Monitoring Sustainability Trends With the Citibeats Platform
Along with violent conflicts, food insecurity, and inflation, the world is experiencing ever-worsening climate change impacts—from record-high global sea levels and temperature increases to unusual weather patterns and deadly extreme heat.
Despite the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warnings against exceeding 1.5 °C warming above pre-industrial levels, the world remains “woefully off track” of achieving climate goals agreed to in the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement and remaining below the threshold—which currently stands at 1.2 °C.
In an attempt to address the climate crisis, the United Nations (UN) released its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, 17 interconnected objectives aiming to promote sustainability and equity—from eradicating poverty and ending hunger to providing decent work and climate action.
However, many regions are failing to align policies with these ambitious objectives in the necessary 2030 timeline—setting up further planetary upheaval.
This comes as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned of a 50% likelihood the average global temperature will reach 1.5 °C in the next five years. As it stands, it is more vital than ever world leaders, governments, and policymakers make SDGs a top priority, and do so by leveraging informed, data-driven policies.
Emerging social understanding technologies enable unprecedented real-time insight into citizens’ most pressing concerns—from mobility and food insecurity to droughts and unemployment.
By collecting and analyzing unstructured data from social media, blog posts, forum discussions, and other social platforms, Citibeats generates real-time, contextualized insights on societal changes—viewable on a customizable dashboard.
As conversation topics increase in prevalence on these online platforms, Citibeats intelligently yields actionable data by country, region, date, and gender—among other identifiers—affording unparalleled insight into citizen perspectives as they unfold.
By leveraging this inclusive, representative technology, leaders can be empowered to proactively address climate inequities and warning signs, devise citizen-centric policies, and cultivate more trust with the public and hopefully reverse a concerning trend of increased apathy and frustration with public institutions.
As global warming continues to exacerbate, it has become more vital than ever that governments, leaders, and policymakers push sustainable initiatives that protect the planet and those most vulnerable from the worst impacts of climate change.
Global Crises Impact
How Global Crises Impact Climate Change
With an estimated one-third of food wasted yearly while those most vulnerable struggle with rampant food and water insecurity, it is clear that current systems of food production and consumption are not sustainable.
If the global population reaches 9.6 billion by 2050, as predicted, we would need almost three planets to sustain our current practices, the UN has warned.
It’s imperative we overhaul these detrimental practices and improve sustainability to better support long-term human, animal, and planetary health. When it comes to food insecurity, for example, we can optimize soil quality, protect biodiversity, employ organic production methods, avoid pesticides, practice animal husbandry, invest in sustainable packing, and more.
It is a well-known fact that Big Oil has wreaked irreversible havoc on planetary well-being, but the second-largest polluting industry has largely escaped scrutiny despite staggering levels of water consumption, significant carbon emissions, and exploitation of millions of child laborers.
The fashion industry is reportedly a $2.4 trillion industry and employs 300 million people—many of whom are women, migrants, and children. Its environmental footprint is similarly massive, as it’s responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, 20% of wastewater, and consumes more energy than aviation and shipping combined. If left unchanged, it will produce 50% more greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, the UN projects.
With 60% of clothing comprised of plastics that disrupt marine life when washed, fast fashion particularly exacerbates environmental effects by mass-producing runway trends at low cost and neglecting to recycle or utilize sustainable textiles. For instance, while it requires 8,000 liters of water to produce a single pair of jeans, they are often thrown away after only 10 uses.
Facing calls to promote a more circular fashion economy and create “greener” clothing, it is evident that an overhaul of the fashion industry—along with other high-emission contributors—is warranted in the race to implement more sustainable global practices.
The Race for Sustainability
The Race to More Sustainable Processes & Policies
While numerous companies have pledged net-zero targets—the process of removing carbon emissions at the same rate in which they’re added to the atmosphere—few have made substantial headway.
Mitigating carbon emissions is a critical piece of addressing the climate crisis given its direct impacts on global warming. As greater carbon concentrations enter the atmosphere, the warming effect traps noxious gases, yielding unnatural weather patterns, extreme heat, and other intensified climate change impacts.
Although several developing countries—with historically low carbon emissions—have already achieved net-zero, more privileged nations such as Spain, France, Germany, and Canada have enshrined emissions-related declarations into law, but the results have thus far been underwhelming, according to the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit’s (ECIU) Net Zero Tracker. The United States, among other countries, the tracker notes, has yet to codify these pledges.
Already warming 1.2 °C from pre-industrial levels, the moment demands urgent transformation of global economies and emission reduction via alternative energy options.
While there has been some encouraging progress around electric vehicle (EV) sales in China and Europe, concerns about battery life within the general public threaten to imperil future growth and limit emission reduction.
These fears—dubbed “range anxiety”—were among the most common (35%) reasons why surveyed buyers remain hesitant about purchasing an EV, along with fast charging stations (37%), increased cost (33%), inability to charge at home (30%), and concerns about battery life (26%), reads an analysis from United Kingdom automotive company Kwik Fit.
In driving EV purchases and other emission-slashing initiatives, it is prudent world leaders and corporations leverage cutting-edge real-time data insights to assuage concerns, provide factual information about the emerging EV industry, or work with manufacturers to ensure consumer concerns are addressed.
Despite numerous pledges, corporations—like countries—have also fallen short of net-zero targets.
This profound misalignment of the public sector with citizen needs and the UN’s SDGs underscores the importance of structuring real-time feedback into corporate sustainability strategies.
The UN has recently recognized the role of such data, dubbing it “the lifeblood of decision-making and the raw material for accountability” in its analysis, “Big Data for Sustainable Development.”
“Today, in the private sector, analysis of big data is commonplace, with consumer profiling, personalised services, and predictive analysis being used for marketing, advertising and management,” it reads. “Similar techniques could be adopted to gain real-time insights into people’s wellbeing and to target aid interventions to vulnerable groups. New sources of data—such as satellite data—new technologies, and new analytical approaches, if applied responsibly, can enable more agile, efficient and evidence-based decision-making and can better measure progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a way that is both inclusive and fair.”
At this historic moment for humanity it is evident these data-driven innovations have transformative power in addressing each aspect of the multifaceted climate problem.
Citibeats: Contextualized Sustainability Data for Societal Impact
When rivers are polluted, new legislation is enacted, or mobility is hindered, affected populations respond and discuss these issues online via social media platforms, blogs, forums, and more.
In these conversations, they discuss opinions about sustainable packaging that doesn’t pollute their fishing waters, how new policies affect their rights, or how landslides have been more common in certain regions than in others.
As societal changes unfold, those living with them are most connected to the experiences—from air quality fluctuations and energy shortages to unemployment spikes and adverse working conditions.
The evolution of cutting-edge technological innovations makes it possible to view real-time trends regarding these crucial public questions and concerns as they unfold.
Social understanding tools such as Citibeats ethically source and interpret millions of unstructured data in real time. These include concerns about an election candidate’s sustainability policies voiced via blog, questions regarding water shortages fielded through a forum discussion, and myriad other pressing issues.
The platform’s sophisticated natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) technology fields constant streams of this unstructured data and analyzes it for patterns and anomalies—monitoring both macro- and micro-narratives based on the content.
The self-learning algorithm intelligently makes associations as it collects more data by the second—yielding highly specific, contextualized insights on a streamlined dashboard that users can customize by region, gender, and more.
These insights have truly transformational impacts by enabling complete understanding of contextualized sustainability narratives in real time.
Decision-makers can leverage this specific feedback to create impactful, inclusive, and necessary environmental solutions: devising alternative energy campaigns in response to evolving EV concerns, developing policy initiatives to support educational learning deficits, or proactively protecting those most vulnerable to climate change-spurred natural disasters.
The list goes on.
As humanity approaches a threshold that would spur numerous unavoidable climate disasters, it is now or never to make necessary changes.
Through data-driven strategy, communities can respond to and anticipate the constant flux of environmental changes in real time—protecting the vulnerable, adapting as necessary, and safeguarding the future.
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