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Intelligent Automation and Carbon Footprint: The Role of Intelligent Automation in Reducing Emissions for the UK Government.

In an era where environmental sustainability is of paramount importance, the public sector in the UK is actively seeking innovative solutions to reduce its carbon footprint. One such solution gaining traction is Intelligent Automation. This technology, called initially Robotic Process Automation (RPA), is designed to enhance efficiency and reduce costs, and has an often-overlooked environmental benefit. In this article, we will explore the pivotal role of automation solutions that combine robotic efficiency and cognitive capabilities to help the UK public sector significantly lower its carbon emissions and contribute to a greener future.

ABP has recently also gained our ISO 14001 certification as we realised that many of our clients and customers prioritise working with environmentally conscious organisations. ISO 14001 certification serves as a credible indicator of the company's environmental performance and commitment to sustainable practices.

ABP has also partnered with Greenr to collaborate on supporting clients, including government agencies, in advancing their ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) strategies.

In an era where environmental sustainability is not just a choice but a responsibility, at Greenr, we believe in harnessing innovative solutions to propel businesses towards a Greenr future. I see intelligent automation as a pivotal force in reshaping the landscape of carbon reduction and emissions management."

Gabrielle Bourret-Sicotte, Co-Founder - CEO Greenr

There are three areas where Automation can help to reduce carbon emissions of public Sector agencies as listed below:

1. Enhanced Efficiency

Intelligent Automation leads to improved efficiency, outperforming human counterparts in repetitive tasks. The reduction in energy consumption is important to note, especially as Intelligent Automation solutions reduce the need for conventional office infrastructure associated with such tasks—no screens, trackpads, laptops, or desks. This heightened efficiency not only streamlines operations but significantly reduces the carbon footprint of businesses through a reduction in electricity and gas consumption.

2. Task Prioritisation

Intelligent Automation can step in to prioritise workforce time and effort providing data insights and trends which can improve workforce efficiency. By reducing redundant and non-impactful work, employees can focus their time on projects that have the most business impact, minimising extra spend and time items such as travel, computer usage, cloud runs, and virtual machines, further contributing to energy emission reduction.

3. Error Reduction

Another advantage of Intelligent Automation is the reduced risk of errors. This translates into a reduction in the waste of resources and energy, making a meaningful reduction in a company's carbon footprint. The reliability of Intelligent Automation in error reduction is a direct contributor to sustainable business practices.

Real-Life Examples of harnessing the power of Intelligent Automation in reducing emissions:

ABP has worked with several public sector organisations in the UK that have already adopted solutions like Intelligent Automation with impressive results:


Cabinet Office:

The recruitment transformation program started using robotic automation for the background check process in order to speed up and streamline their recruitment process. They now have four fully automated processes enabling them to complete these checks 70% faster and more accurately than before.

This saves time and resources and contributes to lower emissions by reducing the need for physical documents and storage.

National Health Service (NHS):

The NHS employs intelligent automation to streamline administrative processes, such as appointment scheduling and billing. By reducing manual paperwork and enhancing process efficiency, the NHS reduces its carbon footprint.

Enhanced Clinical Documentation: ABP is helping NHS Trusts automate clinical documentation processes by extracting relevant information from electronic health records (EHRs), medical notes, and diagnostic reports. By automating data entry, documentation coding, and record updates, automation helps clinicians focus more on patient care and less on administrative tasks, leading to improved productivity and satisfaction.

ABP are delighted to be working with NHS England in helping achieve their commitments to net zero targets, and this reflects the NHS's dedication to environmental sustainability, public health, and social responsibility. By deploying Intelligent automation to reduce carbon emissions, improve energy efficiency, and promote sustainable practices, NHS England is demonstrating leadership in addressing climate change and building a healthier, more sustainable future for all.

- Social Impact through Workforce Augmentation:

Contrary to misconceptions, solutions like Intelligent Automation augments the workforce, freeing up employees to focus on more strategic and socially impactful tasks. By automating mundane responsibilities, Intelligent Automation enables employees to engage in work requiring emotional intelligence, creativity, and problem-solving skills. This provides better workforce satisfaction as employees feel like their work is more valuable, creative and impactful. This also allows the UK government to hire employees with a wider skill set as some of the deep analytical tasks can now be completed using Intelligent Automation, allowing for greater diversity in the workforce.

- Governance and Compliance Assurance:

ESG compliance necessitates robust governance structures. Intelligent automation and AI assists in establishing and maintaining strong governance by ensuring strict adherence to regulatory requirements by reducing the risk of human error. Automated processes, equipped with compliance checks at every step, reduce the risk of non-compliance, showcasing commitment to robust corporate governance at any point in the process rather than the traditional yearly audit / snapshot approach.

- Guarding Against Greenwashing:

Transparent intelligent automation and AI implementation acts as a safeguard against greenwashing practices. Since Intelligent Automation demonstrate a measurable reduction in energy consumption and time spent on tasks by employees, the emissions saving can be third-party verified. This protects the UK government from greenwashing claims as the emission reduction is transparent and can be validated.

Challenges and Considerations:

While intelligent automation and AI offer significant potential for emissions reduction, challenges exist, including data security concerns, implementation costs, and the need for proper governance to ensure these projects align with sustainability goals.


Overall, intelligent automation and AI are powerful tools in the UK public sector's quest to to achieve its net-zero targets. By optimising processes, conserving resources, and promoting green practices, automation and AI not only enhance efficiency but also contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally responsible government. As the public sector embraces automation, it moves closer to achieving its carbon reduction targets and setting an example for ecologically conscious governance.


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