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Climate change and the broader environmental sustainability are challenges that businesses will face every day. Industries like construction, agriculture, and transportation are already learning the importance of sustainable practices and starting using technology to engage sustainable practices. Increased technological sophistication coupled with Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) regulations is driving industries to embrace sustainable practice at a faster pace. Read on for some examples of sustainability and technology.

Agriculture and Sustainable Tech
Industrial agriculture requires vast amounts of water, fertilizers, herbicides, and other chemicals to produce crops. Water and soil are depleted and damaged in the process. For example, run-off from excess chemicals can negatively impact streams and waterways and can damage soils far from the area where the chemicals were used. 

The World Bank has reported that agriculture uses 70% of the planet’s freshwater. Sustainable tech in the form of precision agriculture can release the correct amount of chemicals and can also reduce water waste by using drones and sensors to determine crop stress and priority irrigation locations. In addition, deployment of electric vehicles can reduce farm equipment emissions.

Transportation’s importance to the economy cannot be overstated. Without transportation, city dwellers and those in remote areas would not have access to products and services. Transport cannot be reduced, but sustainable practices and less carbon intensive transport can be introduced.  Electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, smart traffic control and improved GPS tracking and route management systems are three ways technology can reduce emissions without negatively impacting trade and everyday activity. The future of transport is also strongly promoted under the Smart and Inclusive Cities framework, which aims to leverage available technology to reach zero carbon emission while making transportation more efficient. 

Building and Construction
As the planet’s population continues to increase, and urbanization accelerates, people will demand more housing. They will also require more schools and hospitals. There are also those living in remote and underserved areas which are gaining access to electricity and plumbing. This increases the overall need for energy consumption resulting in more carbon emission. Buildings emit up to 39% of global carbon emissions. Most emissions are caused by electricity and heating, but 11% is due to construction. Technologies like BIM, or Building Information Modeling, use mixed and Augmented Reality (AR) techniques to assist builders and architects in creating vivid visualizations that can help plan and manage the resources needed to create the building. These visualizations cut down on waste in terms of both time, as well as energy.

Climate change is a reality and its impact will cause damage and losses across every segment of the economy and society. Businesses and industries must better understand and mitigate their impact on  the global ecosystem leveraging sustainable technologies that are available and cost effective.