How data is driving sustainability in food retail


By World Economic Forum

As the global community continues to deal with the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, several governments are investing in green energy packages to help rebuild their economies. Buildings are responsible for 40% of global energy use, making them a crucial starting point for the Green Restart – an initiative to accelerate the pace of economic recovery and generate sustainable growth, by working together towards a decarbonized future. Internet of Things (IoT) technology, which connects devices that collect data and communicate to the cloud without human intervention, is poised to play a key role in tracking energy use and identifying synergies for building smart, integrated energy systems.

Our world is becoming more data driven, and we can see examples of this embedded in our everyday lives. Chances are, either you or someone you know has been collecting data on their health with a fitness tracker for years. But why stop there? By setting up an IoT sensor system, we can take data-driven action to transform your local food retailer’s sustainability through proven reductions in food losses and energy savings.

Food retailers poised for sustainability transformation

Food retailers are uniquely positioned to be active contributors in the fight against climate change. The grocery retail sector accounts for 2% of the electricity used globally – even more than data centres, according to the IEA – which means that implementing energy and asset-monitoring solutions across stores can make a significant positive difference at scale.

Sustainable supermarkets also play a key role in developing solutions for a global food system that is currently under pressure. Such supermarkets can help deliver on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which aims to “halve per-capita global food waste by 2030.” One-third of all food produced today is either wasted or lost, even as world hunger is on the rise. In industrialised countries, 40% of food is lost at the retail and consumer level.

Refrigeration costs energy, but is critical for preserving the foods we all rely on. The challenge for food retailers is, therefore, to maintain the quality and safety of our food using the least amount of energy possible. This is a difficult balance to achieve through traditional energy management and manual service checks. The solution is IoT monitoring, which ensures equipment is performing smoothly and consuming as little energy as possible, all the while reducing food loss.


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