How AI helps monitor sustainability for Supply Chain Law

VMany companies will have to create transparency about human rights and nature conservation criteria in their global supply chains in the coming years. Until now, companies have painstakingly collected this information from their suppliers using questionnaires. “If you look at how many regulations are published in different regions of the world and how many companies are obliged to fill out these questionnaires, the workload is enormous – and will only increase in the future,” says Jolene Ernesti, co-founder of the startups ecotrek, which now belongs to Ecovadis, the world’s leading rating agency for sustainability.

Ernesti is working there on a more intelligent approach: Instead of manual questionnaires, artificial intelligence is to automatically record and evaluate all available information on the sustainability of the company. The required information is often already available in the sustainability reports on the company’s website. The AI ​​therefore first fills out supplier profiles with all publicly available information, after which people only have to collect the remaining questions using the questionnaires in a second step. However, this process should not remain the same: “We are currently seeing that the amount of sustainability news is doubling every year,” reports Ernesti. In order to process this rapidly growing amount of information in the future, this process could be automated using new technologies in the future. AI solutions could, for example, use semantic search approaches to search documents more deeply for missing sustainability topics, or use live news monitoring approaches to include the news published by journalists or other people in the evaluation.

The episode is part of our podcast “Artificial Intelligence”. He explores the questions of what AI can do, where it is used, what it has already changed and what contribution it can make in the future. With Peter Buxmann and Holger Schmidt, the FAZ brought two proven AI experts on board for the podcast: Both research and teach the potential of AI and its effects on the economy and work at the Technical University of Darmstadt. Peter Buxmann holds the chair for business informatics and has been dealing with the applications of AI, digital transformation and data-based business models for many years. His podcast partner Holger Schmidt is a digital economist, speaker and author. His core topics are AI, platform economy and digital business models. In each episode, the two hosts take up a new aspect of artificial intelligence, explain connections and provide precise classifications. The episodes are around thirty minutes long and appear monthly on the first Monday.

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