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IBM today launched the Environmental Intelligence Suite, a set of AI-powered software that customers can use to prepare for climate risks that could disrupt operations. By combining AI, weather data, climate risk analysis and carbon accounting features, the Environmental Intelligence Suite can be used to help organizations assess their impact on the planet while reducing the complexity of regulatory compliance, IBM says.
Businesses are facing climate-related damage to their assets as well as increased consumer expectations to act as environmental leaders. McKinsey predicts that climate change could mean more disruptions in global supply chains, disrupt production and increase costs and prices. At the same time, customers are looking for — and willing to pay a premium for — environmentally friendly products, according to recent studies by GreenPrint and others.
The Environmental Intelligence Suite leverages existing IBM weather data along with technologies developed by IBM Research. Via APIs, dashboards, maps and alerts, the platform delivers recommendations aimed at addressing both immediate challenges and long-term planning and strategies. With the platform, climate and data scientists can analyze environmental data sets and use a new framework for climate risk modeling to generate data on future fires and flood risks. They can also tap on natural language processing and automation features designed to help estimate carbon emissions and identify opportunities for reduction.
“The future of the business and the environment are deeply connected. Not only are companies dealing with the effects of extreme weather disruptions on their operations, they are also increasingly being held accountable to shareholders and regulators for how their operations affect the planet, ”said IBM General Manager for AI Applications and Blockchain Kareem Yusuf in a statement. “IBM brings together the power of AI and hybrid cloud to provide companies with environmental intelligence designed to help them improve environmental performance and reporting, create more efficient business operations to reduce resource consumption, and plan resilience to climate change.”
AI for climate change
IBM sets up the Environmental Intelligence Suite as a way to monitor for severe weather, wildfires, floods and air quality in addition to prioritizing mitigation efforts and measuring environmental initiatives. For example, the company says retailers could use the platform for severe weather-related shipping and storage disruptions, while energy and utilities could implement it to determine where vegetation around power lines should be trimmed.
Although studies suggest that some forms of machine learning contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, the technology has also been proposed as a tool to combat climate change. Researchers use AI-generated images to visualize climate change and estimate companies’ CO2 emissions. And non-profit organizations like WattTime are working to reduce household CO2 footprints by automating when electric cars, thermostats and appliances are active based on where renewable energy is available.
In addition to AI-powered services, tech giants are releasing tools to the corner of a global emissions management software market expected to be worth $ 43.6 billion by 2030. Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability recently announced a service designed to help companies measure and manage their CO2 emissions by setting sustainability goals. It was released on the heels of Salesforce’s Sustainability Cloud, a corporate carbon accounting product designed to drive climate efforts and apps from Google Cloud to help companies choose cleaner regions to locate their resources.
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