Metaverse could provide real-world sustainability benefits

Metaverse could provide real-world sustainability benefits

Replacing physical goods with digital and virtual alternatives can generate benefits. The digital twins of the physical world created by the combination of the IoT (internet of things), visualization, and real-world data from a variety of sources will allow for new levels of optimization.

“The metaverse offers capabilities that are not limited by the physical world and that can be a strong trigger for things that companies are already trying to do,” says Thomas Müller, Digital Lead at EY-Parthenon EMEIA. “From testing, assembly and disassembly, to the development of new products and services, virtualization can enable faster creation of better results and user experiences, but with less real-world resource consumption,” adds Müller.

Digital products and virtual experiences in metaverse are likely to consume fewer resources and be more carbon efficient. As metaverse offerings become increasingly attractive, consumers can shift their limited budget allocations toward more sustainable virtual options, generating significant positive sustainability impacts.

“We can take as an example the flow of carbon embedded in the world of jeans trade, for example. If consumers have chosen to buy virtual jeans for their avatars instead of real jeans for their physical bodies, the savings of Coal and water could be substantial, “said Nicola Morini Bianzino, Director of Global Technology at EY.

According to Bianzino, if this type of replacement reduced the sale of physical jeans by 10%, CO2 emissions would be reduced by an amount equivalent to the annual emissions of almost 350 thousand cars. and water consumption equivalent to the cost per capita. annual average of more than 400,000 Chinese consumers. “Considering the different categories of consumer spending, the effects of substitution can result in carbon efficiency and substantial resources.”

new way to travel

Tourist and commercial travel, both air and land, can also be replaced by metaverse experiences. Air travel accounted for 2.5% of global emissions before the start of the pandemic – there was a halving during the period when there were restrictions in the world due to Covid-19. “Many shows are in the metaverse. Imagine the amount of travel they would have caused if they had been performed in the physical world,” he said. “While face-to-face interactions are still important, metaverse travel can replace many unrestricted trips.”

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The convergence of Artificial Intelligence, AR / VR (augmented and virtual reality) and IoT (internet of things) and satellite-generated data in the metaverse promise to elevate the digital twins. they help drive sustainability at the global level, across supply chains and manufacturing axes. to individuals.

The European Space Agency, for example, is working on a digital twin of Earth that will help visualize and predict the impacts of human activity on the planet, simulating various scenarios to inform policy makers. The project will start with major planetary subsystems such as Antarctica, the oceans, forests and climate.

Digital twinning of manufacturing and supply chain can drive material, process, energy, traceability and logistics optimization. Combining digital twins with agile manufacturing applications such as generative design and additive manufacturing has already occurred in many industries and can lead to significant reductions in waste and energy use.

“Perhaps the biggest sustainability opportunity for digital twins is in cities, where 70% of global carbon emissions occur. Construction operations – heating, cooling, lighting and the like – contribute only 28%. “It should double by 2060, the equivalent of adding an entire New York City to the world’s building every month for 40 years,” says Bianzino.

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