How to rethink the daily work in the company with digital to be more sustainable

How to rethink the daily work in the company with digital to be more sustainable

Research by The European House Ambrosetti and Microsoft shows how digital can make a difference for Italian companies not only in terms of productivity, but also of attention to the environment

Work in the digital world (Getty Images) Sei colleagues or business partners make an appointment for a business meeting, meeting in an office in the city. Traveling an average of 41 kilometers each by car, they emit a total of 27.6 kilograms of CO 2 into the atmosphere. In a parallel universe, the six collaborators decide instead to reunite in a remote video call, without moving. In addition to saving time, perhaps dedicated to a greater work-life balance, the pollution caused by their meeting in normal video quality is just 20.1 grams of CO 2. The title of a study carried out by Microsoft and The European House-Ambrosetti, presented at the Cernobbio meeting, is just an example of the relationship between Digitization and sustainability for the recovery of Italy.

The case demonstrates how digital can contribute in everyday life to achieving the new goals set by the European Union to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030. For Italy, it is a question of reducing greenhouse gases from 430.8 million tons of CO 2 in 2019 to 232.2 million tons indicated by the Green Deal in nine years. In that differential of 198.6 million tons, digital can contribute by enabling a decrease of 37 million tons by 2030, in various sectors of activity. The estimate is one ton more than the increase in the use of renewable energy sources provided for in the Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan can guarantee.

This, according to the median scenario in terms of speed of digital adoption outlined by the research, presented by Patrizia Lombardi, Vice Rector of the Polytechnic of Turin and member of the steering committee together with Silvia Candiani, managing director of Microsoft Italy and Valerio De Molli, CEO of The European House-Ambrosetti. Based on the three macro areas analyzed, 77.7% of those 37 million tons eliminated by digital will be in the energy and production system, making it possible to save 5.1 billion euros in energy costs for businesses and families. On the other hand, 16.7% of the abatement will be ensured by new consumption and work models, such as smart working and 5.6% by the digital circular economy.

"Three proposals emerge from this study: to enable the right and duty to digital training, to identify shared standards for measuring the environmental, social and governance sustainability of companies, to sanction the universal right to digital as a lever for inclusion and reduction of inequalities ”, explains Lombardi. "In this sense, monitoring becomes a fundamental aspect and the ruling classes will not have to waste time: from what emerges from the PreCop26 work to be held in Milan, emissions must be reduced by 7% every year".

In terms of economic sustainability, the study demonstrates how digitized companies obtain an important benefit on labor productivity compared to companies that have not yet implemented digital transformation paths (+ 64% for Italian companies, compared to to + 49% for European companies, according to data from the European Investment Bank). For 63% of the companies interviewed by the survey, new ways of digital working can help pursue social sustainability goals. However, to exploit digital in a green transition perspective, according to 41.9% of companies it is essential to have a widespread digital culture.

"There has always been talk of a paradox between profit and sustainability, but on the contrary there is a multiplier effect ”, concludes Candiani. "Systems such as the Iot - internet of things - and artificial intelligence can offer the opportunity to exploit data to have production processes with less impact on the territory. Digital technology offers the tools to move from emotional adherence to sustainability issues to concrete actions. At Microsoft, 70% of data center energy is powered by renewable energy, with the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and also requiring this approach from our suppliers ".

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