Technological innovation happens at hyper speed – maybe so fast that many of us have failed to notice and appreciate the gains of sustainability efforts in the last two decades.
- The first plug-in hybrid vehicle went on the market in 2010.
- White LED lights for homes became commercially available in 2002.
- In 2013, the cost of solar electricity in Australia reached half the cost of grid electricity.
The way we live today is vastly different from twenty years ago – not yet ideal but becoming more sustainable.
How to Promote Sustainable Technology and Green IT
If your business wants to do more toward a more sustainable world, consider these tech-related ways to promote sustainability.
1. Use cloud computing
Cloud computing can reduce your energy consumption by consolidating IT resources into more efficient, shared data centres. This helps reduce carbon emissions as many data centres now use renewable energy sources. It also helps reduce electronic waste because of fewer physical IT assets and equipment.
Some side benefits of cloud computing are lower operating costs, improved efficiency, scalability, and better data security.
2. Use energy efficient IT products.
Did you notice the Energy Rating Label on computer monitors? The more stars you see, the more energy efficient the monitor is. The label is not mandatory for computers and printers in Australia, but you can still find or ask for energy efficiency information for the computers or peripherals you intend to purchase.
3. Buy computers that use recycled materials.
The Australian Government supports sustainable procurement, including for IT products with recycled materials, such as: glass in monitors and TV screens, plastic in keyboards, metal in electronics, lithium in batteries, plastic and aluminium in mobile phones, AND printing cartridges.
While you’re at it, you could also purchase these office products with recycled components: acoustic panels, desk trays, floor cable covers, partitions, and furniture.
4. Support green IT companies.
Forbes came out with a list of tech brands that have a significant focus on sustainability, including Microsoft, HP, Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, Dell, and ASUS.
For 2023, Microsoft is aiming to have 70% of their data centres to run on renewable energy. Another target is to be carbon negative by 2030. The company also introduced Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability, a solution to record, report, and reduce environmental impact in your business.
5. Recycle your e-waste.
Your business can recycle computers and electronics:
- Contact your local council to find out about recycling drop-off points.
- Take your recyclables to a local electronics store that offers recycling services.
- Use Australia Post’s mail-back recycling service for your computer hardware.
- Ask the manufacturers of your computers and electronics about their recycling programs.
To prepare your IT hardware for recycling, make sure you remove any batteries from your devices, delete all files, and format the hard drive to ensure there is no personal data in the devices.
Utilising Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Boost Sustainability
With artificial intelligence becoming more widespread, some companies are now using AI in contributing to sustainability. Get inspiration from these:
United Parcel Service (UPS)
Package delivery company UPS uses their AI-powered ORION (On-Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation) system to optimise delivery routes. It saves them 10 million gallons (almost 38 million litres) of fuel each year and reduced their carbon emissions by 100,000 metric tonnes.
Retail giant Walmart utilises AI to identify produce that’s starting to go bad. They use technology that relies on cameras and sensors to monitor produce, then algorithms help to identify spoilage. Store staff can remove such produce from their shelves before going bad – contributing to sustainability as well as efficiency.
AI-driven Business Sustainability Strategies
Depending on the industry or business processes used, companies can also use AI for:
- Predictive equipment maintenance
- Transportation and logistics optimisation
- Energy efficiency optimisation
- Monitoring and reporting emissions
- Supply chain analysis and tracking
Benefits of Supporting Sustainable Technology
On top making this planet a better home for all, your business can benefit from your sustainability activities in the following ways:
You can reduce downtime and improve employee morale at the same time.
You can have more outputs from less inputs, while using less energy, less water, and less of other resources.
You can save on energy, water, and waste disposal costs.
Better brand reputation
You can attract more customers and investors, plus boost loyalty from your employees, partners, and other stakeholders.
You can avoid the penalties and fines from non-compliance with regulations. (Check your state regulations for more details.)
Grants and awards
Ready for Tech-Driven Sustainability?
There’s still a long way to go, but it’s inspiring to see how much has already been done. As businesses continue to transition to a more sustainable economy, here are some tips if you are eager to do more:
- Start small: Don’t try to do everything at once. Start by making small changes, such as switching to energy-efficient light bulbs or using recycled paper.
- Get involved in your community: Look for organisations in your area that are working to promote sustainability. Get involved in your community and support these organisations.
- Educate your employees: Your people are a key part of any sustainability effort. Educate your employees about sustainability and get them involved. Develop a culture of sustainability in your organisation.
- Make sustainability essential: Include sustainability among your considerations in every project and in making decisions. Engage all your stakeholders so they can also contribute to your efforts.
- Be patient: Remember, it took decades for sustainable development to snowball. Results will not happen overnight. Little changes, when done often, can slowly chip away at the goal.
If you are seeking a partner, ONGC is an IT solutions specialist that advocates sustainability. We can help you with implementing sustainable technology solutions. If you want to learn more about digitally transforming your business toward sustainability, contact our IT experts today.
For more useful resources that can help your business keep up to date, visit our Resources section.