How the sewts Vision Aligns With Global Efforts to Combat Climate Change
Climate change is undoubtly the biggest challenge of our current time. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, the global temperature has been rising rapidly (Earth Observatory offers some interesting graphs here). All in all, there has been a temperature increase of 1°C so far.
The Paris Agreement from 2015 sets the goal of limiting further temperature increases to 0,5° at best and 1° as a maximum amount. However, when the progess was reviewed at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, only 8 out of 197 countries were reported to be on track to achieve their emission reduction goals. Especially in the last few years, there is also a case to be made that the Covid pandemic overshadowed the climate crisis, resulting in a delay of urgently needed measures.
With the climate change forecasts being more than dire, we need to draw the focus back on this issue. With this insight article, we want to share how global sustainability efforts align with our company vision and how automation and AI technology contribute to cutting emissions worldwide.
How can an AI and Robotics Startup help to stop climate change?
A lot of people might be unaware that the textile industry is the second most polluting one worldwide. Only the oil industry is more harmful. The environmental impact as well as the often unacceptable working conditions have been known for a long time, but even though there is a lot of green and fair fashion activism, it seems to not be enough.
We want to applaud everyone who is making a change, from the brands that decide to produce ethically, even if that means higher prices, to the individuals who decide to shop these brands, less items in total, or decide to go for second-hand clothing.
We think that technology is another puzzle piece to make garment production sustainable. This could happen by making garment treatment processes less polluting or developing more advanced recycling techniques, but also by making reshoring possible. It’s simply not a good practice to transport materials around the world (often in container ships that use harmful fuel oil) in order to produce clothing. The amount of carbon emissions that can be saved by more local production is huge.
Reshoring Textile Manufacturing
Recently, there have been more and more effort to “reshore” or “backshore” production processes closer to the markets. The reasons for this trend of “Glocalization” are of course sustainability efforts, but also the need to stabilize supply chains. Especially during the Covid crisis, this has become a major issue.
The main obstacle to reshoring is of course the cost of production in places like Europe, especially in terms of wages. This is where automation is key. With our technology, we enable efficient reshoring with a competitive price point.
In Germany, there’s already a good example of reshoring. In 2021, Fashion retailer C&A opened a highly automated garment factory in the German town Mönchengladbach. This factory mainly produces jeans, but is also meant to be an innovation lab for new and sustainable production practices. These types of factories are what the sewts technology will be enhancing in the future.
Other Ways AI and Automation Can Promote Sustainability
The potential uses of AI and automation technology to advance sustainable business practices include reshoring, but they also go beyond that. Here are some examples of the work other companies are doing:
- Making agriculture more sustainable: This is a mission that for example Iron Ox is working on. Their solution uses robotics and AI to give plants the optimal levels of sunshine, water and nutrients, reducing the resources needed significantly;
- Cervest is providing AI-based climate risk assessments for organizations and decision-makers;
- Brainbox AI is targeting wasted energy in commercial buildings by predicting and optimizing the use of energy in HVAC (heating, ventilating, air conditioning) systems;
- As seen at Angsa Robotics, robots can help to pick up even small pieces of trash to keep nature clean;
- Companies like AMP and ZenRobotics use robotics to improve recycling procedures, making sure more material can be repurposed;
- Ororatech uses AI to monitor forests and predict wildfires.
Automation and Social Responsibility
We can’t end this blogpost without a note on social responsibility. We believe that there’s no sustainability without social responsibility and we acknowledge that the increasing use of automation technology also comes with the need for change in the global workforce.
Nobody should have to do a job that requires them to repeat the same movement every day for decades. But, if these jobs are automated, we need to be prepared. A key factor for us is education. Through education we can enable people to take over more engaging, fulfilling work and create prosperity that is not achieved at the expense of the environment.
As automation technology spreads and as we grow as a company, we want to advocate for global education and draw attention to the need for education initiatives to make sure we’re prepared for this industrial change.