A Sustainable Future: Digitalisation And Innovation Pave The Way For Growth

A Sustainable Future: Digitalisation And Innovation Pave The Way For Growth
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This time last year, global executives were mid-air on the way to Switzerland for the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. Amid the alpine peaks, technologists, politicians and business leaders came together to review priorities and agree actions. Not this year. Like so many other aspects of the past twelve months, Davos is disrupted. Next week the Davos Dialogues – open to all for the first time – will meet online.

It’s tempting to think much has been lost – but we prefer to think of what is gained. Hundreds of tons of greenhouse gas emissions will not now be generated in getting the Davos entourage to the mountains. The digital-first conference will be more open, enabling thousands more people to witness and participate in discussions.


Our New Digital Norm

With 2020 clocking up some of the highest temperatures on record, and climate change accelerating, digital Davos could be a new norm. With the US set to recommit to the Paris agreement, and the global population having adjusted to markedly less travel in 2020, there is a unique opportunity to put sustainable practices at the heart of our future vision.

Certainly, at AVEVA and Schneider Electric, that’s what we have done. Learn more at AVEVA World Digital from 26-28 January where both Jean Pascal Tricoire and AVEVA leaders will be speaking about our sustainable priorities and digital opportunities in the coming year.

A good example is Veolia Water Technologies, the world’s largest supplier of water services.  Veolia is  now using cloud-based data and analytics to standardise design of plants. Teams across the globe use shared, secure information and leverage simulation tools, to determine how to best optimise the operations.  By pinpointing areas where risks for water losses are high, and quickly testing resilient designs, Veolia has cut water losses at over 100 of its worldwide facilities and saved 15 percent in energy each year with 20 percent higher production efficiency.


Enhanced Sustainability Through Digitisation

Encouraging progress is being made throughout industry to more closely link digitisation of operations to sustainable outcomes. For example Henkel, a global manufacturer that combines chemicals to produce everyday products like Persil laundry detergent and washing liquids, has reduced its environmental footprint by one third over the last two years. By installing over 3,500 sensors across each of their manufacturing sites and connecting to the cloud, they now have capacity to view and monitor 1.5 billion data points.  Because of this, facility operations teams are more agile than ever, using the consolidated data to meet fluctuating demand and optimising production while reducing their energy usage by 16 percent year-on-year and saving an average €8 million per annum. By drastically reducing consumption of energy and water, and producing less waste, Henkel can simultaneously focus on both business continuity and the long-term health of the planet.


Innovation Within Older Manufacturing Sites

Digitisation-driven improvements in sustainability are often highlighted in greenfield factory scenarios where designs can be engineered from the ground up leveraging prevailing technologies to optimise efficiency and energy savings. Yet, in many instances, brownfield facilities can offer opportunities to radically reduce energy costs while shrinking their carbon footprint.

Schneider Electric’s 62-year-old Lexington, Kentucky factory has recently digitised end-to-end operations within the existing factory, now one of the group’s leading smart factory showcases. Using the open EcoStruxure architecture, the team achieved a 26 percent reduction in energy usage and costs, translating to more than $6 Million in savings over the last three years. At the same time, customer satisfaction has improved by 20 percent, demand forecast data is 20 percent more accurate, and energy costs have been reduced by 26 percent. The Lexington site’s digital energy management strategy leverages IIoT connectivity, edge analytics and predicative analytics to drive energy efficiency and further sustainability goals – all enabled by Schneider Electric’s and AVEVA’s integrated software solutions. As a result, the site has been recognised as a World Economic Forum lighthouse facility, one of the world’s most advanced factories leading the way in the adoption of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies.


Sustainable Innovation For a better future

Leading organisations are increasingly redefining their business goals in a more sustainable context. The past twelve months has shown us the importance of digitisation for business continuity,  and how modernisation is providing a pathway for redefining a more optimal and energy efficient future. For industries, the need to drive investment and improve digitisation has never been more urgent. Without sustained investment in innovation, our society will not effectively meet the sustainability goals needed for our better future, for our companies and for the planet. This is our challenge – and our opportunity. We can’t wait to help our customers shape this sustainable future.

By Peter Herweck, EVP, Schneider Electric Industrial Automation and Craig Hayman, CEO, AVEVA


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