Can AI Help Reduce the Carbon Footprint of the Retail Industry?

Blog / Can AI Help Reduce the Carbon Footprint of the Retail Industry?

We're fortunate enough to have another article from Regi Publico, this time looking at how Artificial Intelligence can reduce the retail industry's carbon footprint.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of many people on all fronts. Besides making the importance of health and immunity more evident to all, it has also awakened a greater sense of concern for the planet in society. With the arrival of the industrial revolution, the environment has suffered a great deal due to immense carbon emissions and global warming. This event has pressured global leaders and businessmen to analyse their organisation’s impact and find better ways to mitigate the negative effects of industrialisation. 

Today, we answer the question “Can AI help reduce the carbon footprint of the retail industry?”

Robotic hand reaching to an electronic sky

(Source:Pexels.com)

But before we proceed, let’s first talk about two major factors to reducing a company’s carbon footprint: cloud computing and decarbonisation.

What is decarbonisation?

There are two ways to define decarbonisation in society. Some may look at it as the process of shifting from harmful energy systems that produce high amounts of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases. Others may think of it as the process of removing carbon buildup from internal combustion engines. 

What they both have in common is that they are processes that remove carbon from a specific environment or atmosphere. 

Supply chain decarbonisation is the process of altering energy systems to involve fewer carbon emissions. It is a process that businesses have continuously been trying to improve over the years and continue to do so to this day. 

One of the processes that are set to help with decarbonisation in the supply chain is cloud computing.

What is cloud computing?

To put things simply, cloud computing is the process of delivering and storing information over the internet for a more streamlined and flexible experience. In a report published by 451 Research, they said that the simple act of transferring applications to the cloud can reduce a company’s carbon footprint to one-fifth of its consumption compared with using native data centers. 

There are other benefits to cloud computing besides reducing a company’s carbon emissions. Cloud computing also works to eliminate capital expenditures of purchasing software and hardware, as well as for manpower hired to set up and run data centers. Furthermore, it can increase a company’s productivity by removing data errors and lags in the supply chain. 

Additionally the risk of losing data is substantially reduced as cloud computing allows companies to create data backups and disaster recovery plans very easily. On top of that, cloud computing is secure (but take precautions and do not entrust all your security to third parties) and can accommodate unique company policies as well as ensure that businesses always stay compliant with government-mandated regulations. 

Can AI help reduce the carbon footprint of the retail industry?

Cloud computing is a key AI solution that companies are using to reduce their carbon footprint. It’s a highly effective process, but when answering the question “Can AI help reduce the carbon footprint of the retail industry,” the answer might be more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no”.

Studies claim that the use of AI technologies in the retail industry can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4% by the year 2030. Although this is a significant change, it might still not be enough to compete with the consumption of other industries and entities. 

It doesn’t help that incorporating AI into a system of business might not be as simple as some may think. 

How can companies consolidate AI and Cloud technology into their operating systems?

The pivotal role that AI plays in improving the climate is undeniable. Many organisations have started to shift their focus and operations to include AI and cloud computing in their systems. There are even AI-powered grocery delivery apps that help mitigate excessive carbon emissions from supermarkets now. 

When beginning to utilise AI in a retail business to kickstart climate change, one of the most essential methods to use is machine learning. The machine learning process can help improve the efficiency of energy generation and distribution. Furthermore, it can provide effective leak detection and self-service maintenance to optimise fleet management in the industry. 

Machine learning can help companies come up with ways to sustainably allocate renewable resources. On top of that, it can also help businesses utilise forecasted data judiciously and achieve the best results. 

Another great way to utilise AI to reduce the carbon footprint of the retail industry is making transportation solutions greener and more sustainable. Government groups and retail companies can use smart transportation solutions to reduce CO2 emissions. 

AI solutions may be deployed by corporations and government entities to minimise energy waste from buildings or workplaces, which account for about one-quarter of CO2 emissions. This may be accomplished by analysing the supply and demand for buildings and offices and distributing resources accordingly.

The bottom line

There is a huge amount of untapped promise and benefits in AI technology and cloud computing. It can help redefine climate change and company strategies, paving the way for a more sustainable and healthy environment.

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