How Technology Is Improving Sustainability In The Automotive, Agriculture, and Healthcare Industries
Technology has a way of advancing rapidly, and forward-thinking industries are leveraging it to do good for both their customers and the planet. In recent years, we’ve seen green-minded companies use technology in three main ways—tracking resource use and emissions, improving sustainability practices, and reducing waste.
Agriculture Industry Has Potential To Reduce Pollution By 70%
The world’s agriculture systems and food production activities require a great deal of energy to transport, process, package, and store foods. These activities contribute to climate change, thanks to the use of fossil fuels.
The world’s population is growing, and that means the demand for food is increasing as well. At the same time, there are new concerns about how we produce our food — namely, how it affects the environment.
9 billion by 2050
The world’s population is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, up from 7.6 billion today. But that number could be even higher if more people in developing countries can afford a Western-style diet — one that includes more meat than we currently consume on average. According to recent estimates from the Worldwatch Institute, if all of those people became carnivores who ate at least 70 pounds of meat per person annually (the U.S. average), total global greenhouse gas emissions would increase by nearly 30% above current levels by 2050. That would be bad news for our planet because animal production accounts for roughly 15% of all global greenhouse gas emissions each year — more than transportation does, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
But technology is helping us solve these problems too. Precision application equipment can reduce the amount of water and chemicals needed to operate today’s farms and advanced technologies like robots.
How Technology is Making Cars More Sustainable
The automotive industry is the second-largest industrial sector in terms of global energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Globally, transportation is responsible for almost one-quarter of all energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and 80% of those emissions are from passenger cars.
As a result, many companies are working to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their sustainability. Some have found success with electric vehicles, while others have found success with hybrid vehicles. However, more and more companies are turning to technology to improve their sustainability efforts.
Here are some examples of how technology is helping make cars more sustainable:
Electric vehicles (EVs): EVs are powered by batteries that can be charged through various methods including solar panels on homes and businesses or at public charging stations. EVs use less energy than traditional gas-powered cars because they don’t need an engine and transmission system to move them forward when they accelerate or brake. This means that EVs don’t burn gasoline or diesel fuel like traditional cars do which makes them much cleaner for our environment compared to traditional vehicles.
Healthcare Leaders Drive Change in Sustainable Practices
The healthcare industry has historically been slow to embrace environmental sustainability as a key initiative, but that is beginning to change as companies see sustainability as a way to reduce costs, cut waste, and improve health outcomes by eliminating toxic chemicals, thereby improving long-term health outcomes.
The trend toward environmentally-friendly products
The trend toward environmentally-friendly products in the healthcare sector is also driven by consumer demand. According to a recent survey by the National Coalition of Healthcare Consumers (NCHC), 75 percent of consumers said they would be willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products when shopping.
Healthcare providers are also responding to these trends by incorporating “green” equipment into their facilities. For example, hospitals have begun using green building materials such as bamboo, which reduces carbon emissions and energy consumption compared with traditional wood products; installing solar panels or wind turbines on roofs; running on green energy sources such as solar or wind power; and recycling or reusing materials wherever possible.
Should we care?
It’s interesting to see how technology plays such a role in each of these fields. It doesn’t just make an existing product or system more efficient—it creates entirely new solutions that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. We’re still learning how to make sustainable solutions a part of not just our economy, but also an integrated part of our lifestyles. It will be very interesting to see where we are in five, ten, and twenty years. Are you looking forward to a future where sustainability is the norm? Why or why not?