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One of the most transformative forces on the horizon is Generative AI (Gen AI), poised to bring about profound changes in both business and sustainability initiatives. According to our latest research, Nordic companies have already recognized technology’s role in sustainability projects. One great example is Cognizant Ocean in Norway.

If someone had asked me a year ago about technology trends, I would have said cloud, multi-cloud and sustainability. Now, after a period with the fastest-pacing market changes I have ever witnessed, Gen AI is on everyone’s mind.

No wonder; Gen AI holds the promise of revolutionizing industries. The technology is a significant leap forward when it comes to going from automating repetitive patterns to automating non-repetitive patterns. Among other things, it will enable companies to automate innovation processes, transform the role of developers and radically transform various business models.

Deep Green research on sustainability

What about AI’s role in sustainability then? Philip Smith, who is leading Cognizant’s sustainability practice, worked with Oxford Economics to survey 3,000 executives on how data, technology and collaboration will drive sustainability in business, resulting in the Deep Green report.

According to the research, 58 percent of respondents have implemented AI/ML technologies to improve environmental sustainability. 75 percent name that investment effective or highly effective.  However, to achieve tangible results, companies need to capitalize even more on emerging technologies; AI/ML, advanced analytics, automation and blockchain. 

Compared with other parts of the world, however, Nordic leaders are more likely to recognize the key role of tech, data and analysis in advancing sustainability projects according to the research. They are also relatively advanced in using demand/supply simulations or virtual models to improve environmental sustainability, while there are some concerns regarding the maturity of technology, processes and skills in sustainability data management and analytics.

A majority still focuses on internal operations because it’s easier than looking outside company walls. To move beyond company walls, my conclusion is that we need another level of data and analytical mastery. Many have underinvested in building the data foundation; it’s still a labor-intensive and error-prone area that calls for consolidation and automation.

Cognizant Ocean utilizes data

An ongoing initiative, where data is the glue that holds together a holistic sustainability approach, is Cognizant’s initiative to reshape the ocean. Fronted by my colleague Stig-Martin Fiskå in Norway, Cognizant Ocean in collaboration with Tidal, emphasizes the importance of operationalizing sustainability rather than merely reporting on it.   

Focusing on aquaculture, shipping, offshore renewable energy and carbon sequestration, Cognizant Ocean will enable businesses to connect data and gather valuable insights to improve decision-making. AI, including Gen AI, can play a pivotal role in collecting and analyzing data from the entire supply chain, leading to reduced emissions and more efficient operations. It could for example be about monitoring marine life's health and feeding activity, with underwater perception and robotics, to reduce the environmental impact.

In conclusion, Gen AI holds immense promise in empowering sustainability initiatives across industries – from revolutionizing business models to tackling environmental challenges. As we enter a new level of unpredictability, I believe in allowing the new tools to become partners rather than hindrances to development. Sure, there are challenges to overcome – including trust issues, intellectual property dilemmas and ethical concerns – but companies that hesitate to adopt Gen AI risk falling behind.

To learn more, please visit our Gen AI section or Cognizant Ocean.

Mats Johard

Country Manager, Cognizant Sweden

Mats Johard

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