COP26 – the UN Climate Conference – took place in the UK towards the end of last year. Ahead of the conference, 200 countries were asked to reveal their plans to cut carbon emissions by 2030. In 2015, as part of the Paris Agreement, these nations committed to keeping global warming well below degrees 2 degrees Celsius (but preferably 1.5) compared to pre-industrial levels. The goal is said to be ‘net zero’ emissions by 2050.
Understandably, the manufacturing sector is facing hefty CO2 reduction targets given its heavy carbon footprint. To achieve this concrete KPI, carbon reduction targets and carbon neutrality objectives are increasingly becoming an important part of companies’ strategies. The investor community is looking at these matters with increased scrutiny.
Early studies suggest that companies’ efforts to protect the climate are very well received by workforces, customers and investment markets. The manufacturing industry is a major emitter of greenhouse gases and will need to work even harder to contribute its share in the fight against climate change and, in doing so, will have to rely on a variety of solutions, including leveraging the power of data. In the US, manufacturing accounts for almost a quarter (23%) of direct carbon emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. In Europe, the situation is equally dire: the industry emits an annual total of 880 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents, making it one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases on the continent.
With a 22% share of Europe’s total CO2 emissions, manufacturing is the third largest emitter after energy and transport. Therefore, this industry has a particular responsibility to reduce emissions and is being encouraged to do so by stricter environmental regulations and increasing public pressure.
The South African side of the equation is equally bleak, with Bloomberg Green, the environmental section of the financial website, Bloomberg, in 2021 reporting that South Africa is the world’s 12th biggest source of greenhouse gases.
Paul Ruinaard, Regional Sales Director South Africa at Splunk, confirms that monitoring carbon footprint and creating a sustainability scorecard is always a tough ask. “However, today, sustainability is a much highlighted issue with many companies scrutinising it at board level. Splunk has taken a leadership role in this arena with the release of a new toolkit that is a value add to our ‘data to everything’ platform. Splunk customers can use this toolkit to create visibility of their carbon footprint, enabling them to investigate, detect and diagnose issues which in turn empowers with the information necessary to make better decisions around the environmental sustainability of their businesses,” says Ruinaard.
Francois van Hirtum, Chief Technology Officer of Obscure Technologies, highlights that through the company’s strategic partnership with Splunk, South African manufacturers can achieve decarbonisation targets in many different ways by leveraging the power of data. “Improved operational efficiency and enhanced visibility of the actual carbon footprint of businesses can be achieved, producing an informed platform for better decision-making,” says Van Hirtum.
Digitalisation of manufacturing has the highest potential to contribute to CO2 reduction.
According to the World Economic Forum, digital technologies could help reduce global carbon emissions by up to 15% through solutions in energy, manufacturing, agriculture and land use, buildings, services, transportation and traffic management.
Environmentally-friendly manufacturing: Obscure Technologies and Splunk can help manufacturers to correlate multiple data sources in complex production environments, saving energy and protecting the environment.
Efficient logistics: Globally, Splunk is pioneering efforts within automobile and aircraft manufacturing, helping increase logistics efficiencies and introducing ground-breaking new technologies.
Improved building and energy management: Obscure Technologies with Splunk can help large property asset operators to use data to deliver greater workforce efficiencies.
Optimised renewable energy production: In SA, the powerful combination of Obscure Technologies and global leader, Splunk, can assist the renewable energy industry do more to ensure assets are running as expected.