Business strategies for achieving sustainability goals beyond the cloud

Business strategies for achieving sustainability goals beyond the cloud

Guy Long, Senior Cloud Advisor at Cloudreach, discusses the importance of partnering with organisations that prioritise sustainability and who put forward innovative solutions to help drive sustainable change. 

Guy Long, Senior Cloud Advisor at Cloudreach

Businesses in 2023 are becoming more sustainable and managing their decarbonisation efforts to reach net zero, beyond shifting workloads and data to the cloud. 

Technology is playing a critical role in helping organisations make strides towards net zero, with 58% of organisations that digitise their operations reporting more success in green initiatives. While businesses are increasingly moving their data to the cloud in order to reduce energy consumption, this is only a first step towards achieving sustainability goals. Taking responsibility and adopting sustainable practices is key in order for progress to be made and real changes in the environment to take effect. The first step of transferring data to the cloud should act as a catalyst for future transformation and long-term responsibility.

In light of global climate change, it’s essential for businesses to understand some of the common sustainability initiatives they can take. Here are three below. 

1. Taking a comprehensive view of your IT/digital function

As businesses face increased pressure to run their operations sustainably, IT and digital functions remain a major focus. Assessing the sustainability impact of these functions involves looking at energy use, emissions, water use, waste and resource consumption. By having a comprehensive overview and understanding of this information, organisations can make more informed decisions about where they might find potential sustainability gains. 

Organisations have several strategies available to them when it comes to making their IT and digital more sustainable, such as implementing energy efficient technologies, engaging employees in sustainability initiatives and shifting to sustainable procurement practices. These are some of the functions that have a big impact on organisations’ sustainability efforts. 

In an increasingly eco-conscious world, sustainability should be prioritised across IT and digital functions.

2. Recycling old IT equipment

Recycling IT equipment has several benefits for a company. Most notably, decommissioned electronics do not wind up in landfills. Recycling unused IT equipment ensures that valuable raw materials are reused instead of thrown away.

There are many ways to recycle IT equipment. One option is to sell it to a certified e-waste recycling company. These companies will disassemble the equipment and recycle the valuable raw materials. Another option is to donate the equipment to educational institutions or non-profit organisations. These organisations can use the equipment for their own purposes or they can resell it to raise funds.

Before recycling IT equipment, it is important to remove all data from the devices. This can be done by physically destroying the data storage.

3. Joining forces to achieve the same goals

As businesses increasingly look for ways to reduce their environmental impact, they should turn to their suppliers to help them achieve their sustainability goals. One of the ways businesses can work with their suppliers to reduce their environmental impact is by moving workloads to renewable power sources.

In addition to working with suppliers to move to renewable power sources, businesses should also seek out tech partners that put forward innovative solutions which will help drive sustainable change. By partnering with companies that are developing new technologies to reduce environmental impact, businesses can be at the forefront of sustainable change.

When businesses are looking for tech partners, certain steps should be taken to ensure environmental sustainability. Companies must determine whether their partner’s goals are aligned with net zero as well as their own sustainable goal. Are they investing in clean energy? How progressive are they when it comes to their mission on achieving sustainability goals? How will their solution help achieve our goals of achieving net zero? It’s impossible to achieve 100% net zero, but partnering with tech firms that hold similar values and ambitions is an important start. 

The time for change is now

As businesses strive to operate in a more sustainable way, it is important they take a systems-based approach that looks at the interactions between different parts of a system, sector, or society. This means that businesses shouldn’t just focus on one aspect of their value chain in isolation. Instead, they should strive to influence their suppliers to move workloads to renewable power sources and work with partners who put forward innovative solutions to help drive sustainable change. Additionally, businesses should look at IT/digital/technology areas as potential sources of sustainability improvements. For example, by using data and analytics to improve resource efficiency or by introducing new technologies that can help reduce emissions.

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