New ABB study on industrial transformation unveils critical relationship between digitalization and sustainability

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ABB has released the findings of a new global study of international business and technology leaders on industrial transformation, looking at the intersection of digitalization and sustainability. Entitled ‘Billions of better decisions: industrial transformation’s new imperative’, the study examines the current take-up of the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and its potential for improving energy efficiency, lowering greenhouse gas emissions and driving change.

The goal of the new ABB research is to spur discussion within industry regarding opportunities to leverage the Industrial IoT and empower companies and workers to make better decisions that can benefit both sustainability and the bottom line.

“Sustainability goals more and more are a crucial driver of business value and company reputation, and Industrial IoT solutions are playing an increasingly important role in helping enterprises achieve safe, smart and sustainable operations,” said Peter Terwiesch, President of ABB’s Process Automation business area.

“Unlocking insights hidden in operational data holds the key to enabling literally billions of better decisions throughout industry and acting upon them, with significant gains in productivity, reduced energy consumption and lower environmental impact.”

The study, commissioned by ABB, found that an organization’s “future competitiveness” is the single greatest factor – cited by 46% of respondents – in industrial companies’ increased focus on sustainability. Yet while 96% of global decision-makers view digitalization as “essential to sustainability,” only 35% of surveyed firms have implemented Industrial IoT solutions at scale.

“The International Energy Agency estimates that industry accounts for more than 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions today,” said Terwiesch. “If we are to reach climate objectives such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, industrial organizations need to implement digital solutions as part of their sustainability strategies. Embracing these technologies at all levels – from the boardroom to the facility floor – is key, as every member of the industrial workforce can become a better decision-maker when it comes to sustainability.”

ABB is committed to leading with technology to enable a low-carbon society and a more sustainable world. Over the past two years, ABB has reduced greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations by more than 25%. As part of its Sustainability strategy 2030, ABB expects to be fully carbon neutral by decade’s end and to support its global customers in reducing their annual CO2 emissions by at least 100 megatons by 2030, the equivalent of removing 30 million combustion cars from the roads each year.

ABB’s investments in digital capabilities are core to this commitment. With more than 70% of ABB’s R&D resources dedicated to digital and software innovations, and a robust ecosystem of digital partners, including Microsoft, IBM and Ericsson, the company has established a leading presence in Industrial IoT.

The ABB Ability portfolio of digital solutions enables a host of industrial use cases to power improvements in energy efficiency, resource conservation and circularity, including condition monitoring, asset health and management, predictive maintenance, energy management, simulation and virtual commissioning, remote support and collaborative operations.

To continue the conversation on this important topic, ABB will host an industry webinar on Wednesday, March 2, focused on the convergence of digitalization and sustainability, and how the Industrial IoT and related technologies can help save energy, conserve resources, and improve safety for personnel and communities.

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