Deeper intelligence to drive sustainability in 2021 and beyond
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Deeper intelligence to drive sustainability in 2021 and beyond

Deeper intelligence to drive sustainability in 2021 and beyond

Majority of businesses in MEA have embraced sustainability reporting standards

Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai

Sustainability has quickly risen to the top of the corporate agenda in the wake of the pandemic. Events of the last year have elevated the significance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards as companies look beyond short-term profits towards building back better. The trend has been gathering steam for several years now, as environmental and social performance has migrated closer to the core of business operations.

Over the past decade, companies have been increasingly feeling a responsibility to demonstrate that they care about the environment, and that concern is reflected in the interests of our communities, investors, and regulators.

In some ways, the pandemic has accelerated that trend. The majority of businesses here in the Middle East and Africa – including across the industrial sector – have embraced sustainability reporting standards. Approximately 59 per cent of companies across the region now report on sustainability, an increase of 7 per cent over 2017, according to a KPMG Impact survey.

Published in December 2020, the review analysed a one-year period ending June 2020. Within the Gulf, over half of the biggest companies in the UAE (51 per cent) and a third of the largest Saudi Arabian establishments (36 per cent) have recognised the importance of this key environmental metric in their business operations.

Deeper intelligence supports a more sustainable industry
Sustainability reporting is just the start. In the coming decade, AVEVA believes that sustainability will become essential to industrial business models across the value chain – from sourcing and supply chain matters through to the production line and end-of-asset lifecycles.

The future belongs to companies that make the most of deeper intelligence to drive win-win outcomes for business and the environment and empower future workforce generations while supporting efficient, connected, and sustainable working models.

Indeed, with their symbiotic relationship, digitalisation and sustainability can be seen as two sides of the same coin.

Embedding sustainability into your business takes time and is best approached as a journey. Aligning priorities and auditing current capabilities are important first steps. Evaluating your technology capabilities, in particular, has become an increasingly important part of this process. For industrial businesses looking to make their operations more sustainable, digitalisation lays the foundation for a deeper understanding of opportunities, enables real-time monitoring and can accelerate overall progress. As such, it is generally a natural next step for many companies but as each business progresses along its sustainability journey, the process will continue to reveal new ways it can harness the power of digital technology to reduce the business’s environmental footprint and contribute to society.

Smart industrial software already does a great deal to enable greater sustainability, including helping businesses to reduce their emissions, moving towards being more circular and making advances on traceability and product quality. As the push towards Industry 4.0 gathers steam, the next step will be for consumers and companies to find new ways to collaborate and use the wealth of data now available to them to accelerate progress on achieving key sustainability targets, like the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals and limiting global warming to 1.5˚C. Only then will we know if we are on track to realise a more sustainable future.

Lisa Wee is director of Sustainability at AVEVA

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