Key considerations for future growth
With the unprecedented growth and influence of the information technology (IT) sector, the importance of integrating sustainability practices cannot be overstated.
A paradigm shift is imminent, with industry leaders directing the charge towards incorporating eco-friendly strategies into their operations. One path to sustainability is through carbon neutrality. This requires companies to measure and account for their carbon emissions from every aspect of their operations, including energy usage to business travel.
Reaching carbon-neutral status is a significant milestone in any organisation’s journey. However, it’s not just about carbon offsetting; it’s also about fundamentally rethinking every aspect of business operations, from supply chains to energy consumption. It requires a holistic approach that encompasses innovative strategies, technological advancements, and a commitment to sustainability throughout the company. By embracing this mindset, businesses can pave the way for a greener future, foster positive change, and inspire others to follow suit.
A greenhouse gas assessment can even consider less-obvious elements like cleaning services, software, and stationary. The baseline established through this process can inform future sustainability strategies and help organisations track their progress.
The ongoing assessments ensure that businesses remain carbon-neutral beyond a single financial year. This continued effort is essential for driving long-term, systematic change. However, this isn’t a journey that companies need to tackle alone. Partnerships with like-minded organisations can help reduce emissions across the supply chain and operating ecosystem. This shared responsibility for sustainability will ultimately help the business reduce its own emissions, too.
IT companies can look to several additional operational changes to enhance sustainability. For organisations that are situated on premises, opting for renewable energy sources and using electric vehicles for deliveries and transportation can considerably shrink their carbon footprint. Embracing recycling and using sustainable alternatives wherever possible can also make a significant difference. These changes can come in the form of substituting plastic packaging with recycled cardboard or even harnessing rainwater for sanitation and gardening.
Shifting to cloud-based services can be a helpful move because these providers are usually better at energy management and cooling. To take it a step further, businesses can modernise their applications, which can take more time and effort; however, these have much smaller footprints than traditional applications, which can result in further emissions reductions.
While moving to the cloud can provide numerous benefits, it’s not a magic bullet for sustainability. Responsible consumption of cloud resources is critical, as the ease of access and use can inadvertently lead to waste. Continuous monitoring, measurement, and education about sustainable IT practices are crucial.
Embracing sustainability within the IT sector will undoubtedly be a demanding and complex challenge, requiring a shift in mindset, commitment to accurate measurement, and a willingness to innovate. However, the potential benefits—a healthier planet, improved brand reputation, and a more engaged workforce—make it a journey worth taking. By learning from the experiences and insights of industry leaders well into their sustainability journey, companies can create significant changes today and work towards a more sustainable tomorrow.
This article was first published in TechDay New Zealand on 6th September 2023, by Gordon Brownell