Peak talks sustainable retail at WIRED Smarter 2019

By Marlee Briscoe on November 11, 2019

Peak was once again present at the annual WIRED Smarter conference at the end of October, held at Kings Place in London.

The one-day event is dedicated to exploring the future of business, welcoming a large gathering of technology enthusiasts and business leaders whilst showcasing some of the industry-advancing tech that is helping to shape the future of sectors such as retail, finance, and security.

We had the pleasure of sponsoring this year’s event, presenting a talk on artificial intelligence (AI) for sustainable retail and treating the lucky attendees to our famous Peak AIPA beer at the event’s evening drinks reception.

As an event Knowledge Partner, our CEO Richard Potter delivered a 15-minute keynote presentation on the retail stage. He covered one of the conference’s hottest topics, explaining how AI can help modern businesses to drive both sustainability and profitability by leveraging more value from their vast amounts of data.

Sustainable retail has been a major talking point for a number of years, but now more so than ever. Customers are demanding more and more transparency from the brands they choose to shop from – in fact, 93% of global consumers expect the brands they use to actively support social and environmental issues.

Here are some of the key takeaways WIRED Smarter attendees learnt from Richard’s talk:

  • Consumer attitudes are changing: the public care about reducing plastic usage, paper and reusable bags, recycle/repair schemes, ethically-sourced materials, and restrictions on returns
  • Despite this shift in attitudes, £12.5bn worth of clothes still ends up UK landfill each year, while 13m tonnes of CO2 are emitted by UK retailers annually
  • Brands are now having to take action and promote sustainability, at a time when the retail market and economic landscape are turbulent, and profitability across the industry is being squeezed
  • Maintaining profitability whilst also delivering on the consumer promise of sustainability is no easy task, but AI is helping retailers to achieve both elements by enabling smarter processes and improved efficiencies
    • AI supports profitability, with AI-driven retailers growing 30% faster than their non-AI peers, with 50% higher profit margins
    • AI also supports sustainability, with optimized processes leading to environmental gains – such as fewer returns, a reduction in waste materials, lower emissions, and reduced carbon footprint
  • Just a 5% reduction in wastage, achievable with AI, could save £625m in UK landfill wastage and 15,000 tonnes in saved materials

If you’d like to find out more about Richard’s talk, you can view his WIRED Smarter presentation slides here.

After the talks had finished, it was time for a well-earned beer, with the Peak team trying our hand at bartending! Here are some of the best pictures from our evening drinks reception, where we served up our delicious Peak AIPAs…

Attendees could enjoy a beer after Peak's talk on sustainable retail

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