this, U.S. and European regulators are reviewing policy and implementing laws to limit the sale of new gas and diesel cars. As a result, eighteen of the world’s largest automakers have switched or pledged to switch, either completely or significantly, to EV manufacturing in the coming years.
EVs will be software-defined vehicles (SDVs) with automated capabilities to manage the car more efficiently with particular attention to environmental sensitivities. SDVs feature smart routing and energy optimisation that can mitigate issues related to charging capacity and range.
5. Finance systems will be re-engineered to consume less energy
Transitioning to more environmentally sustainable operations is a top priority for banks and financial services organisations. More sustainable software, more efficient algorithms and better data processing are key to these efforts. The global green finance market has thus grown from $5.2 billion in 2012 to more than $540 billion in 2021.
In addition to growing environmentally conscious portfolios, the financial services sector is significantly reducing its energy consumption by enabling efficiencies in data centers. Upgrades include data deduplications and compression which can improve data storage layout and storage efficiency while slashing energy usage. Beyond the traditional financial sector, new approaches are helping to increase the sustainability of the cryptocurrency-mining process.
Jensen adds, “We can all look forward to the day when sustainability is the new standard, and software will be at the heart of helping us create a climate-secure and competitive future."