A more sustainable industry without giving up profitability. Is it possible?

03 Sep 2021

We find ourselves in a world in which the consumption of goods and services is moving upwards and the business models are being modified to meet the consumer’s demands. However, these needs are increasingly complex and start including an important ethical component that requires companies to take a new factor into account: sustainability.

The industrial sector has a lot to say and reconsider in view of this trend. In fact, today it is responsible for over 20% of carbon dioxide emissions and around 25% of energy consumption in our country. In addition, industry consumes a large number of materials and affects points of the value chain which are key to the environment, such as logistics (with the resulting packaging, transport, and generation of residues and emissions).

What is sustainability and how does it affect industry?

Nowadays, sustainability is talked by managers and important figures, who are trying to turn the planet into a better world. Although this may sound ethereal, the landing on the real world is pretty clear. For example, if we pay attention to online commerce, despite the many benefits it has brought, its great expansion throughout the pandemic also has a negative side. The streets have been flooded with cardboard due to packaging and this trend is continuously growing. In addition, final-mile delivery has shot up, which made CO2 emissions increase, thus posing a major problem for the environment.

Although these problems already existed in the past, there is greater awareness of them. But this does not mean that we must put an end to ecommerce (or any other activity that causes negative effects). Instead, we need to find the way to reduce this impact on the environment until it is almost neutralised.

Solutions based on efficiency and digitalisation

Although it turns out to be a challenge for industry, we already have a large number of initiatives which foster sustainability, both in internal processes and regarding the image towards the customer. From hotels or accommodation that promise to plant a tree, thus achieving a certain differentiation, to major textile companies which commit to a 100% sustainable production in the near future through self-generation of energy.

In this context, we should adopt solutions related to the assessment of the environmental impact of production processes, and solutions related to IoT elements, to know how the machine or point involved in the process work. Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Machine Learning will also be major technologies that will help us optimise the use of resources and get close to that transformation towards a more sustainable industry.

Without a doubt, the goals of sustainability lie in greater digitalisation and introduction of technology in production processes. This is the reason why, from VASS, we take this factor into account within our solutions. Sustainability, far from what may be expected, may be worthwhile but, to do so, we need to find the right strategy and tools. These are expected to optimise all the production stages and the value chain, to decrease costs or improve the product and service quality and to give rise to an improvement of the brand image.

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