Chemical players are already leveraging technologies such as digital twin, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation to reduce resource and energy consumption. The availability of an infrastructure for data collection and machinery for production and emission control could accelerate their efforts multifold.
In this context, India's leading chemical industry experts spoke at the session, ‘Unlocking the potential of digital transformation for sustainability’ which was held on the sidelines of the 4th edition of Indian Chemicals Council (ICC) Sustainability Conclave held in New Delhi on November 17-18, 2022.
“At entry level of the value chain, there is a scope for reduction in cost and optimization. How we monetize the data to cut down the loss is important. The data touch points would include sales and marketing products and leaking to saving. Each stakeholder has to play well. Supplier to manufacturer to consumer, tracing the journey through data collection and optimization helps in translating benefits to consumers,” said Ranajit Sahu, Vice President - Strategy & Consulting, Accenture.
“Digital implementation can’t be just a part of the optimization but the entire spectrum. Management might list out their requirements. For the first set of stakeholders, digitalization could be just for visibility and they might not be interested in artificial intelligence and machine learning. However, for the second set of stakeholders with maturity, sensors are much in demand. Therefore, a phased approach to the requirements of clients is needed. From process optimization to equipment level and to plant level, there is a chance to correct the process,” added Sahu.
“Despite all efforts on sustainability globally, why isn’t the needle moving? What do we require to move forward?,” asks Ramnath Vaidyanathan, AVP -Good and Green, GILAC who believes that stakeholders must communicate with each other.
“As a company our role ends in product manufacturing. However, technology can help us to build awareness about sustainability among consumers and create solutions. Collaboration approach on sharing the information data and best practices would be helpful. Dissemination of information and technology sharing is important for building long-term sustainability initiatives,” added Vaidyanathan.
“It is a journey that is going to the future. We have achieved 33% reduction in emissions and the impact it creates on people is important. Our 25% of energy requirements will be met with sustainable options, from wind to solar,” said Prakash Raman, MD, Silox India.
“The 70% impact on the environment is coming from the textile market. Therefore, we need to pick and choose as we can’t influence the entire sustainability market spectrum. It is also important to pick and choose from a customer point of view,” added Raman.
“Technological innovations for process improvement and correcting the value for waste is highly required. It is equally important to engage and learn from customers and suppliers and vendors as it is high time that collaboration widens. Big players are investing heavily on this because value in sustainability comes as they collaborate with customers,” said Rupark Sarswat, CEO, India Glycols.
Sarswat shares a few examples: “Driver behaviour can be changed through technological modes offered by digital technologies such as AI and ML by finding out if they are irregular. Infrared rays can act as smoke detectors in factories. The integration of multiple technologies could help in connecting with more than 200 suppliers because there is a difficulty in monitoring information beyond a certain number. Digital technology could help in getting it on the time and in a transparent manner. To sum up, it is agile and nimble,” added Sarswat.
Themed as ‘Boardrooms to Community- ESG, Carbon Neutrality, Operational Safety, Greener Solutions’ the two-day conclave broadly focused on the topics such as ESG in Boardrooms: Vision and Strategies for value creation; Decarbonizing the Chemical Sector: Reflections to Actions Product; Stewardship: Going beyond Regulatory Landscape; Unlocking the potential of Digital Transformation for Sustainability; Exploring Green Growth Opportunities: Solutions & Technologies; Leveraging Cleaner Energy Transitions; Safety promotes Sustainability; Embracing Net-Zero Transition: Risks & Opportunities; and Session by UNEP -Plastic Pollution: Strengthening the Role of the Industry.
Various speakers expressed their views on climate, sustainable development and the steps that could be taken in this direction. CEOs and representatives of the Indian and global chemical companies, people working in EHS dept. in companies; Central and State Government officials, Pollution Control Boards, international multilateral organizations, Global chemical industry bodies and experts from Academia and civil society organizations are participating in the event.