Five ways tech businesses can help tackle climate change
Making greener choices now, as the UK gears up for the COP26 Climate Conference in Glasgow in November, is the perfect time to make savings on your running costs and also show customers you are serious about sustainability.
The new advice can be found on the UK Business Climate Hub, which was launched in June as part of the government’s Together for our Planet campaign.
And you can demonstrate how much your business puts sustainability at its heart by making a climate commitment to become net zero when you visit the UK Business Climate Hub.
Some of the advice for tech businesses includes:
Think about what you buy
As a small business you have considerable buying power. Ask your suppliers about their own green credentials and how they source their products.
Consider buying renewable energy, or repurposed ICT equipment.
Programme with energy efficiency in mind
There are many ways you can design your software to minimise energy use. Even small improvements, when amplified across millions of systems, can make a big difference.
Questions to consider include: can you limit data movement? Does data need to be calculated to hundreds of decimal places? Can you improve idle efficiency?
Revise data storage
Large cloud providers are generally more energy efficient than traditional enterprise data centres. That’s thanks to IT operational and equipment efficiency, DC (data centre) infrastructure efficiency and a higher utilisation of renewable energy.
Consider moving from on-premises servers to the cloud. Also think about deleting data that is no longer needed – redundant, obsolete or trivial – to minimise storage costs once migrated to the cloud.
Make the most of a remote working set up by ensuring any homeworkers have the tools they need to do the job properly, such as a secure VPN and remote server access. Also consider using a cloud-based productivity and collaboration solution.
Make a formal commitment to cut your carbon and receive long term help and support
Take the first step on your journey to a low carbon future, by committing to cutting your carbon emissions in half by 2030 and to reach ‘net zero’ by 2050 on the UK Business Climate Hub. Net zero means that you are putting no more carbon into the atmosphere than you are taking out of it.
Through the government’s UN-backed commitment process, you’re joining an international community of thousands of like-minded businesses. As part of this, you will get regular newsletters and information from government to support you through your net zero journey.
“This important advice will help technology businesses play a vital role in cutting the UK’s carbon emissions. From buying energy efficient equipment to sourcing large cloud providers, these small steps can collectively make a big difference in helping us fight climate change and create a brighter and more sustainable future.”
“Ahead of COP26, it is critical that all businesses start actively participating in the green revolution. The tech sector has a key role in providing the tools that will allow us to reach net-zero, but tech companies themselves also need to successfully manage this change. The advice set out by BEIS lists some simple and easy to understand actions that companies of any size can make today to play their own important role in cutting our carbon footprint. techUK looks forward to continuing to work with the sector, and particularly small and medium-sized businesses, to assist companies on their journey to net-zero.”
techUK published its own advice to smaller members on taking climate action earlier this year. You can read the guidance here: Net Zero: techUK publishes climate action guidance for tech SMEs
Susanne is responsible for techUK's Environment & Compliance Programme.
The programme, which spans issues such as eco-design, chemicals policy and producer responsibility legislation to conflict materials, circular economy and climate change policy, helps techUK members to get to grips with the latest compliance issues, policy developments and environmental trends, and in turn works with government to ensure that regulation in this area is targeted and effective.
Before joining techUK, Susanne worked in the policy and representation team at EEF, the manufacturers' organisation. For several years she was a senior writer for The ENDS Report, an environmental policy and business journal, and worked in several Whitehall press offices. She holds a BSc in Environmental Science from Kings College London and is a fellow of the RSA.