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Earth Day 2022's theme is invest in our planet. But, is going green affordable for low-margin industries like food retail?

Earth Day 2022 is focussed on the theme of ‘investing in our planet’. But, with the current rise in costs across multiple different industries, what does that practically mean, and can businesses actually afford to make greener choices?

It’s important to recognise that green investment is also shrewd business investment: it presents a clear financial benefit, with the World Economic Forum reporting there is a $10 trillion market opportunity for those businesses that can illustrate their work towards sustainability. But what about those organisations in tight margin industries, for example in the food retail sector, for whom large capital investments aren’t always viable? How do they properly invest in greener operations without putting themselves in difficult financial positions?

The truth is that going green doesn’t have to break the bank. At IMS Evolve, this ethos is what has driven our work with some of the largest supermarkets in the world to digitally transform the way in which their stores operate to make them more energy efficient, to decrease food waste, and all the while improve the retailer's bottom line. How do we do it? The secret ingredient is controls agnostic IoT.

In practice, an IoT solution needs to be able to integrate with a complex range of existing legacy and modern equipment from a variety of manufacturers (OEMs), many of whom use controllers with closed protocols or siloed monitoring systems – all while speaking a range of different data languages. This has traditionally meant that any digital upgrades for retailers looking to make their stores more energy efficient would also require costly infrastructure upgrades, whereby they would have to rip out existing machines and replace them with totally new systems. This is an expensive step, and one that, thanks to controls agnostic solutions like IMS Evolve’s, is a step of the past. 

An agnostic solution is one that communicates seamlessly across all levels and types of devices across the network. In layman terms, this means that they can collect data from and optimise any device, without the need for costly machine upgrades to the latest smart-assets or the need for additional hardware. This ‘plug and play’ approach can provide almost immediate energy savings at minimal start-up cost. Moreover, such solutions enable digitalisation of retail environments in its truest sense. Not only do they enable vast energy savings, but, with the right expertise and integration, they can also mitigate food waste from inefficient refrigeration assets, optimise lighting, heating, and air conditioning through smart software driven schedules, and enable remote maintenance regimes to reduce carbon emissions from engineers on the road.

Thanks to the latest advances in IoT technology, investing in our planet no longer presents an insurmountable financial barrier to the retail sector. If you’re interested in learning more about the work we’re doing with some of the world’s largest retailers to help them go green, reach out to speak to one of our experts!