Using technology to analyse data can help businesses achieve their business goals as well as become more sustainable, according to IBM.
“I think we have an enormous opportunity to address the sustainability issues through technology and through the confluence of instrumentation, information and intelligence,” said John Granger, general manager of global business services at IBM Northeast Europe.
Granger's views contrast starkly with those at another IT giant, Oracle, whose board of directors recently voted against a shareholder proposal calling for the creation of a board-level committee on sustainability.
Granger was speaking at IBM ‘Smarter Analytics for a Sustainable Future’ Summit at Start in London. Start is a national initiative led by The Prince’s Charities Foundation to promote sustainable living.
“The world is increasingly instrumented,” said Granger. “There are sensors in everything. By the end of this year, it is estimated that there will be 30 billion RFID tags tracking everything moving in our world.” Granger believes that the growing number of sensors producing masses of data, and the ‘intelligence’ processing the raw data, is what is “driving the technological revolution”.
However, he said there were certain ethical and political issues that still need to be discussed about the large amount of information available, and how it is processed or used.
“Where are the boundaries in the use of information? How much information should we hold on individuals? Who should access and control information? How do we manage information in a more sustainable fashion?” Granger asked.
Meanwhile, Stephen Leonard, chief executive of IBM UK and Ireland, said: “It’s been said that capitalism and sustainability don’t go hand in hand. We disagree with that statement. Companies that do this [sustainability] well going forward will not only survive, but they’ll prosper and thrive. Those that don’t, it’s questionable if they’ll still be here in 10 or 20 years’ time.”