Tech-driven sustainability innovation in retail and F&B


October 31, 2022 | By 123

Tech-driven sustainability innovation in retail and F&B

Tech-driven innovation is shaping sustainability in every industry including retail and food. Mounting political pressure on corporations, customer demands for climate-friendly products and record levels of investment in climate tech all play a role in driving sustainability innovation. Each industry is affected by multiple trends and innovations, and every climate tech and green innovation is likely to disrupt several industries.

With growing value chain volatility, efficiency in retail is fundamental and artificial intelligence (AI) more accurately monitors and reduces scope 3 emissions.

A large amount of retail emissions are scope 3 indirect emissions in their supply chain, making the industry one of the leading emitters in this class. While scope 1 covers the direct emissions from sources owned by a company, and scope 2 focuses on the emissions from electricity and heating or cooling sources they buy, scope 3 is particularly complex to manage since it involves a system, much of which is beyond the retailer’s direct control. Technologies including AI can help monitor the system’s carbon footprint, forecasting and reducing emissions by optimising internal operations and those of external partners.

Meanwhile, a systemic change towards a circular economy could help reduce waste without compromising care. Food consumption and production habits are at the heart of Environmental, social and governance (ESG) growth with vertical farming and lab-grown meat leading the way.

The global food system is feeding 7.9 billion people and generating a third of global GDP. But at the same time, it places a hefty burden on the environment, creating more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to deforestation and species extinction. New approaches to agriculture and eating, including vertical farming and lab-grown meat, can reduce the amount of water and land required to produce the same or greater amounts of food. This decreases the need for long-haul transportation, chemicals and pesticides. Cultured meat, requiring less energy and water than traditionally farmed meats can create significantly fewer emissions.

Sustainability is a complex, interconnected and evolving topic that requires constant evaluation. The pace of innovation is increasing, ESG inclusion is becoming fundamental and tracking the complex ecosystem’s development is essential. It’s important to continue to unpack these topics, Bain & Company recommended, exploring a multidimensional approach to innovation strategy, start-up ecosystem engagement, venture capital investing and business building.

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