Atos and WWF partner up to leverage technology to support biodiversity conservation

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Atos and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have announced a 3-year strategic partnership to leverage technology to support biodiversity conservation and to encourage businesses to decarbonise. This comprehensive partnership has been designed to tackle three key priorities – business transformation, financing and influence – which are considered essential to effectively tackle the current biodiversity crisis.

As part of the partnership, four main initiatives are being rolled out, leveraging the expertise of Atos and WWF teams from all over the world.

– Automating biodiversity surveillance – The first project aims to bring automation to the monitoring of important ecosystems. Atos experts are working to combine the use of artificial intelligence to analyze satellite imagery with the development of algorithms which identify patterns over a given time period in order to identify irregular trends which might indicate a negative biodiversity impact. In the future, organisations will not only be able to identify the areas of greatest concern, but also benefit from predictive solutions for nature conservation. The first pilot, currently being developed, will analyse grasslands and savannahs in East Africa.

– Predicting & preventing epidemic risk – The second project focuses on predicting hotspots of emergence for zoonoses – diseases that jump between species, including humans. Atos teams are developing machine learning algorithms to analyze demographic, environmental, animal health and pathogen data, in order to identify patterns and predict the risk of new diseases. These solutions will complement existing surveillance systems by providing predictive data, to help governments and organizations anticipate and take preventive actions before the threat of an epidemic becomes a reality. A pilot is being developed to analyse data available in the Mekong basin.

– Improving tech tools – The third project aims at improving an existing solution known as SMART – a Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool – which is already used by 50,000 agents in 80 countries to support wildlife and ecosystem conservation. Atos experts are developing a streamlined, more efficient process with SMART’s IT team, to enhance its usability in the field. In addition, they are developing improved dashboards and visualization options to give users greater and more granular insight into their data. They are also enhancing SMART with a tool to support users working to shift ‘conflict to coexistence’, that is, holistically manage conflicts between humans and wildlife to create mutual benefits of coexistence.

In addition, Atos and WWF have envisioned to analyse every year, an industry which has a significant carbon footprint, to identify its main decarbonisation levers and provide recommendations to accelerate their decarbonisation efforts. The first report focuses on shipping, which accounted for around 80% of global trade by volume in 2022 and is reckoned to be responsible for around 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Since the publication of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee’s new greenhouse gas (GHG) strategy in July 2023, Atos and WWF teams have compiled the literature devoted to the decarbonization of shipping into a comprehensive report. They found that most research focuses on new fuels and ship design, initiatives that could take a long time to have an impact on greenhouse gas emissions. In order to provide sustainability leaders with a clear and more achievable mid-term roadmap, the research focuses on energy efficiency, operational levers and concrete use cases where digital technology can help the shipping industry decarbonize its operations.

Atos to support on-site WWF France biodiversity projects
As part of the partnership, Atos supports two carbon capture and restoration projects managed by WWF France:
– the Posidonia project, which aims to protect the meadows of Posidonia, a plant noticeable by its extensive capacity to stock carbon, in the Mediterranean region (mainly Turkey, Greece, France and Tunisia),
– the Nature Impact project for the conservation or restoration of forest biodiversity in France, using the approach developed by WWF based on Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES).

Kirsten Schuijt, Director General WWF, said: “The devastating impacts of climate change and nature loss are felt everywhere. This dual crisis requires urgent, innovative and scalable solutions. Technology, if channelled in the right way, has the enormous potential to help address some of the pressing challenges we face today. We’re excited about this new partnership with Atos as it will enable us to collaborate on advancing much-needed technological tools to support our efforts to stop and reverse nature loss at a policy level and in the field.”

Nourdine Bihmane, Deputy CEO Atos and CEO Tech Foundations, said: “We are excited to announce this strategic partnership with WWF which is in line with our respective ambitions and expertise. Atos has been committed for over 12 years to decarbonize its own operations as well as accompany its customers in their own efforts. I am extremely proud that our technological expertise is being put to work to accelerate decarbonization strategies and support WWF’s conservation practices and biodiversity projects worldwide.”

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