Corporate sustainability — consideration for the environmental and social impact of business practices — is a leading priority for many organizations. Now many of those firms are enlisting artificial intelligence (AI) to further their sustainability initiatives.

In a new CIO MarketPulse research survey from Foundry, 82% of the participating IT and business decision-makers indicated that they expect AI to positively impact their organization’s sustainability efforts. The most likely improvement would be in the supply chain, said 64% of the respondents.

“Digitizing documents, data deduplication, and process automation can all work together, optimized by AI, to generate efficiencies that shrink your carbon footprint,” says Jeff Healey, vice president of analytics and AI product marketing at OpenText.

The Foundry survey results support his premise: 57% said AI will help them transition from paper to digital; 56% said AI will assist in deduplicating data, thereby reducing data volumes and the required storage infrastructure; and 50% said AI will help reduce power utilization.

Eliminating paper is essential to improving sustainability, for reasons that go beyond just reducing use of paper, which requires trees, water, and energy to produce. In businesses where paper must be filed away, often off-site, electricity is used to run the storage facility and fuel is used to transport files to and from it. This process not only consumes energy but also impacts office workers’ time. By putting information at workers’ fingertips, digitization reduces energy use and eliminates these processes.

But digitization is just the first step.

“Efficient use of digitized data requires enterprise content management, in which data is not only cleaned and deduplicated but also tagged with metadata so that it is both trustworthy and available on demand,” says Rita Jackson, senior vice president of product marketing at OpenText.

Organized data speeds up workflows, says Jackson, because it is ready for leveraging AI to increase the efficiency of searches and to automate processes. The OpenText Aviator Intelligence (Magellan) platform can spot and even predict process inefficiencies, she notes, helping an organization economize on computing and storage hardware and thereby reduce power consumption.

Developing code more responsibly (45%) also registered interest among the Foundry survey respondents. Here, AI can help programmers write code faster and create software that uses IT infrastructure more economically. “You will use less hardware when you optimize using AI,” Healey says.

The advent of generative AI (GenAI) creates even more possibilities. GenAI tools such as OpenText Aviator can take over report writing in many cases, conserving employees’ time and effort. This, in turn, conserves the use of computing and data storage resources.

Another benefit: All these steps will give you a good story to tell when interviewing job applicants. Many of today’s workers care deeply about sustainability and are knowledgeable about carbon footprint issues. “Companies are finding that when they hire talent, candidates really do care about the company and its sustainability message,” says Jackson, adding, “When they learn that your organization shares their concerns, they are likely to become more enthusiastic about joining the company.”

Learn more about how OpenText AI solutions can help you reach your sustainability goals.