Technology Record - Issue 32: Spring 2024

95 INDUSTRIALS & MANUFACTURING Microsoft Sustainability Manager enables organisations to record, report and reduce their environmental impact, as well as gain insights to inform decisions efficiently on computing hardware and can reduce the operational emissions associated with AI-based tasks. “Digital twin technology and AI tools can play a significant role in helping manufacturers establish a better connection between data and machines, increasing productivity and driving sustainability,” says Ladha. “Digital twins enable real-time monitoring and control, the ability to learn with AI and machine learning, and to autonomously update and improve systems and designs over time. “By using digital twin technology, manufacturers can create a virtual representation of their operations, allowing them to simulate, monitor and optimise their processes in real-time. This can help manufacturers to identify areas where they can improve efficiency, reduce waste and minimise their environmental impact.” Microsoft is working on addressing emissions with Imec, an international technology research and development organisation, which launched a research programme focused on sustainable semiconductor technologies and systems (SSTS). The SSTS programme has brought together stakeholders from the semiconductor value chain with the aim of decarbonising the supply chain and products. This programme helps to ensure there is life cycle analysis data available for future technologies’ emissions in chip manufacturing. Ladha says: “Our partnership with Imec is contributing to a new era of visibility and access to complex industrial data, crucial for advancing sustainability and decarbonisation in the semiconductor industry.” Research is a key aspect of a two-part carbon footprint reduction process that Ladha says manufacturers embark on. “The first step is to find out the largest sources of emission in the manufacturing value chain,” says Ladha. “This can be achieved by measuring emissions, which requires upfront investment in technology and creating a data foundation. The second step is to take action to reduce emissions. This can be done either by making investments in new equipment and processes or by offsetting emissions by investing in renewable energy. Microsoft provides solutions that help manufacturers leverage data and AI to improve their sustainability. “Ultimately, establishing a strong business case and investing in emissions reduction is crucial for organisations. Microsoft can assist manufacturers throughout their sustainability journey, from identifying and monitoring emissions to providing insights that enable them to take necessary steps towards reducing their carbon footprint.”