When implemented effectively, sustainability and carbon management programs help businesses streamline multiple operations. For many, technology is a new layer in this carbon story. It is heralded as a tool that can help solve environmental challenges, inspire innovation and grow opportunity – but technology, with all its hardware, data, networks, sensors and storage components, adds a new layer of complexity for companies attempting to minimise their environmental impacts.
The advent of innovative technologies like internet of things (IoT) sensors inspires a proliferation of even smaller and more complex hardware, storage, and cloud-based systems all touted as game-changing breakthroughs. Yet the world still creates some 40million tonnes of e-waste a year.
If we shift from the hardware and componentry carbon story, we see technology for what it is: a system that includes a bounty of services, maintenance steps, timeline management, disposition challenges and more. This is true for in-house IT as well as market-facing solutions.
It is time to prioritise how we use and extend the useful life of the technology envelope around our own enterprises. This is an often-overlooked step toward lowering our own carbon impacts – and one that inspires go-to market tech solutions with the same lifecycle considerations.
When you view the lifecycle of electronics from a business perspective, the classic buy-use-dispose model is an expensive one-way trajectory. Add in the logistics, hardware and services needed to manage software cycles, spares, new hardware, decommissioning, sanitization, and disposition, and you have a non-negotiable function, riddled with disaggregated carbon impacts in the guise of maintenance and upkeep. Electronics age as businesses evolve, and risk becoming cost centers and ultimately, piles of e-waste.
The technology footprint of a business touches a multitude of operational functions, from financing and procurement to engineering and compliance. Many of these functions make crucial decisions about the assets and data they use. This in turn affects the IT service approach, and environmental footprint, typically in a decentralized manner.
Rethinking technology as an envelope around a business is the first step. Managing the use phase as an operational function with both a financial and an environmental lens builds the elusive sustainability-IT connection.
Design engineering, IoT, cloud and edge computing, obsolescence management, and many other electronics initiatives present us with myriad discrete solutions to our growing piles of hardware. If we knit these together into a service model that folds in financing, logistics, refreshes, hardware/software management, reuse, and disposition over time, we can reframe an IT ecosystem. This is efficiency, plain and simple.
When an end-to-end IT solutions works, the classic sustainability targets of responsible sourcing, manufacturing, energy efficiency, and safe disposition integrate into a business model that is far more compelling and efficient.
This is a recipe for success when it comes to carbon reduction and simultaneous business growth.
The use phase of technology is more than an on-off switch; it is a deep dive into IT infrastructure, operational services and a bevvy of technical activities that keep business moving forward – and it is a key part of any carbon reduction strategy. Integrating your company’s unique offering seamlessly into an end-to-end technology service model is the new way to rethink sustainability and efficiency.
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