Getting Started on your Data-Driven Sustainability Journey

pencil By Bennett Indart & Henrietta Lacey-Gutsell

Sustainability is the topic everyone is talking about. It’s not just at home, not just something the kids are working on for a school project but a very present topic we are living with both at home and at work. Sustainability affects us all. Whether it’s a need to reduce energy consumption, an increased focus on recycling or improving diversity at work, sustainability is a top priority.

At the recent WSJ TechLive conference sustainability was a topic of much conversation. Explorer, Robert Swan, initiated proceedings by talking about his decision to highlight sustainability by walking across the entire Antarctic landmass at 66 years old. It may seem extreme but his mission is clear. To raise awareness of climate change and the desperate need for humanity to take greater action in switching to sustainable technologies and renewable energy. By walking across this incredibly precious and remote part of the world Robert aims to show just how much damage climate change is creating in a landscape still otherwise untouched by humans. NTT DATA is proud to be supporting Robert in this mission.

Sustainable technologies have been in various levels of development for decades but in recent years, with the dawn of digitization, IoT and AI, have grown in sophistication. From hydrogen fusion to NTT’s innovative optical wireless network (IOWN) technology there is plenty of ambition to find suitable alternatives.

Yet ambition is simply to set a goal. Many companies have begun the process of setting goals by targeting carbon neutrality. This is a good starting point but without a clear understanding of what comes next and how to get there the goal risks becoming nebulous and another lofty ideal.

“Early in my career Professor Michael Hammer from MIT said one thing to me that really stuck, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

NTT’s Bennett Indart told the audience, “Early in my career Professor Michael Hammer from MIT said one thing to me that really stuck, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” And for me, it’s all about the data. There are sensors that can measure almost anything today and our lives are more connected than they ever were, but we need to move towards better management strategies leveraging this increasing abundance of data.

“Sustainability is a broad topic, and the area that many businesses are prioritizing is energy usage. In order to begin the sustainability journey, companies need to be able to track and manage their energy data so they can measure progress against corporate goals and commitments. Here are some simple steps businesses of all sizes can take to start their own journey.

  • Step 1: Know what I am doing today and how can I start to use data to measure and manage my output
  • Step 2: If I know what I’m doing today, then I can project a forward-looking trend to gain insights using data modeling and analytics
  • Step 3: Using the model of your business footprint created in steps 1-2, start to create a digital or data twin to create simulated outputs to test optimization strategies to improve and accelerate your future outcomes

“We already have a lot of the tools we need, now is the time to start your journey and make sustainable action a reality.”

“NTT has developed a dashboard called ‘Truth in Sustainability’ which is a method that allows us to display how a company is doing in terms of energy footprint. It can monitor carbon emissions, heat and air conditioning, water and use that to understand energy usage as a whole. With data analytics we can then trend that out to show future predictions as well as provide a simulation environment for testing alternative strategies.”

Concluding the session Bennett commented, “We already have a lot of the tools we need, now is the time to start your journey and make sustainable action a reality.”

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