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Can AI unlock the conscious consumer?

COP28 isn’t just about defining tomorrow’s rules of the game. It’s also about how we shift demand patterns from consumers towards the low carbon choice — whether it’s how we travel, what we eat and the brands we give our loyalty to.

According to a Bain survey, 96% of US consumers believe the climate is changing and 50% consider sustainability as one of the top four considerations when shopping. However, sustainability information in products and services isn’t always easy for consumers to find, and businesses need to do a better job in making this information accessible, transparent and easy to understand.

Google has committed to empowering individuals to take action. People turn to Google for answers on how to live more sustainably, with Search interest in terms like ‘electric vehicles,’ ‘solar energy’ and ‘thrift stores’ reaching new highs globally over the past year.

In other words, we are empowering individuals with the context they need to help make more sustainable choices. Our core products helped more than 1 billion users make more sustainable choices in 2022.

One example is fuel-efficient routing in Maps which gives travelers the option to choose the most fuel-efficient route if it’s not already the fastest one — since launching in October 2021, it’s estimated to have helped prevent more than 2.4 million metric tons of CO2e emissions — the equivalent of taking approximately 500,000 fuel-based cars off the road for a year.

Another is consumers harnessing Bard and Google Search to quickly educate themselves on sustainability without needing to be experts in the topic.

With the dramatic advances in AI, businesses too now have the opportunity for AI to bring a new level of transparency behind the products and services they create for consumers.

This is important if they are going to unlock the demand signals needed for rapid decarbonization across supply chains. This means quantifying the environmental and social impacts throughout the supply chain of a product or service and making it easily accessible to consumers.

Fortunately, the drive for supply chain transparency has coincided with a digital transformation of supply chains. Organizations are investing in large-scale digitization, big data, real-time data, automation, data intelligence and machine learning to cut costs, optimize performance and build resilience. This is opening up a unique opportunity to add transparency into the scope of this transformation — often with the same foundational solution and architecture.

This is why we were so excited to launch our Data and AI Cloud for Supply chain at Google Cloud Next ‘23, which is enabling exceptional customer experiences, reducing costs and carbon, and bringing insights into the far ends of the supply chain with conversational, intercompany search.

We’ve also seen partners building exciting solutions on Google Cloud harnessing AI to address supply-chain challenges. For example:

NGIS and Textile Exchange have partnered to expand the Materials Impact Explorer, powered by Google Cloud, helping fashion brands make sustainable sourcing choices;Gevo and Google Cloud have partnered to measure and verify the efficacy of next-generation biofuels across the supply chain via full-lifecycle sustainability data tracking;Atlas AI and Engie are reshaping energy access in Kenya, boosting solar access with analytics; andRecykal built Asia’s largest circular economy marketplace powered by CircularNet and Google AI. CircularNet is Google’s open-source machine learning model for waste management.

On top of innovating in the supply chain, the additional benefit of running workloads on Google Cloud Platform is that it’s carbon aware. Google Cloud Consulting advised on Uber’s sustainable engineering initiatives that saved an estimated hundreds of thousands of kilograms of CO2 per year using Active Assist recommendations.

For decades, Google has been in the forefront on moving the needle in sustainability. Today, rapid advances in technology are enabling new levels of transparency, helping consumers make better decisions and strengthening the market pull for low-carbon transformation. We encourage you to talk to our sustainability representatives and understand how your organization can apply data analytics and AI to achieve a sustainable future.

We’ll be blogging throughout COP28; follow along here.

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