Sustainable Technology: Notion, Benefits, Examples
A sustainable approach to doing business is becoming an increasingly important issue today. No matter what industry companies operate in, more and more of them start searching for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. The reasons for that include consumer demand for “greener products” and governmental regulations nudged by international agreements.
In the tech industry, the negative impact on the environment has always been considered in the context of hardware implementation. The growing number of data centers that emit much heat during computing operations and the increasing production of various gadgets and appliances obviously require ecological assessment. Meanwhile, software development has always been considered as the factor that diminishes the environmental footprint.
Taking a closer look at the software development industry, it becomes clear that digital software and services require much hardware equipment to operate and consume large amounts of electricity. Therefore, if IT companies build software without sustainability in mind, it can be as harmful to nature as other industries.
In this article, we’ll have a look at what sustainable technology is, which companies build their digital solutions sustainably, and how embracing sustainable technology helps effective business development.
What is Sustainable Technology?
Software applications can be considered as a part of the ecological problem or as a part of an ecological solution. To build environmentally friendly applications, IT professionals have to consider a sustainable technology approach in their software development.
So, what is the exact meaning of sustainable technology? Sustainable technology is when software developers build modern applications aligned with the idea of sustainability. It means that the created digital solutions meet green technology benchmarks, such as:
- Development process has a low environmental impact. For example, a software development company could at least partially switch to renewable energy sources in their work.
- Created software prologues devices’ lifecycles, minimizing the amount of e-waste. Statista says that there are over 50 mln metric tons of e-waste generated around the world each year.
- Developed software consumes less energy and requires less space. The Shift Project Report states that the energy consumption by digital solutions globally is growing by about 9% per year.
- Companies build software products that are more efficient and precisely satisfy their business needs. It means that companies create custom products with the features they entirely use in their work, with no extra or unexploited functionalities.
Examples of Sustainable Technology Implementation
While for some companies building sustainable software is a matter of the future, a wide range of world-known businesses already strive to minimize their impact on nature. Here are some examples of how companies implement a sustainable technology approach in practice today.
Providing its services to tens of thousands of people every day, Walmart thinks about how to operate more sustainably. For this, the company has undergone some significant digital transformations and is searching for ways to innovate more.
For example, Walmart utilizes IoT technology in their shops. The robots scan shelves and ensure that they stay stocked. This allows Walmart to reduce energy wastage and improve its customer experience. Another step Walmart has done is to start offering their clients quick online services, e.g. Mobile Express Returns and QR code scanning. This allows customers to use the services quicker online instead of spending their time and stores energy waiting in lines for a shop assistant’s attention.
The idea of sustainability is supported by manufacturers as well. IndustrialML uses the latest smart technologies such as IoT, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning to upgrade production lines. Massive automation allows for speeding up manufacturing processes, reducing industrial waste, and controlling the emissions and footprints released by factories and plants.
IndustrialML has already helped many factories in Vietnam, Japan, India, and other countries to reconsider their views on the manufacturing process and make their approach more informative and less carbon footprint.
Microsoft, one of the leading software providers, also searches for ways to minimize negative effects on the environment by helping other businesses to become “green”. For this, the company attempts to improve energy efficiency and waste reduction by promoting serverless and open-source software. Both types can reduce the cooling and conditioning processes across data centers, making them radiate less heat.
Another Microsoft initiative is to add power management features to its products, to ensure a more smart energy consumption on devices such as hard drives and monitors. Given this, Microsoft continuously experiments with the latest technologies such as Artificial Intelligence to improve the environment and make the digital industry more sustainable.
Benefits of Embracing Sustainable Technology
Adopting sustainable technology offers diverse advantages to companies from various business niches. Here is how companies can benefit from building their digital solutions green.
- Improved business output. A technology-upgraded workflow allows companies to better control their energy consumption and raw material use. With smart workflow automation, businesses can better optimize their production and significantly cut down on expenses.
- Top talent engagement. It’s not only customers who seek greener services and products. The potential employees can also consider companies on how green they are. Those businesses that strive to become greener have to adopt the latest tech advancements. This, in its turn, attracts tech-savvy employees who are willing to contribute to the company’s development.
- Increase in customer traffic. Customers place high demands on companies today, requiring them to use green energy and cut their wastage in product manufacturing and the offered services. According to the Xerox Corporate Social Responsibility Report, businesses that promote green initiatives grow 28 times faster than non-green companies.
- Becoming socially responsible. Governments as well as customers require businesses to become socially responsible. This way, for many businesses becoming eco-friendly is the next logical step that will allow them to stay effective and competitive in the market. Moreover, becoming a trendsetter in eco-movement helps many businesses to become leaders in their industries supported by society.
Today, we’re facing a crucial moment in history when people and businesses have to decide how to cut down its devastating effect on the environment. It’s a matter of several decades and the pollution consequences will become irreversible. Therefore, everyone from large businesses to stand-alone individuals has to be very conscious about their carbon footprint minimization.
The good news is that the steps toward sustainable technology embracing is an ongoing process today and many companies have already adopted this approach in their work. If you’re also thinking about implementing advanced technologies in your software to make your working processes less wasteful and greener, we’re ready to help you with that.