BlogDigital Transformationinnovation

How retailers can use AI to drive sustainability and profits simultaneously

Outside of profit, we are seeing a whole new driver for adoption of AI as there’s a growing realisation of its use for retailers to become more sustainable. The added benefits are that AI can make decisions that achieve sustainability and profits at the same time.

PWC research revealed that using AI to make decisions about environment-related areas could boost more than $5 trillion to the global economy over the next 10 years. The retail sector also has opportunities to gain from AI to drive change by reducing waste and especially with regard to perishable goods or seasonal products.This will save time and money from wasted stock and journeys involved with moving and storing items. 

Going green

Although most industries and their respective job positions rely on staff having relevant experience, it needs to be understood that with use of  technology, reading data is much more effective and accurate. AI and machine learning provide a tangible way for retailers to start reducing their carbon footprint and impact on the environment which is another driver for the change to AI.

A “Win-Win” situation 

Sustainability is not the only starting point when looking at becoming greener, as using AI for better decision making can also result in greener behaviour. An example of this would be the use of AI to ensure that the perfect amount of each item is ordered so that there is a reduction in waste especially with perishable goods. Usually with perishable goods once the shelf-life comes close to expiry, retailers are forced to reduce the price to avoid waste. In essence,the outcome AI usage would be lower costs, lower carbon footprint, more revenue and increased sustainability.

The solution for long term benefits 

Getting the buy-in for certain sustainable initiatives is not always a simple task as the rewards are normally seen only in the long run. However, delaying on sustainability initiatives could lead to further complications. Once everyone gives the go-ahead they can proceed with such initiatives which will potentially drive sustainability and profits and deliver the projected benefits. For AI to be effective in meeting target ranges it will require the use of flexible algorithms which will lead to confidence in gaining the long term.

Excerpt from


Leave a Reply