Innovation focus towards sustainability goals
With the start of a new decade, we get a first glimpse of Europe’s global competitiveness passed Horizon 2020. During the last decade, the European innovation ecosystem has come to maturity. Public and private companies worked diligently in delivering innovation at a faster pace than ever.
While technology was definitely the game-changer in the 2010s, a global shift to sustainability is about to take shape across multiple industries and will demand leadership focus in the next period.
2020 should be the year that sustainability is brought out from the darkness and into the light.Jonquil Hackenberg, C-Suite Advisory and Managing Partner at Infosys Consulting
Sustainability means to care for the environment while facilitating economic profitability and creating societal equity. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provides a framework to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The UN defined 17 goals, all interconnected, fighting poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, peace, justice as well as climate change.
Your sustainability goals? How are they going?
We like to help you navigate today’s challenging, fast changing and thus less predictable business environment. As we are convinced that (f)actual information leads to smarter business decisions, we decided to substantiate what might sound as New Year resolutions into a profound situational analysis.
We dive into specific segments of 3 traditional industries, embracing technology while overcoming sustainability challenges along their fragmented supply chain
- The fashion & textile sector
- The agricultural sector
- The maritime sector
Sustainable wearables, smart textiles and e-textiles
There is a strong push within the fashion and textile industry to make every phase of production more sustainable. Large sports apparel companies and big fashion brands are leading the way, investing in new technologies and new ways of doing business.
There is little to no focus on sustainability in the emerging segment of wearables, e-textiles and smart fashion. The domain is early stage and yet a relatively small market compared to the total textile and apparel industry. Today it is dominated by a few large corporations as Apple, FitBit, Garmin in the smart watch segment.
Tech Textiles is a front runner segment in sustainable textiles. Fibres made of recycled polyester, bio-based high-tech textiles, water-conserving dyeing and finishing processes, functional and work clothing, using little or no solvents and adhesives. When processing tech textile and flexible materials, more and more firms are adopting approaches to greater sustainability.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) urges the Maritime industry to contribute to reaching 2030 sustainability goals. The impact of shipping emissions on air quality has been profound and is perceived as a top priority to tackle. New emerging innovations like autonomous shipping are expected to reduce shipping emissions by enabling efficient fuel consumption.
Autonomous shipping is currently passing the hype phase as concrete pilots are being rolled out. Countries like Finland, Norway, Singapore, Netherlands and China are leading the way towards autonomous shipping. Rolls-Royce, Wärtsillä, Konsberg, ABB are pioneers in the development of it. Yara Birkeland, the world’s first fully electric and autonomous container ship, is a prime example of what the future of sustainable shipping could look like. But also tech driven startups as Seafar are entering the field.
Adopting and shaping new innovations to reach sustainability goals requires corporates, entrepreneurs, investors, funds and public agencies to collaborate, share knowledge and pursue common goals. The ONE SEA Autonomous Maritime Ecosystem is a good example of how the various partners collaborate to shape and accelerate autonomous shipping.
AgriTech and Sustainability
Sustainable agriculture is in essence the ability to produce enough food without damaging the environment, public health or economic profitability. There are numerous innovative companies in AgriTech that enforce sustainability. Trends as indoor farming, smart farming and agricultural robotics show a strong focus on reducing water usage, create less waste and becoming more sustainable. From evaluating soil health to managing water infrastructure, technology provides tools that help maintain healthy and environmentally-friendly yields with more precision and efficiency.
The agricultural sector is however a very traditional industry. The majority of farmers are not tech-savvy and not engaging with innovation. AgriTech companies are having a hard time to drive adoption. But the end user is become more eco-conscious, demanding more ecological solutions across the value chain of the food sector. Restaurants and supermarkets focus on waste management. Bikes and e-scooters are enabling food delivery in cities. Food retailers are investing in smart food packaging.
While the journey is still in its adolescence, developments in AgriTech are contributing to a more sustainable future.
Innovation Watching & Tech Scouting
For each of the sectors, we have created a business landscape, we mapped the key players, opinion leaders and events as a basis to continuously monitor what happens in those business environments. We encourage you to explore the industry landscapes online, to download the report and to provide us with your feedback.
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We Connect Data helps organisations navigate today’s fast changing and thus less predictable business environment. Access to (f)actual information leads to smarter business decisions. We therefore encourage organisations to systematically collect data, to establish data-driven business processes and to embrace collaborative platforms.