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17.03.2022 | 8 min

Sustainable Development with IoT - Challenges and Solutions

IoT not only has the potential to make the workplace life and business processes much more productive and efficient but what's most important it plays an essential role in sustainable development and environment protection.

Sustainable Development with IoT - Challenges and Solutions - 2022 06
Table of Contents
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for business
  • The role of the IoT in environmental sustainability
  • Achieve your company's sustainability goals with IoT - Case studies
  • Summary

The Internet of Things is widely used across industries to streamline internal processes, real-time access data, and reduce costs. It was only a matter of time before IoT technology found its way into the sustainability sector, helping businesses and the environment at the same time.

This article will show how companies increase their efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and what role IoT systems play in these processes.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for business

In September 2015, the United Nations General Assembly was held, at which 193 countries decided to work towards 17 common goals that should be achieved by 2030. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) guide the world in response to global challenges.

SDGs focus on sustainable development in social, environmental, and economical. They are aimed at all of us, both individuals and companies. Businesses and the private sector must work together to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals listed below.

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Source: Sustainable_Development_Goals.

Why are sustainable development goals relevant for businesses?

SDGs help companies create a business strategy that meets the requirements of modern society. They identify areas of innovation and lead to the recognition of upcoming opportunities resulting from changes in the behavior of consumers, who often choose sustainable solutions.

Companies implementing the Sustainable Development Goals attract not only customers but also new, talented employees. More and more people consider the company's social responsibility when choosing a workplace.

Companies implementing SDG have a positive impact on the company's reputation and more significant opportunities for synergies and partnerships with other organizations that share similar goals.

Among the most significant Sustainable Development Goals for organizations are numbers 9 and 12 because they have the greatest impact on the company's development. Let's take a closer look at them.

  • Goal 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure. This SDG focuses on building resilient infrastructure and investing in sustainable industrialization and innovation.
  • Goal 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production. In this case, the goal is to work towards ensuring sustainable management over the production patterns and sustainable consumption.

Challenges when companies are committed to a sustainable development

Nowadays, a critical challenge faced by entrepreneurs and business managers is introducing sustainable practices into the core functions of an organization. So far, companies have focused mainly on sustainable development's ecological and economic aspects. The social aspect of sustainability has often been overlooked. But that is slowly changing.

Today, more and more companies face the challenge of taking into account sustainable social development, choosing values ​​such as equality, organizational culture, poverty, commitment, and education.

Another significant challenge facing companies striving for sustainability is the circular economy. It means that waste should become a resource input that reduces the depletion of primary resources and decreases the pollution generated. Adopting a circular economy requires the implementation of advanced, innovative technologies and the establishment of cooperation between different sectors.

Another challenge is the lack of political signals in the government's actions. The role of the government is to create a framework that encourages companies to make efforts to achieve sustainable development. It is the only way to see system-wide change supporting SDGs. So far, global political uncertainty is slowing down corporate sustainability efforts.

Which companies support the Sustainable Development Goals?

More and more companies are trying to introduce numerous changes to fight the climate crisis and act for sustainable development. Below you will find some of the leading corporations that support SDGs.

  • Nike. Their mission, called Move to Zero, aims to generate zero carbon emissions and zero waste. Nike uses more and more recycled materials in its products, which reduces pollution - one of the main problems of the fashion industry.
  • JetBlue. Air travel and air transport are one of the largest carbon-emitting industries. JetBlue strives to reduce CO2 emissions and works towards carbon neutrality. The company compensates for its emissions and is working on an innovative solution enabling the use of renewable jet fuels.
  • Huawei. Their TECH4ALL initiative aims to fight digital inequality by increasing the digital inclusion of people with disabilities and refugees.
  • Hilton. This company aligns with SDG 11, which focuses on sustainable cities and communities. Hilton hotels have implemented a corporate responsibility measurement system that tracks and analyzes each location's social and environmental impact.

The role of the IoT in environmental sustainability

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of electronic devices that can automatically communicate and exchange data on a network without human intervention. Companies mainly use it to collect data, monitor and analyze supply chain management and improve processes.

Companies could invest a total of up to $15 trillion in IoT by 2025 - According to Gigabit.

How can IoT help in sustainable development?

The Internet of Things is based on data generated and transmitted in interactions between machines and people. Based on the collected data provided by the sensors, users have access to crucial information that can help identify areas for improvement.

Thanks to this data, individuals and companies can transform processes and strive for sustainable development.

How can the Internet of Things strengthen global development efforts?

IoT provides a massive amount of data necessary to perform deep analysis, recognize patterns and create reliable predictions for the future. Gained insights are used to optimize processes, improve planning efficiency, and the overall transformation of systems and supply chains.

Now companies optimize processes to help achieve the Global Development Goals by reducing product and energy waste.

Achieve your company's sustainability goals with IoT - Case studies

Below you will find some of the most exciting case studies of IoT solutions that support the company's sustainable development.

KYOTO: Industrial Solar Energy System (CSP) for Heat and Power Generation (CHP) with Thermal Energy Storage (TES)

KYOTO is a Norwegian startup focused on renewable energy sources. Its mission is to capture and manage large amounts of energy from various renewable sources such as solar and wind energy. The company's goal is to use it to reduce CO2 emissions in the event of industrial thermal loads.

Our team at Order Group used advanced technologies such as AWS, C++, NVidia Jetson, Terragrunt, React, and many more to build an MVP first to test the idea and find investors.

The development of the MVP version of the energy storage led to Kyoto's entry into the stock exchange and attracted many investors!

Then, we developed small and efficient power plants based on CSP technology. The main functionalities include:

  • A secure cloud infrastructure uses IoT to connect and maintain all systems in a concentrated solar power plant.
  • A surveillance system that notifies the team of potential hazards on the plant site with an image recognition solution.
  • A battery management system controls valves, pumps, and the flow of hot liquids in a molten salt accumulator.
  • The company's advanced platform to select the best possible location for solar power plants and provides cost-effective solutions based on collected data to improve overall performance.

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Wexus: IoT software that helps the global food supply chain

Wexus Technologies is a San Francisco-based company that focuses on empowering farmers with the Internet of Things.

Their IoT software supports food supply chains by providing user data with information on numerous things, such as maintaining irrigation pumps and processing solar kits.

How it's possible?

The company streams the data through the equipment installed in the pump that controls energy consumption and provides insight into the information collected. Based on this, companies can significantly reduce their energy and maintenance expenses.

Blue Pillar: IoT power and energy management services

Blue Pillar is a company based in Indiana that offers IoT power and energy management services.

Their mission is to provide companies with valuable insight into their energy needs to increase the efficiency of their operations and prepare for a potential grid failure. Companies from various industries, including the military, healthcare, research labs, and governments, can significantly benefit from IoT power and energy management services.

It is an excellent step towards sustainable development.

HydroPoint: intelligent IoT architecture for sustainable water management

HydroPoint uses IoT solutions to provide innovative water management that can be used for irrigation applications. For this to work, sensor data analytics are necessary.

The company developed several products, including:

  • WeatherTRAK - it is an irrigation controller which is based on cloud technology and provides data in real-time.
  • HydroPoint 360° - it offers a Smart Water Management system that can be used across different industries.

Both solutions support the sustainable development of organizations and help them achieve their SDGs.

Summary

While more and more companies are investing in the Internet of Things to accelerate their efforts to meet the SDGs, there is still much work to be done.

"Across a universe of 8,550 companies in the MSCI All Country World Index, constituents were measured from strongly aligned to strongly misaligned to the UN SDGs.

Companies fell mostly in the middle—roughly 38% were aligned, while almost 55% were misaligned or neutral. Meanwhile, just 0.2% of companies were strongly aligned to the UN SDGs." - According to World Economic Forum

The table below presents how strongly aligned are 8,550 companies in the MSCI All Country World Index with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

table.jpg

As you can see, there is still room for improvement. Only by the joint effort of companies all over the world can real change be possible.

Hopefully, more and more organizations will transform their processes and focus on sustainable development following the example of companies mentioned in this article.

If you are looking for IoT solutions supporting SDGs, you've come to the right place. At Order Group, we have experience in providing companies with advanced solutions that support their development, reduce unnecessary costs and help in sustainable development.

Let's talk about a unique, technologically advanced solution for your company
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