Can you shrink your carbon footprint even while your business grows?
3 powerful ways technology could reduce your environmental impact and support your business ambitions
The technology sector isn’t always painted as an innovator or leader in environmental matters, but that’s beginning to change. The advances in cloud, a wider adoption of video conferencing, and more careful disposal of old kit, could start to add up to some big lumps of carbon savings.
So why then are most corporate environmental targets seldom met in full? One explanation is the obvious corporate narrative: ‘We’ll go green as long as it’s not costing us any money.’ But that kind of narrow focus misses the point. Besides having to meet stringent environmental regulations, business today shares some common challenges — they want to reduce IT costs, increase operational efficiency, and better manage their technology lifecycles.
A new way of looking at business … and the environment
For me, it’s exciting that here at Dimension Data is the way we tackle innovation is enabling our clients achieve all three of these challenges, with the added benefit of reducing our environmental impact. Transforming your business model can benefit the bottom line and the planet. It just requires a bit of imagination, commitment, and a clear plan.
A few simple changes in business behaviour, and streamlining IT infrastructure, can have a profound influence on your environmental impact and, more compellingly, protect the planet for generations to come.
Here are three ways technology could shrink your carbon footprint:
① Moving to the cloud to shrink energy usage. In the 90s and early 2000s, if a company wanted a buy a new computer system they’d typically expect to house the kit in their own data centre and have exclusive use of the hardware. Not anymore. Organisations willing to change their ownership model and get access to the latest versions of software without ever having to pay for an upgrade, can now do so through the cloud — a sort of central megastore for hardware and software — shared by a number of like-minded companies.
A cloud solution can save on energy and reduce pollution in building and shipping kit, as well as minimising support costs to maintain and operate the systems. A shared data centre needs fewer machines to reach an equivalent capacity, so the hardware works smarter. Our research shows a single server moved to the cloud could save a net average of 4,000 kWh a year for your business.
② Video conferencing to shrink air travel. Many large global businesses have cottoned onto the potential for saving money and time by reducing air travel. Adopting a highly advanced video conferencing solution means people not only consume less energy but also add less pollution.
Innovative video communication and collaboration can prove to an efficient, reliable, and flexible solution for one-on-one meetings or larger team collaborations. Moreover, a telepresence solution can replicate a boardroom for a richer, more immersive experience. Our research shows that a single managed videoconferencing unit could save an average of 23,636 miles a year.
Besides the commercial and environmental benefits of video conferencing, there’s also the humanistic dividend. People get to spend more time at home with their friends and family, and live a healthier lifestyle.
③ Recycling old technology to shrink your e-waste. The careful disposal of obsolete equipment and technology is another side benefit of moving to the cloud, as clients will use less hardware going forward.
In the first financial quarter of 2015 alone, Dimension Data prevented some 26 tonnes of e-waste from our own facilities and those of our clients across the globe going to landfill. As our clients migrate to the cloud and look to manage their technology lifecycles more effectively, we’re always looking at ways to recycle elements of hardware no longer in use. It’s an area of constant focus for us and our clients.
Harnessing technology innovation
Technology has irrevocably changed the ways business operates today and how it consumes IT services. Our shared goal must be that this consumption doesn’t unnecessarily harm the environment.
The truth is that with the technology available today you can be a low-carbon business and a high-performance enterprise at the same time. It’s up to us to leave a eco-friendly legacy for the benefit of future generations.
Look out for our People, Planet and Profit annual report for Financial Year 2015 coming out in early 2016 for more on how we’ve enabled our clients to reach their environmental ambitions.