Sustainable business is not a choice, but a necessity. For Austria to become climate-neutral by 2040 as planned, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced from -36% to -48%, according to the latest report from the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). On April 21, 2023, the panel discussion “Data-driven sustainability” took place in Vienna’s Rathauskeller as part of the DSC DACH. The panel was hosted by Stefan Bauer from Sustainista and offered experts from various industries the opportunity to discuss AI applications for the sustainable development of their organizations.

Numbers, data, facts – use cases bring more

Marcos Moschovidis, Head of the Green Data Hub at Data Intelligence Offensive, brought the topic to the point: In order for companies to generate as much added value as possible from their data, practical utilisation in the form of use cases is indispensable.

Marco presented an example from the tourism sector, where a cross-industry consortium is using its data-driven collaboration to reduce the negative impact of mass tourism in busy tourist regions, while also reducing emissions and traffic congestion. He additionally outlined other use cases being developed in the Green Data Hub that underscore the sustainability aspect in the data service economy.

Standardisation of data is necessary

The standardisation of data is one of the challenges that Marco Moschovidis sees as an important task for the future. Severin Grussmann, Group Manager Analysis, Data Management & Reporting at Wien Energie also pointed out the temporal aspect of this. Even if the material resources are available, the implementation of the necessary processes needs sufficient time. Alexander Redlein, Univ. Prof. Dr. at the Vienna University of Technology complemented with learnings from the real estate sector. Here, questions about the use of vacant buildings or premises are currently particularly relevant.

Challenges and opportunities for the future

What has to happen in general so that corresponding sustainable solutions have a firm place in the future? Marco has a clear answer: data exchange must be transparent, traceable and interoperable – with clear consideration of data protection and legal regulations. Fortunately, the possibilities of AI for data collection are promising from both a quality and cost perspective. As a result, SMEs are gaining a different perspective on the future of sustainable projects that can be implemented more quickly with the help of data sharing.

The potential is there. We must and will use it properly.

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