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William Xiong headshot

Making it Easy for Enterprises to Engage with a Low-Carbon Agenda

With artificial intelligence, big-data capabilities and more cutting-edge technologies, cloud-based solutions can serve as a pivotal technological platform to support an innovative agenda, including with respect to sustainability.
By William Xiong
wind turbines

This article is sponsored by Alibaba

Undoubtedly, technology has made our lives easier and cloud computing has emerged as a crucial tool adopted by many companies across various industries, unlocking vast potential and benefits. However, that's the beginning. With artificial intelligence, big-data capabilities and more cutting-edge technologies, cloud-based solutions can serve as a pivotal technological platform to support an innovative agenda, including with respect to sustainability.

We believe that the future of sustainable development lies in a low-carbon circular economy driven by innovative technologies and alternative energy sources. Particularly, digitization has become indispensable in tackling sustainability challenges. In the future, sustainability will become a vital standard for evaluating companies, necessitating urgent action by businesses big and small to reduce their carbon footprint and environmental impact while achieving their sustainability goals. Embracing digital technology within a business organization will also encourage sustainable innovations. Therefore, selecting the right strategies for investing in sustainable solutions is crucial to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, mainly the SDG12 (responsible consumption and production) and SDG13 (climate action) goals. 

The use of sustainable technology has been identified by Gartner as one of the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2023, highlighting it as a powerful tool for shaping the innovations of the future. When carefully and thoughtfully implemented, this technology can provide a valuable resource for helping to manage and lower the emissions of companies.

In addition, an analysis by Accenture shows that businesses can reduce their carbon footprint by 84 percent on average when migrating to cloud services. According to Gartner, more than 85 percent of companies will adopt a cloud-first principle by 2025, which can be a critical measure for carbon reduction and efficiency enhancement for both businesses and the economy. 

Though migrating to the cloud can also generate carbon emissions, it’s imperative to provide cloud users with information on the carbon footprint of the cloud products and services they use. This is where AI-powered software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, such as Alibaba Cloud’s Energy Expert, can play a significant role. For example, a carbon management platform built upon a proven cloud infrastructure can enable users to make informed decisions about their energy consumption before taking steps to reduce their carbon emissions.

More importantly, organizations can benefit from a solution that is designed to help them monitor, analyze and optimize their carbon emission and make informed actions to fulfill their sustainability goals. A streamlined solution should be able to help enterprises to automate the carbon accounting and reporting process and obtain real-time sustainability impact statistics for them to make informed decisions.

An efficient sustainability solution enables enterprises to identify the sources of carbon emissions from their daily business activities as well as the full life cycle of their products, based on the PAS 2060 and ISO 14064 standards on carbon neutrality. Organizations can quantify their carbon footprint through pre-built calculation models and our datasets. It provides real-time visibility into carbon emission patterns and sustainability performance through visualizations on dashboards and online reports.

SaaS-sustainability: A case study

During the recent Olympic Esports Week (OEW) in June this year, Alibaba Cloud’s Energy Expert was deployed to measure and analyze carbon emissions from the event’s temporary construction, generating data-driven insights on the choice of materials and equipment.

Leveraging the latest tech-driven sustainability solution, the event organizers were able to identify the sources of carbon emissions from venue construction and operation, quantify the carbon footprint generated by a venue, and visualize a venue’s sustainability performance via an integrated dashboard and online reports. 

In addition, Malaysia’s leading asset management and infrastructure solutions company, UEM Edgenta Bhd’s digital ecosystem platform, Edgenta NXT, has also adopted Energy Expert. The company is using the platform to count and measure emissions and carbon footprint to assist on their Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions roadmap calculations. The sustainability SaaS solution has helped them to simplify the process, reduce errors, and prepare for a compliance exercise that they will be undertaking. The solution has been instrumental in helping them implement their ESG strategy.  

It is remarkable to see that in recent years, numerous companies have pledged to achieve a net-zero emission target. In less than a year, the number of companies with net-zero pledges doubled, from 500 in 2019 to more than 1,000 in 2020. Malaysia, with its favorable business environment, advanced digital infrastructure and strategic location, is well positioned to become a leading hub for the digital economy in the region. 

Considering Malaysia's goal of achieving a national agenda of net zero by 2050, we anticipate a growing demand from various industries to integrate sustainability into their business operations and minimize their environmental impact. This allows local companies to adapt more quickly to the digital era and run their business in a more sustainable manner, all while remaining agile and competitive in a fast-changing market.

This article is sponsored by Alibaba

Image credit: Matt Artz/Unsplash

William Xiong headshot

William Xiong is Vice President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence and General Manager of Enterprise Service Cloud. He is responsible for the business development and operation of Enterprise Service Cloud, including Energy cloud, Sales & Procurement Cloud, Financial cloud, Marketing cloud, and the Enterprise Mobile Application Development platform. Prior to Alibaba Cloud, William was Technology Senior Director of Ant Group. He was CTO of Worldfirst, responsible for Ant International B payment technology, and led the e-wallets implementation and cooperation in several countries (such as Paytm in India, Dana in Indonesia, and TNG Digital in Malaysia). William has rich experience in software and mobile development, e-wallets, insurance, data platforms, and carbon neutrality. He and his team aim to offer inclusive, end-to-end, value-driven cloud-based services and products to enterprises.

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