The Sustainability Imperative

As organizations struggle to define a strategy that balances purpose and profit, opportunities are increasingly emerging to take the lead in sustainability initiatives. Front-line advances in areas such as net-zero emissions, AI-powered solutions for the underserved, precision agriculture, digital healthcare, and more are delivering business benefits, while simultaneously contributing to the realization of the UN’s 17 SDGs. We provide the expert thinking, debate, and guidance to help your organization reposition and transform in the era of sustainability.

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An often-overlooked aspect in the global discussion about sustainability when it comes to information and communications technology is how software can be created and deployed to mitigate a company’s environmental footprint. This Advisor looks at Mobile and Web apps to see what we can do to create a more positive environmental impact.
The ability to monitor and authenticate is crucial for providing credibility to many sustainability efforts. The use of technology (e.g., blockchain, satellite imagery) to monitor and verify activities provides a method of ensuring accountability for actions, both good and bad. This issue of Cutter Business Technology Journal explores the ways technology can be used to monitor and improve the sustainability of a wide range of processes, industrial and otherwise.
How powerful are today’s artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, and which areas are showing the most promise? This Advisor explores how AI can help the environment through the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the enormous potential for AI in patient care, and provides additional examples of how AI is impacting everyday life.
Cloud-based carbon intelligence platforms can help companies track, measure, and model their CO2 emissions — including providing the ability to integrate and analyze carbon emissions data acquired from across their supply chains — and chart the progress of their overall sustainability initiatives. This Advisor explores some of the new products on the market utilizing distributed ledger technologies to support carbon intelligence platforms.
Cutter Consortium Senior Consultant Helen Pukszta explores the use of drones for sustainability. From the critical application of precision agriculture to whimsical light shows, drones not only provide new functionality, they do so with a low carbon footprint. In precision agriculture, we see again that the data collection capability of drones coupled with sophisticated optimization algorithms can help farmers use natural resources more efficiently. In an unusual application that most would not think of, Pukszta goes on to illuminate the unintended environmental consequences of fireworks and the benefits of using drones for light shows.
We continue the trend of the last CBTJ issue with an interview of a top-notch expert whose company is helping to make great strides toward sustainability. Cutter Consortium Fellow Lou Mazzucchelli talks with Carlos Silva of Pachama, a company that uses satellite imagery and ML to measure the carbon captured by forests and how it evolves over time. This measurement allows us to determine whether a carbon credit that is traded on an exchange represents a “real” reduction in emissions. The verifiability and accuracy of such measurements form the foundation for robust carbon markets. Silva explains how the technology works to ensure the integrity of forest carbon credits.
Cutter Consortium Senior Consultant San Murugesan provides a broad overview of the many areas where we can use IoT to improve environmental sustainability, from energy management to food waste reduction. He explains that “the power of IoT lies in its efficiency, accessibility and controllability, and scalability in connecting disparate, distributed devices and appliances.” Many of the applications Murugesan describes rely on sensors to collect data in settings where previously it would have been prohibitively expensive or infeasible. These sensors then feed information to data analytics software that can optimize decisions. His article gives us a sense of how pervasive IoT already is, and how much potential it still has.
As artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) gain attention for their potential to tackle the environmental challenges posed by climate change, their requirement of heterogeneous data takes center stage. This Advisor addresses the fact that while heterogeneous data plays a critical role in the use of AI and ML to combat climate change, there is a dual side that is not environmentally friendly.