Sustainable technology solutions are a hope for a better tomorrow, but they are successfully used already today. The number of green initiatives for businesses is ever-increasing, and there’s no way out of carbon footprint reduction practices and corporate social responsibility in that regard.
Heatwaves, wildfires, and rising sea levels are detrimental to the natural environment, and things are getting worse year after year. However, the European Union aims to become climate-neutral and produce net-zero emissions by 2050, so appropriate actions have to be taken by particular companies, too.
On top of relieving the planet, sustainable solutions and practices can accelerate the company’s growth and help it reach some of its business goals. However, this requires a new mindset and ethical responsibility that underpins all actions and endeavors a company undertakes. Engaging in separate CSR programs or single green solutions may just not be enough.
The switch towards renewable energy is inevitable, and the faster companies implement sustainable practices that put the planet first, the better. But what exactly can green companies do in order to relieve it? Let’s see.
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Green initiatives for businesses in brief
The negative environmental impact of doing business can be – and often is – truly immense. Luckily, protecting the planet with technology is getting easier, cheaper, and more accessible, which makes more and more companies look for and implement new, or even innovative, solutions in this regard.
These solutions are diverse and proper for every business, niche, or specialization. They range from self-sufficient buildings, fuel-efficient devices, sustainable IT and transportation options, and reusable and recyclable packaging – to name but a few trending green initiatives.
Circular economy practices are executed by a growing number of companies. The circular economy can be boiled down to manufacturing and consuming products with the ideas of sharing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling them in mind. The bottom line of all such endeavors is extending the life cycle of products and reducing waste as much as possible.
Achieving sustainability is something worth fighting for – but what to start with? Which sustainable technology solutions are best, most useful, or beneficial? Let’s have a look at some of them.
Best sustainable technology solutions
Businesses should lead the way in implementing solutions that make the world a more sustainable place. Companies can gain a lot with green technology solutions – by being more self-sufficient, using raw materials more efficiently, saving money, and improving operations.
Mitigating problems that already exist and are detrimental to nature is one of the ideas behind sustainable technology. The other is finding ways to directly address environmental issues, e.g., carbon capture technologies that are to store carbon emissions from the atmosphere.
Sustainable practice 1: using recyclable packaging
There are many eco-friendly packaging ideas that let entrepreneurs use fewer resources, such as:
- printed shipping boxes and bags that can be reused for returns,
- eco-friendly packaging with recycled cardboard, gummed paper tape, corrugated bubble wraps,
- recyclable crinkle paper.
Packing peanuts made of corn starch – which is organic, recyclable, and even edible – can be a good alternative to popular Styrofoam. What’s more, there are mushroom containers (made of agricultural waste and mushroom roots), seaweed packaging, and... edible films used for wrapping food items available.
Using recyclable packaging can also enhance green supply chain management and the manufacturing process, making them more environmentally friendly. However, although the longevity of materials and the potential for further use should always be kept in mind, only 16% of plastic waste generated across the globe gets recycled.
Sustainable practice 2: eco-conscious product design
Recycling and reusing materials is praiseworthy, but why not just start from the very beginning – and reduce the use of resources (and thus the carbon footprint) when making products? It all starts with eco-conscious product design that is based on sustainable – biodegradable or durable – materials.
Some of the notorious examples of products designed with sustainability in mind include recycled, and sometimes even edible, plates and cutlery, bamboo toothbrushes, clothes made with the use of plastic, and even biodegradable furniture.
With the EU alone generating 2.2 billion tonnes of waste every year, these advancements are something of growing importance.
Sustainable practice 3: maintaining green data centers
Data centers may increase global power consumption, but using hardware optimally – in terms of energy, cooling, and floorspace utilized – is something public cloud providers excel at. Significant power, e-waste, and cost reduction are something data center assets consolidation can bring businesses of various sizes.
But what exactly is a green data center? Well, it can be defined as:
“repository for the storage, management and dissemination of data in which the mechanical, lighting, electrical and computer systems are designed to maximize energy efficiency and minimize environmental impact.”
But that’s not all when it comes to a more sustainable IT. Greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced with the move to switch from paper-based to digital documentation, automation in software, and operations-optimizing Artificial Intelligence. Supercomputing and GHG management software are part of the green revolution in business, too.
Sustainable practice 4: using renewable energy sources
Renewable energy sources, in the form of wind and solar power, are something many companies turn to – in search of cutting costs and total power usage. By using renewable energy sources and smart grids, businesses consume less energy and can adapt its usage to current needs, weather conditions, and other circumstances.
Smart grids prevent power outages and energy waste, and energy consumption can be monitored and reduced with data automation and data modeling solutions. These days, photovoltaic technology is gaining momentum, too, along with heat pumps, or wind tulip turbines used instead of spinning turning blades.
Sustainable practice 5: working remotely
In recent years, we’ve seen an immense shift towards remote work, accelerated by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Limiting the number of international conferences, exhibitions, and other events, as well as daily commuting, resulted in carbon footprint reduction.
Nowadays, using advanced tools for online communication, real-time collaboration, and workflow management is something many companies, regardless of their size or location, can’t do without. This, too, adds up to making the planet a little less polluted.
Sustainable practices that put the planet first – key takeaways
These days, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and environmental sustainability are things every modern company should include in the business model. With the right solutions, economic responsibility, and limiting the environmental impact of making business can go together hand in hand.
It’s simply no way out of the green revolution, and going with the flow is something that key stakeholders often urge companies to do. It’s not only NGOs, politicians, or regulatory bodies, but also investors, employees, and, firstly, consumers that want them to make business sustainably. In many instances, e.g. in manufacturing, the key to sustainability is automation.
CSR initiatives concerning environmental responsibility are vital, because they can help tackle the problem of greenhouse gas emissions and protect natural resources. Of course, being socially responsible and communicating it properly, can improve business operations and financial results, too.