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How sustainable investment impacts digital transformation

28 May 2021

Public expectations have risen: consumers don’t just want businesses to be more sustainable, they expect proof.

A poll commissioned by the Carbon Trust, which certifies the carbon footprints of various products, found that two-thirds of consumers in Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States support carbon labelling on products. 

And it’s not only consumers that are actively seeking out sustainability; the investment community is firmly behind ethical businesses.  Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) funds are set to hold more assets under management than their non-ESG counterparts by 2025, according to a PwC report.

But why is this important?

Efficient businesses are sustainable

The pandemic has certainly accelerated ESG momentum, with a survey confirming that 60% of global professional investors increased their focus on ESG in the wake of COVID-19. A key factor driving the popularity of ESG is the belief that suitable investing can deliver improved performance: 60% of European respondents said ESG funds tend to outperform their non-ESG counterparts.

ESGs are attractive because the funds are invested in businesses that recognise consumer expectations for ethical operations – and because those companies proactively reducing energy consumption and minimising wastage are more efficient and more productive.

Many digital transformation projects are focused on boosting efficiency and cutting costs – for example, by using IoT to track and manage power consumption or improve stock management to reduce food waste. By default, these projects create a more environmentally friendly, sustainable business.

Intelligent energy management

Companies are using IoT to create intelligent digital buildings that can automatically monitor, manage and optimise energy usage. This includes everything from lighting and air-conditioning to printers and even coffee machines. They’re all connected.

Ferroli, a leading provider of boiler solutions, for example, is using Vodafone’s Global Connectivity Services and the Invent IoT platform to monitor and control its customers’ boilers remotely. This has improved quality of service and the overall efficiency of Ferroli’s products.

Another example is Kurita Water, a provider of water monitoring and treatment solutions. With Vodafone's Managed IoT Connectivity platform, it can connect to its monitoring devices to analyse water conditions in various locations. As a result, Kurita Water have reduced the cost of managing their devices and can manage their water treatment at any time or place, via their now global network.

The information provided by IoT sensors can reveal surprising data – such as air conditioning units consuming twice as much power as units from another supplier, or coffee machines routinely left running 24x7. It all adds up. With this information, facilities management teams can add in energy consumption factors when planning the equipment replacement cycle.

Energy-efficient smart buildings

The fine-grain detail offered by AI-powered monitoring tools will help businesses to identify and reduce energy waste, as well as automate change. These tools could, for example, automatically adjust heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) and lighting to help save on electricity and reduce bills. Also, the data captured — i.e. how employees use rooms, their temperature preferences, footfall and dwell time — can help create energy management rules that help reduce waste.

Techem, for example, is using Narrowband-IoT and remote radio metering to track energy consumption in homes and commercial buildings, helping to lower energy consumption, reduce CO2 emissions and protect the environment.

Demand for renewable energy soars

Combining better energy management with the shift to renewable energy is a fast track way to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Investment in renewable energy is a key lynchpin in Vodafone’s commitment to halving our environmental impact by 2025. We’re investing in energy efficiency initiatives across our networks, particularly in power supply and cooling.

Vodafone isn’t alone: analysts predict that capital investment in renewable power supplies will overtake upstream oil & gas this year for the first time – and this shift towards renewable power sources is providing companies with a great way to accelerate sustainable goals.

Proving the case

Using IoT and cloud computing to capture, store and analyse information is improving efficiency and helping companies to show their sustainable credentials. It’s allowing businesses to prove to customers and investors that they have met their net-zero carbon targets. Plus, it’s providing businesses with far better control over operations and enabling cost reductions and efficiency gains.

Are you ready to get started on your journey to sustainability and efficiency? Talk to us and let’s make the future possible.

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