David Jensen, coordinator at the UNEP Digital Transformation Working Group, sums up the goal as follows: “We must ensure that digital technology enhances solutions to the climate issue without using too much energy and raw materials. One important goal of digitalization is to provide new capabilities for individuals and businesses.” and the public sector, helping them become more sustainable, act collectively and create a global commitment to the health of our planet.
Data is at the heart of the challenge and opportunity
Data is often called the “new gold” because of how technological advances allow data to be used, analyzed and processed in new ways to identify and solve challenges – and of course this also applies to climate and environmental challenges. A good example of this is how AI is being used to stop forest destruction through the project Forest outlook, With the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) as initiator. The organization uses AWS technology to be able to predict where there is a risk of illegal logging, by analyzing known behavior patterns and methods of perpetrators. One of the many data points, for example, is road access in an area, because illegally cut forest needs to be moved away in a smooth manner. Using machine learning, all this raw data can be turned into predictive forecasts that help WWF predict where deforestation is most likely to occur in the future, and put authorities in a better position to prevent it.
Data is the fuel that drives AI and machine learning forward, which in turn extracts deeper knowledge from data and contributes to better decision-making. The cloud – whether through its massive computing power or the advanced services it provides – is what enables the management and integration of multiple layers of data in real time, making what could otherwise be a vast amount of unstructured data useful, creating actionability, and can contribute to utility Great for humanity.
In 2019, AWS launched the Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative (ASDI) project with the goal of making it easier for researchers on sustainability issues to collect and analyze large amounts of data, a task that can be costly and time-consuming. A number of scientific organizations are participating in this initiative, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA, and the National Institutes of Meteorology in Great Britain, France, and Finland. Databases are aggregated with massive amounts of information that are stored and made publicly available via the AWS cloud. The information includes weather observations and forecasts, climate forecasts, satellite images, hydrological and oceanographic data, as well as air quality data. Through ASDI, researchers, business and civil society have access to richer knowledge, which can provide new insights and contribute to the development of new sustainable solutions to complex problems.
Sustainability is built from the ground up
You can contribute to sustainability in more ways than just directly supporting nature conservation projects. Working to ensure your business is run as sustainably as possible is important and urgent, and there are a number of methods and tools to help you on your way to the goal.
One such measure is to ensure that the data used by businesses is stored and managed in a resource-efficient manner — AWS cloud infrastructure, according to data from 451 Research, is 80 percent more energy efficient than traditional data centers housed on its own premises. Another measure is to use available tools to reduce the environmental impact when using the cloud. AWS has compiled the framework A well-designed sustainability pillar, A collection of tips that have helped customers around the world since 2021 optimize their cloud architecture based on concrete sustainability goals. Many actions are simple but still have a significant beneficial impact – for example, choosing the appropriate file format for the data. The framework also addresses, for example, which type of storage solutions are best suited for the business, and how to optimize operations by balancing load levels. By following these tips and examples, time and electricity consumption is reduced. Business thus becomes more efficient and profits grow faster than resources are needed – which is absolutely essential for sustainable growth.
AWS is constantly working on new initiatives made possible by the continuous development of technology, from compression algorithms that reduce file size, to new generations of hardware with more energy-efficient designs and reward programs that encourage employees to work individually and collectively in a new environment. Ways to help achieve specific environmental goals.
Carbon Footprint Tool for AWS Customers It is a tool that helps customers get an overview of the resources consumed by their cloud data, create projections of future consumption and help them utilize it more efficiently. The tool also calculates how much consumption comes from renewable energy sources, based on where it is stored and processed. It also means that the calculations will change as several of Amazon’s ongoing renewable energy projects come online.
AWS is on track to achieve a goal of running 100 percent of its business on renewable energy by 2025, and today Amazon is the largest commercial buyer of renewable energy globally and in Europe.
Together towards brighter times
Europe’s ambition to be a leader in both climate action and digitalization is pushing the boundaries of technology and research forward and increasing demand for sustainable solutions. The region therefore has good conditions to make the most of innovation and development in the future.
Cloud, AI and machine learning are technologies that make a positive contribution to companies that use them as tools to achieve their sustainability goals. When technology develops, knowledge is shared and multiple actors collaborate around a common goal, it opens the way for new, previously unimaginable solutions to global challenges and problems.
With the help of AWS, dozens of companies around the world are using the power of the cloud to create new, more sustainable services for consumers and societies — to consume, produce, benefit, and enjoy. A local example is Nordic Electricity Trading Company Tiber, Which uses the AWS cloud for its digital platform. Tibber’s business concept is to optimize electricity consumption by monitoring energy costs in real time and helping customers redirect their electricity use to consume smarter while lowering their costs — on average by 20 percent. Getting real-time information to customers at the right time is what makes the service work, and through AWS IoT Core, Tibber sent more than 33 billion messages to customers in one month, May 2021.
There will be no shortage of existential challenges facing the environment and climate in the years ahead – but rapid technological advances and the solutions created along the way, combined with a global commitment to contribute to a brighter future, mean we are also better equipped to address environmental and climate challenges. Dealing with them more than ever.
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