Despite industrial companies setting ambitious sustainability targets, roughly half (48%) have yet to take the necessary steps to meet them, according to a study by Schneider Electric, and Omdia, the technology research and advisory group.
In order to understand businesses’ sustainable goals and maturity of their initiatives, the study surveyed hundreds of industrial companies in the food and beverage, life sciences, Semiconductor and electronics, chemical, oil and gas, and automotive industries, ranging from small to large.
Over half (57%) of respondents said they were aiming for net zero greenhouse gas emissions, and that reduced energy consumption was a main factor in their decision. 49% also believed improved performance and cost savings were also expected from decarbonising efforts.
However, nearly half (48%) had not yet fully implemented their sustainability initiatives, and less than one third (30%) are on track to meet their goals.
While some challenges were technological, the research highlighted clear organisational obstacles that needed to be overcome. For example, competing priorities was an issue for 23% of respondents, while cultural change was a challenge for 19%. Many noted that sustainability initiatives require a driving force behind them, with 78% of respondents reporting that a C-level executive is responsible for their organisation’s efforts.
“The manufacturing industry is increasingly understanding the value of sustainability and efficiency targets. There is now clear evidence that valuing people and planet leads to greater profits,” said Barbara Frei, executive vice president, Industrial Automation, at Schneider Electric. “However, change will require an evolution of traditional thinking, making sustainability and wellbeing a central part of processes, hardware, software, and organisational culture to identify inefficiencies and waste. This is where the next generation of industry starts from.”
Technology providing the answers
The study revealed that industrial companies are exploring a range of solutions to improve their sustainability, either directly or indirectly.
They found the five biggest technologies that will have the biggest impact on their sustainability efforts include more efficient automation, energy management systems, cloud technologies, supply chain tracking, and more sensors.
Investment in these areas is already taking place. 54% of respondents are already using technology to (re)design facilities with sustainability in mind, and more than 50% predict they will have deployed energy management and renewable energy systems within three years. Other types of projects being pursued include environmental management and sustainability performance management.
For industrial companies to achieve their sustainability goals, they will need a clear strategy and sufficient data to support it. Technology will play a key role, including improved sensing and visualisation tools to capture sustainability data and derive actionable insights.
“There is a huge opportunity for industrial companies. Many have energy-intensive operations and waste to contend with. Making use of renewables, recycling, and circular models will not only benefit the environment but also deliver meaningful return on value,” said Alex West, senior principal analyst, IoT and Sustainability, at Omdia. “Armed with the metrics to prove the impact of their sustainability initiatives, sustainability leaders can attract employee buy-in and justify further investment – it’s a virtuous cycle.”
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?