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AWS customers use AWS to create sustainable solutions that impact climate change

AWS customers use AWS to create sustainable solutions that impact climate change

an image of a toucan bird sitting in a tree

The February issue of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change(IPCC), released its Climate Change 2022: The Impacts, Adaption & Vulnerability report, which warns that climate change “impacts are approaching irreversibility.” To create the report, hundreds of leading scientists contributed data and 195 countries agreed and signed on.

The report states:

Some losses are already irreversible, such as the first species extinctions driven by climate change … Other impacts are approaching irreversibility such as the impacts of hydrological changes resulting from the retreat of glaciers, or the changes in some mountain … and Arctic ecosystems driven by permafrost thaw. (page 10)

The hopeful part about that excerpt are the words “approaching irreversibility.”

It means, while the window is closing, we still have time to mitigate—and even turn around—major aspects and impacts of climate change. We must act now. That’s exactly what some Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers are doing—using AWS services to innovate in areas like tree equity, biodiversity, and waste reduction.

Ride-sharing that is environmentally friendly

2016 Volkswagen Group(Volkswagen), a customer of AWS, created MOIA to address the issue of fossil fuels & emissions head-on using its fully electric vehicle fleet. MOIA, unlike other ride-sharing services was founded without any fossil fuels. Volkswagen uses electric batteries to run MOIA’s custom-built, special-purpose vehicles.

MOIA Ridesharing

Today, MOIA ride-sharing is available in two German cities—Hamburg and Hanover. MOIA allows riders to order ride-sharing service. They can share their vehicle with up five others traveling in the same direction. The app’s user interface (UI) includes pick-up and overall trip times, stops en route, walking duration needed to complete the journey, and vehicle number.

MOIA was created by Volkswagen as a stable, affordable, and sustainable alternative for traditional ride-share companies. They built MOIA using AWS services, including Internet of Things (IoT) that powers the vans’ sensors and let MOIA collect data and continually improve performance. “AWS provides us with a variety of services we need so we can combine them together. We use a lot IoT. AWS IoT GreengrassTo have Lambda@Edge in the vehicle to collect all of the data,” says Moritz Siuts, director of engineering at MOIA. Volkswagen will pilot autonomous MOIA ride-share vehicles in Hamburg this year.

MOIA’s electric ride-share solution results in fewer cars on city streets and improves the quality of life in cities—local changes that contribute to global environmental impacts. It’s a model for the environmental slogan: “Think globally, act locally.”

Los Angeles tree program addresses climate change, shade disparity and other issues

Nature is the greatest enemy of climate change. For example, trees help to reduce climate change through carbon sequestration and air pollution reduction. This refers to any biological, chemical or physical process that naturally captures carbon dioxide from the air.

There are however inequalities in the U.S. cities regarding tree cover. Disadvantaged and low-income communities have 15.2% less tree cover and are 37.4 °F (2.7 °C) hotter than high-income areas. The Nature ConservancyLos Angeles helps to reduce this disparity through data and AWS support ArcGIS StoryMapsThis helps the city gain support for increasing tree coverage in underserved areas.

Los Angeles: Plant A Tree, Grow A Neighborhood | Climate Next by AWS

ArcGIS StoryMaps, a web-based story-authoring application, allows users to share their maps within the context narrative text and other multimedia content. The geographic information system (GIS) technology it’s based on is a spatial system that creates, manages, analyzes, and maps all types of data. EsriThe application was created by, an AWS Partner Network (APN Partner) Partner.

Werner Vogels, Amazon’s chief technology officer, created the Climate NextThis series will highlight AWS technologies that AWS customers use and AWS-supported initiatives to solve complex human problems. Climate Next featured The Nature Conservancy’s work to reduce tree disparity in Los Angeles.

According to The Nature Conservancy 83.6% of the population lives in urban areas. “If we want to make an impact on climate change in people’s lives, we have to consider how our cities are going to cope with the climate crisis that we are in,” said Tanushree Biswas, carbon program director at The Nature Conservancy. “Story maps allow us to transform complex science into actionable items.

Costa Rica has a model of ecosystem and biodiversity

Although Costa Rica accounts for only 0.03% of the Earth’s surface, it’s home to nearly 6% of the world’s biodiversity. The National Center of GeoEnvironmental Information (CENIGA) at Costa Rica’s Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) is a technical intelligence unit that uses mapping and modeling tools to integrate, standardize, and communicate Costa Rica’s environmental data.

an image of a toucan bird sitting in a tree

CENIGA collaborates with governments and scientists around the world to develop methods for identifying biodiversity patterns. This allows leaders to make better decisions about sustainable development in Costa Rica as well as worldwide.

The process begins with Earth observations (EO)—data about Earth’s physical, chemical, and biological systems. EO data can be used to monitor temperature and record rainfall trends. Satellite technology makes it possible for EO data to be captured using remote sensing. This provides a more complete picture that can be obtained from data collected on the ground.

However, a standalone EO cannot assess the ecosystem’s properties such as biodiversity and changes over time. The analysis also requires ecosystem service modelling, which uses geospatial to predict patterns in real ecosystems. Combining robust EO datasets and modeling allows for more accurate and relevant predictions about how ecosystems might behave and evolve. Accessing the EO datasets on AWS is the first step. The data can then be used to model ecosystem services using AWS Cloud technology.

CENIGA built their infrastructure on AWS AWS Promotional CreditsFrom the Earth Observation Cloud Credit Program. This is a collaboration between the Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative (ASDI)—a program that seeks to accelerate sustainability research and innovation by minimizing the cost and time required to acquire and analyze large sustainability datasets—and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO).

AWS creates immersive 3D shopping experiences

A 2021 Corporate Social Responsibility Survey found that 83% consumers believe that businesses should take responsibility for their environmental, social, governance (ESG), practices. Retailers are actively seeking ways to reduce their carbon footprints, and achieve net-zero emission targets within the next few years. Climate change is a major ESG issue. However, online shopping is increasing the need for extra packaging, fulfillment, transportation, and other emissions.

Each transaction in the chain of creating and selling products contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. The production of visual assets that support customer experience for retail and consumer packaged goods, such as photographs and models, involves transporting them to shoots and the shipping and disposal.

What if products didn’t need to be shipped, dressed, photographed, and retouched? What if 3D visualization could reduce returns by 40% and increase conversion rates for consumers?

HexaAWS Partner and expert in 3D commerce (AR) and augmented reality (AR), he is also an AWS Partner. The company provides retailers with 3D asset pipelines and AR features that allow consumers to experience immersive, virtual try-before-you buy interactions. These interactions enhance customers’ online shopping experience and help retailers and brands achieve their sustainability goals by reducing returns as well as reducing the unnecessary impact on physical product marketing.

Hexa uses AWS to convert almost any image into 3D models. Retailers can use the 3D images to overlay real-world environments (for AR) and provide 360-degree views on product pages. With a click, retailers can swap entire product sets, replace or modify colors, configurations, or even swap entire items.

Hexa’s sustainability-first approach helps its customers increase market share and sales, lower consumer acquisition costs, and reduce returns, while simultaneously reducing the environmental impact of online consumer purchases.

Find these—and other—examples of AWS’s commitment to sustainability throughout the year on the Climate NextAnd Sustainability Customer Stories pages.

The AWS SustainabilityYou can also find ongoing coverage on page. It currently includes a video fromClimate NextThis series highlights the work that Digital Earth Africa and ASDI do in Tanzania. Their climate data access has sparked a wave of tree replanting and management by the citizens of Tanzania’s biodiverse mangrove forest.

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