How can data help businesses meet their ESG goals?

Bengt Lundberg
14 November, 22

With environmental impact at the top of the mind for shareholders, partners, potential clients and consumers, businesses are increasingly making decisions driven by ESG goals. However, we’ve reached the stage where compliance isn’t enough. Businesses have to do more to ensure that operations are sustainable, employees are satisfied, customers are looked after, spaces are used efficiently, and resources aren’t wasted.  It’s a big challenge for many in the industry. Data collection is becoming an increasingly vital part of the process.

Without data, businesses cannot benchmark their current situation or gather insights into potential improvements. Smart technology is providing ever-more simple and cost-effective ways for businesses to gather, analyse, and use data to help them become more efficient, safe, and sustainable. Wireless IoT sensors are proving to be a quick, reliable and easy method for a wide variety of organisations to collect data on both their operations and their environment.

What are the benefits of smart sensor technology?

Smart sensors typically take the form of tiny wireless devices that can be deployed in a range of indoor spaces to capture a specific data set. When placed around a building or office space, they can gather enormous amounts of data, helping to provide a comprehensive overview of building performance and operations. Sensors monitoring temperature, proximity, water, humidity, CO2, and motion, can provide essential data, which when combined with analytics and machine learning form a benchmark for assessing the building’s performance. This leads to optimised operations and decreased energy and resource use, allowing for efficiencies, such as the optimisation of HVAC based on temperature and occupancy data. 

Smart sensor technology can also be used to monitor desk occupancy, enabling a business to understand the space employees are using and whether changes can be made to optimise that space. This might be by improving employee desk areas or by downsizing office footprint to reduce waste and deploy resources efficiently. Both issues are particularly pertinent in the current economic and employment climate in which an increasing number of businesses are relying upon a hybrid workforce while juggling tightening budgets.

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, an increased emphasis has also fallen on workplace hygiene and safety. Smart sensors facilitate better cleaning standards, water quality, and property maintenance when deployed throughout a building. Touch sensors installed throughout a facility can send anonymous feedback or cleaning requests to maintenance services while tracking cleaning routines and room usage – thus dictating when and whether a particular space needs to be cleaned. While water, plumbing, and equipment sensors can detect dangerous leaks or equipment failiures, alerting service providers to fix the problem before the problem escalates to a flood or outage.

Sensors are also increasingly providing assistance to automating water safety compliance. Previously an intensely manual process, the regular monitoring of stagnant water and flushing of taps is required to prevent legionella bacteria from growing. Now businesses can automate this process, monitoring water flow and water temperature through individual pipe networks, and using this information to determine when flushing is necessary. Keeping employees comfortable with 24/7 monitoring, while helping to reduce waste by only flushing the pipes that have not passed the requisite amount of water in any given time frame.

How do these applications assist with fulfilling ESG goals?

IoT wireless sensors provide a realistic, affordable way to both build and achieve ESG targets. The ability to retrofit tiny sensors means no older assets or equipment are wasted. They can also be quickly installed, without the need for technical expertise, significantly reducing e-waste.

Most importantly, sensors provide the critical foundations for ESG policy. Establishing metrics such as energy use, energy waste, space use, and environmental conditions, allows businesses to develop a clear set of priorities, helping them avoid gathering large volumes of data without the ability to analyse it in a meaningful way or provide actionable insights.

Clear and easy-to-understand metrics are also important to demonstrate ESG compliance to stakeholders, including investors. Ethical considerations – particularly environmental concerns – are playing an increasingly significant role in investment decisions, and many investors seek evidence of sustainable practices and improvements.

Wireless sensors and remote monitoring

IoT sensors have the additional benefit of remote monitoring. This is particularly important as businesses evaluate the adaptability of their business practices after the Covid-19 pandemic. Deploying smart, wireless technology means business owners can continue tracking equipment safety and room occupancy, along with metrics that are important for the occupants, such as temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels.

As a focus on environmental concerns comes to the fore, businesses must adapt to new expectations and requirements. Sensor technology provides the most cost-effective solution, offering opportunities for companies to establish measurable goals and take essential steps to achieve them. ESG goals have already proven their value, and as investors and critical stakeholders scrutinise ESG compliance, more businesses will seek the technology necessary to uphold these expectations.  

Bengt Lundberg is the CEO of Disruptive Technologies. He holds an Engineering degree from Vestfold University College. Bengt has more than 20 years of international business experience. He also has a decade-long experience with international team leadership, building cross-cultural, high-performing teams

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