New software suite from IBM uses AI to help companies solve climate related risks

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IBM has launched a new market category, environmental intelligence, bringing together climate science and business operations.

The new suite of environmental intelligence software leverages AI to help organisations prepare for and respond to weather and climate risks, better assess their impact on the planet, and reduce regulatory compliance and reporting complexity.

“Companies are facing climate-related damage to their assets, disruptions to supply chains and operations, as well as increasing expectations from consumers and investors to perform as environmental leaders,” says IBM.

“Extreme weather, climate action failure and human-led environmental damage were cited as the top three most likely risks for businesses over the next ten years in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2021.”

The company says businesses need actionable environmental insights to address these challenges, but current methods are often cumbersome and complex, requiring intensive manual labour, climate and data science skills, and computing power.

The Environmental Intelligence Suite aims to help companies manage environmental risks and operationalise underlying processes, including carbon accounting and reduction, to meet environmental goals. The suite takes existing weather data from IBM, advanced geospatial analytics already in use by companies worldwide, and innovations from IBM Research.

The offering is the first to bring together AI, weather data, climate risk analytics, and carbon accounting capabilities in this way.

The IBM Environmental Intelligence Suite SaaS solution is designed to help organisations:

  • Monitor for disruptive environmental conditions such as severe weather, wildfires, flooding and air quality and send alerts when detected.
  • Predict potential impacts of climate change and weather across the business using climate risk analytics.
  • Gain insights into potential operational disruptions and prioritise mitigation and response efforts.
  • Measure and report on environmental initiatives and operationalise carbon accounting while reducing this reporting burden on procurement and operations teams.

The suite delivers environmental insights via APIs, dashboards, maps, and alerts, which can help companies address immediate operational challenges and longer-term planning and strategies.

IBM gives a few examples of how the suite could be used, such as helping retailers prepare for severe weather-related shipping and inventory disruptions or factor environmental risks into future warehouse locations.

Energy and utility companies could determine where to trim vegetation around power lines or which critical assets may soon be at greater risk from wildfires due to climate change. Or it could be used to help supermarkets get a clearer picture of how refrigeration systems are contributing to their overall greenhouse gas emissions and prioritise locations for improvement.

“The future of business and the environment are deeply intertwined,” says IBM AI Applications general manager, Kareem Yusuf, PhD.

“Not only are companies coping with the effects of extreme weather disruptions on their operations, but they’re also being held increasingly accountable by shareholders and regulators for how their operations impact the planet.

“IBM is bringing together the power of AI and hybrid cloud to provide businesses with environmental intelligence designed to help them improve environmental performance and reporting, create more efficient business operations to reduce resource consumption, and plan for resiliency in the face of climate disruptions,” he says.

The Environmental Intelligence Suite can be integrated with IBM’s broader software portfolio for additional efficiencies across business operations.

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