Three strategies to accelerate the green industrial revolution

As we countdown the weeks and days to COP26, our expectations grow. Climate change is happening, we humans are undoubtedly the cause and time is running out. Urgent climate action across all sectors is needed now to halve CO2 emissions by 2030.

The challenge may seem vast and decarbonizing some industrial sectors are notably “hard-to-abate”. But today, we have the tools and the means to build a green industrial future. We can and must move faster.

Industrial companies have been able to implement extraordinary measures to protect people and keep their operations running despite a global pandemic. Not only have they kept producing despite material and worker shortages, but some sectors have also faced extraordinary spikes in demand.

However, those industrials that had not begun their industry 4.0 transition have struggled in this crisis. If you weren’t ready for Covid, likely is that your net-zero transition isn’t on the top of your agenda. Policies and stakeholder pressure are demanding carbon-neutral supply chains, operations and products. As a result, more sectors and businesses need to adopt technologies that offer measurable sustainability improvements and ESG compliance for industrial operations.

Industrial sustainability isn’t just about doing less. It’s about deep decarbonization for less environmental impact but more operational efficiency. Building a better, low carbon industrial future with smart, green electricity and next-generation automation.

Three technology pillars for resilient, agile and eco-efficient operations:

  1. Automation everywhere will reduce energy and resource use and workforce augmentation can avoid safety issues and cut operating costs. The power of automation helped overcome major operational challenges in the pandemic, such as social distancing. Software-centric automation built on open standards can boost interoperability and digital collaboration to get more product to market faster, increase competitiveness and turn IoT data into bottom-line value. Automation saves time, money and builds new skills.
  2. Software and digitization are now critical for industrial productivity and companies need to invest in digital technologies to adapt. With data-driven insights, industrial operations can run life cycle efficient processes with unified control, scheduling and visualization and take information to the next level by combining artificial intelligence, digital twin, and human insight. Deeper analytics optimize the performance of assets and real-time data management ensures the resilient and sustainable performance of entire manufacturing ecosystems.
  3. Industrial decarbonization technologies need to scale. Both increased electrification and other fuel-switching strategies are expected to drive innovation and emission reduction. Converging power and process can deliver energy efficiencies and cut industrial waste. More recycling and circularity also promises reduced energy demand. Smart and green electricity with renewables and storage can shift how we power machines, processes and plants and tackle the use of resources across industrial value chains today.

Experienced advice for getting down to business

Speaking together at Innovation Summit 2021, Barbara, EVP IA and Peter, CEO AVEVA, shared their personal experience and insights from customers who had already started on this journey.

“I’m convinced that the many challenges which businesses have faced over the past 18 months are accelerating the urgency to digitize and build better industries for the future”, explained Barbara, who has an extensive network in the electrical and electronic manufacturing sector. “For one, I know from our experience that those businesses who implement a combination of economically sound operational excellence and social and environmental responsibility, are turning their sustainability strategy to their advantage, giving them the competitive edge. Even new opportunities for efficiency and business value, not just additional costs to bear.

Peter agreed: “Nine out of ten of our industrial customers agree that adopting digital technologies and software provides the backbone they need to drive urgent reduction of CO2, lead the transition to a more circular economy and rethink their resource footprint. Industrial leaderss can leverage data management and real-time decision-making today to improve the sustainability performance of supply chains, assets and production cycles.”

As showcased through a whistle-stop tour of forward-thinking customer testimonials, tomorrow’s industries will need to adopt more digital ways of thinking now so that software and data can improve the visibility and management of power, fuel, water, raw materials, and equipment utilization.