Humankind is deep in the race to decarbonize our planet and end our dependence on fossil fuels. This goal has never felt more urgent: from heat waves and wildfires to floods and severe storms, 2022 left us with the bitter taste of the escalating climate crisis.
Environmental sustainability was top-of-mind at CES 2023. There are great expectations for technology in the fight against climate change, and many companies are rightfully putting the environment at the forefront of their innovation agenda.
The world’s business ecosystems are recognising that this fight won’t be won alone. Cross-sector collaborations are bringing together a diverse range of perspectives, resources, and expertise.
Food waste is one of the largest contributors to our greenhouse gas emissions — about a third of all harvested produce ends up as waste. By improving cold chain logistics, OneThird is enabling growers, distributors, and retailers to work together to improve product shelf-life. Their shelf life prediction technology empowers businesses at all stages of the supply chain to make smarter decisions and directly reduce the amount of wasted produce.
Meanwhile, Patagonia and Samsung are collaborating to design a new washing machine cycle and filter that drastically reduces the number of microplastics released during the process. The combined use of the new cycle and filter is said to reduce the release of microplastics by 54% — ensuring they do not end up in our waterways. This technology has now reached the commercial stage and will be available in Europe in 2023.
Technology increasingly enables us, as consumers, to monitor our daily environmental impact. Our individual behaviour changes amount to large collective improvements in the health of our planet.
Two important dimensions of our wellbeing are our food, and our homes. GreenSwapp is an API that helps consumers to track, reduce, and communicate the climate impact of their food.
On the home front, Neoplants is building the first generation of bioengineered plants that fight air pollution indoors. Their first product, Neo P1, has been designed to capture and recycle the most dangerous compounds found in our indoor air.
Both Schneider and Samsung are unlocking ways for consumers to reduce their carbon footprint at home. Schneider Home allows you to easily monitor and control your home’s energy usage at the tap of a button. Similarly, Samsung debuted its Net Zero Home, where all household energy consumption is managed within a closed-loop system. By utilising SmartThings Energy, Samsung can manage the flow of energy throughout your home without waste, and leverage features such as AI Energy Mode to help optimise energy usage.
Although we often focus on individual consumption, smart energy and water use further up the value chain are critically important to make improvements at scale.
Crusoe Energy is capturing stranded energy and directing it to cryptocurrency mining and other energy-intensive computing activities. It’s no secret that blockchain and its leading use case, cryptocurrencies, require vast amounts of computing power to function; interventions by companies like Crusoe are a step in the right direction.
ACWA’s Clean Water Pathfinder is another one to watch. This robot can fit in a water pipe, without disrupting water flow. Their goal is to optimise water infrastructure, thereby saving millions of gallons of water as this precious resource becomes increasingly essential.
By virtue of being a consumer technology event, CES 2023 shone the spotlight on solutions that empower us to take responsibility for our own emissions and impact. However, it was heartening to see more cross-sector collaboration and industrial-scale solutions that are critical to driving real change. Sustainability will be a mainstay on the annual CES agenda, and for good reason: our planet and people need sustained focus to secure our future.