Today's public is more environmentally conscious than ever before. Not only do people want to reduce their personal carbon footprint, but they look for companies that are eco-friendly as well. If you don't already have a passion for saving the climate, seeing how passionate your customers and workers are about the topic should spur you on.
Technology has a bigger impact on the environment than you might think. The amount of greenhouse gas emissions from information and technology sectors alone will hit four percent in 2020, about half the amount that automobiles create. That number will only grow as more and more devices connect to the Internet of Things (IoT).
IT sectors such as data centers have hungry energy needs. Manufacturers of technology must look for ways to protect the environments where their factories are located. All added together, tech's impact on the climate is enormous. Fortunately, tech companies can take many different steps to make sure they're green. Here are six things you can do to be more environmentally conscientious.
1. Install LED Lighting
One of the simplest things any business can do to cut down on energy usage is installing LED lights. LEDs are about 90% more efficient than incandescent bulbs. They also last longer, which means less manufacturing of new bulbs and a reduction in pollution. Because they use less energy, you'll also save on energy costs. You can even take this change a bit further and add automated lights to bathrooms that shut off when they're not in use.
2. Cut Down on Paper
Even tech companies generate paper. Do you really need to print out a copy of the annual budget for every person in the room, or can you throw an image of it up on the screen and give people who want to peruse it on their own the chance to download an e-file?
Look for more opportunities to avoid printing busywork. In fact, look for ways to reduce paper use company-wide. When you must use paper, make sure you recycle what you've used. You'll save trees and cut down on your contribution to carbon emissions. It requires a lot of energy to turn trees into paper, so when it's necessary to use paper products, go for recycled ones.
3. Start an Exchange Program
If you sell a product, start a program where your customers can turn in their old products for credit. You can then recycle the old materials, reducing the waste in area landfills. Even though e-waste is one of the fastest growing types of municipal waste in the United States, a mere 12.5% is recycled.
Tech companies can work with local waste management companies to recycle what they can't reuse or grab recyclable components before they reach landfills. Doing so will save your company money and have a big impact on the environment. Ask for a consultation with your local waste management municipalities to see what additional ideas they might have to help you reduce waste.
4. Support Eco-Friendly Projects
If you feel you're already doing a lot to keep the planet green, you may wonder how your company can make additional earth-friendly contributions. One thing any business can do is throw their support behind local projects that benefit the environment. Give employees the option to help clean up a local park instead of working indoors that day, for example.
You can also donate to local environmental groups, educate the younger generation on your green practices as a business and start a community garden. There are so many ways to go green. The only limit is your imagination and budget.
5. Choose the Right Suppliers
Tech giant Apple has come under scrutiny for the people they do business with and the negative impact on the Chinese environment. Some companies that supplied parts to Apple were accused of disposing of waste in ways that polluted waterways. Companies such as Capgemini have made a commitment to help their employees individually reduce carbon emissions — both at work and in their personal lives — a full 40% by the year 2030.
As more and more focus is turned to issues such as climate change, people will expect tech companies to pay attention to the impact they're having on the earth. Who you do business with has as much of an impact as the way you do business. Even the company that supplies ink for your printers can have green practices or habits that harm the environment.
6. Use Sustainable Building Materials
As your company grows, you may need to add space or upgrade what you already have. One way of supporting the ecosystem is using recycled building materials or options such as bamboo that grow much more quickly than hardwoods. You should also look toward creating buildings that are as energy-efficient as possible to reduce your usage.
Some other examples of materials you can use include products made from recycled plastic. Consider even minute details such as office furnishings, decor and the coffee maker you purchase (the ones with pods create a lot of additional garbage for the landfills).
Be More Aware
The key to creating an environmentally conscientious company is being more aware of the many ways you create waste. Appoint a team to be in charge of finding ways to be ever greener. The more aware you are of the impact your choices as a brand have on the world at large, the more you'll change your practices to save the environment.