Now in its third year, Sustainable Industry LIVE, the UK's exclusive sustainable transformation event for industry, is a meeting place of the brightest minds in the manufacturing sector.
No surprise, then, that this year’s edition was packed with innovative ideas and industry-leading case studies from businesses striving to help manufacturers hit their Net Zero targets.
Perhaps more surprisingly for an event concerning the climate, the day was full of optimism — and with good reason. Here’s three, in fact.
- It’s not too late.
It's not too late to reach our Net Zero targets, according to a talk from Cambridge University’s Director of Research in Industrial Sustainability, Steve Evans.
If all manufacturers were to cut waste by 4.6% per annum for the next 10 years, our internationally agreed upon 1.5C warming target is within reach, he said.
4.6% doesn't sound like much, does it? It is, in fact, very attainable with the right measures in place. A 4.6% energy usage reduction doesn’t require grand gestures or strategic overhauls. Far from reinventing the wheel, it can be achieved by tweaking the simple things and fine tuning the details.
But the time to act is right now: the inefficiencies embedded in your minute-by-minute processes echo across your value chain, and each ounce of wastage you save multiplies every day.
Could you stand to shed some excess wastage in your value chain? Find out how XpertFactory can help you with the finer points of performance optimisation.
- Lean and ‘performant’ AI solutions are key.
Because digital cloud solutions are intangible, it can be hard to grasp their environmental impact.
The energy cost of all the data we’re consuming and storing is higher than we think. Running on high-usage servers, cloud solutions have very high scope 3 emissions.
While we’re filing through our daily inboxes, we rarely consider the fact that one email with an attachment has the same carbon footprint as driving a car one mile.
The environmental impact of building AI models is huge, too, primarily during the experimentation phase.
According to Astrazeneca’s machine learning expert Hassan Khalid, all of this means that there is huge value to 'performant' AI software solutions that consume less energy. For example, rather than building custom models for every use case, he says our focus should be on building generic models that can serve many purposes, thus spreading the carbon emissions over a wider usage set.
There are many ways to make our AI solutions leaner and less consumptive. Other methods range from choosing energy-efficient and environmentally friendly data storage solutions, to running lean AI models that require less computational power and memory.
- The future is regenerative.
Ending on a forward-looking note (perhaps and counter to the title of this event), Steve Evans discussed how manufacturers can go beyond simply being “sustainable”.
The answer? Regenerative manufacturing.
Evans reminded us that while Net Zero is our collective target today, it’s not an end in itself. Ultimately we need to have a ‘net positive’ impact on the environment, which is what regenerative manufacturing aims to achieve with a holistic approach to sustainability, encompassing efficient resource utilization, clean energy adoption, closed-loop systems, carbon capture, biodiversity conservation, and long-term economic viability.
Net Zero may just be the start. Watch this space…
Get in touch today to discuss your sustainability targets and the measures you can take to optimise your plant performance.