Take something as simple as a washing machine. We can calculate that the annual electricity required to power them exceeds 83 billion kilowatts each year. If we found simple and innovative ways to help consumers wash at 30°C rather than 40°C, with a better cleaning performance, electricity consumption could be reduced by an average of 40%. By moving to even more sustainable technologies, we strive to develop the world’s most resource-efficient products with smart algorithms to help reduce the average household’s carbon footprint. Our washing machine models are 10% - 70% more energy efficient than the standard energy labels set by regulations in different countries.
Another area with great potential to help drive more sustainable choices is artificial intelligence (AI). If more and more technologies can integrate environmentally conscious AI into their everyday usage, the possibilities for emission reductions are endless. Take a household refrigerator as an example. What if a relatively simple artificial intelligence mechanism was integrated into every fridge, so that it could use sensors to detect and inform people when items were about to go off? With a global food waste crisis that contributes nearly 4.4 billion tons of greenhouse gas (about 10% of total) emissions annually, the potential impact of these smarter technologies could be enormous.
In an increasingly digital economy, technology companies can fundamentally redefine the digital infrastructure that frames how we produce and consume. But this will require an approach that goes beyond any one company’s capabilities. Open innovation will be one of the key tools that we will need to leverage going into the future. By rethinking the role of technology in solving the climate crisis, workable solutions will be the result of unexpected collaborations across different actors in society. It is the responsibility of technology companies to be a platform for these collaborations to occur, and an engine to spur them on.
The opportunity is exciting and potentially game-changing, but the onus is now on us to successfully integrate climate action into our business model. New industry collaborations such as the 2030Vision—a global partnership platform with the aim to transform the use of technology to help achieve the SDGs—are much needed to help align global efforts. But it’s essential that companies begin to understand their own contribution to a 1.5°C future. The ambitious commitments made at Climate Week NYC 2019 now need to translate into actions. Yet such commitments must go beyond operational footprints to include the impact that their products can also make on the world.