Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is getting more and more important every year, becoming an indispensable element of every organization’s activity. The issue of environmental responsibility, which is one of the key elements of a CSR policy, is drawing a lot of interest. Is modern business eco-friendly? And what role do environmental issues play in the IT industry?
It is slowly becoming impossible to find a brand that has not yet included in its strategy activities that are part of the eco-trend. This is influenced not only by customer expectations but also by dynamically changing legal requirements and regulations.
World leaders are committed to protecting ecosystems and stopping the ongoing destruction of the environment. Such a transformation in the business world means that there is no more room on the market for the environmentally ignorant, and businesses must not only be eco-friendly but also educate the market about this issue.
Caring for the environment does not require a revolution. By taking small steps and paying attention to our daily activities, each of us can contribute to a better future for our planet.
IT is eco-friendly
The increasing energy consumption of the IT industry in our increasingly digitized world is already a fact. That is why the impact of IT on the environment has become such a “hot topic”. Its popularity is further increased by industry giants setting new eco-trends. Google itself intends to use only zero-emission energy sources by 2030, while Microsoft is testing a hydrogen-powered data center.
Technology and sustainability simply must go together. And it is precise as a result of this combination that the term “Green IT” was created, referring to green IT solutions that reduce energy consumption and waste, as well as carbon dioxide emissions.
While the comprehensive and eco-friendly approach to selling IT solutions is becoming increasingly important, sustainable IT is still not a priority for most organizations. As shown in Capgemini’s report “Sustainable IT: Why it’s time for a Green Revolution for your organization’s IT,” only 43% of executives are aware of the carbon footprint of their organizations, and only 18% have a comprehensive sustainable development strategy with well-defined goals and deadlines for introducing eco-friendly measures.
A couple of steps towards sustainable IT
As organizations are making increasing investments in digital technologies, the carbon footprint of IT companies is growing. It is expected to reach 20.5% in 2025. To lower it, technology companies should take a step towards sustainable IT. This means not only taking an environmentally responsible approach to the design, use and disposal of computer hardware and software, but also taking a responsible approach to the mining of rare metals used in the making of IT hardware.
However, the effort is going to be worth it. Companies that raise to this challenge, in addition to having a positive environmental impact, will also benefit financially. As shown by a survey conducted by Capgemini, customers are willing to pay as much as 5% more for sustainable products and services than for their non-environmentally friendly counterparts.
What are some real opportunities for IT companies to reduce their carbon footprint?
Ensuring that their equipment is disposed of properly and in an environmentally friendly way and that recycled plastic is reused to build new devices.
According to a report prepared by Capgemini, as many as 89% of organizations recycle less than 10% of their IT equipment.
Measuring the energy impact of the not yet released applications (their development and testing) on the environment and streamlining applications by identifying and reducing the production and use of the most energy-intensive ones.
According to Capgemini, only 19% of companies measure the energy impact of their application development process in the development stage, and only 21% of companies do so for application development in the production stage.
Using only energy-efficient data transfer mechanisms that guarantee better bandwidth utilization. A good example of this is the use of edge computing that enables enterprise applications to be closer to data sources such as the Internet of Things (IoT) devices or local edge servers.
Gartner analysts estimate, that by 2025 as much as 75% data is going to be processed outside traditional data centers or the cloud. And according to Orbis Research, the value of the global edge computing market is expected to grow to $8.96 billion by 2023 alone, growing at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 32.6% in the coming years.
The use of cloud computing allows you to run many different applications on a single server, thus reducing the number of servers used, reducing power consumption, and making it easier to cool machines.
According to Accenture, if the world shifted from on-premise IT solutions to cloud computing, total annual IT-related carbon emissions would drop by as much as 5.9%.
Building green data centers, powered with energy from sustainable sources and cooled with rainwater. This solution is good not only for the environment but also for customers. It makes their bills, and consequently TCO, smaller.
According to an analysis by Mordor Intelligence, by 2025 alone, the value of the green data center market is expected to reach $181 billion, where as recently as 2019 it was estimated at just $53.19 billion. That represents an annual growth rate of 23.01% in 5 years.
Sustainability is one of the key elements of CSR policy and a trend that is certainly going to dominate the IT industry in the coming years, partly redefining it. According to the European Commission representative Colette Maloney, who is also Head of the ICT Unit for Sustainable Growth, the ICT sector is playing a key role in reducing its carbon footprint. By using modern solutions, it is also doing the most for reducing the negative impact of the economy and society on the environment. That is why we are seeing a transformation leading to the recognition of the role of the technology sector as a leader of change in the implementation of sustainable development principles. It is worth remembering that this transformation is undeniable and irreversible and that the role of a leader comes with responsibilities.