Technology For A Sustainable Tomorrow

    By Mark Robison, Board Director

    Mark Robison

    This article originally appeared on Tbtech. 

    Tech for good

    Green software development an approach to software engineering that prioritises energy-efficient patterns and processes – should be a focus for all tech organisations. Alongside green tech innovation, there is a multitude of tech solutions that can help organisations achieve their sustainability goals. Efficient data storage is one such solution.  

    The environmental impact of data infrastructure is growing as data demand increases. This is largely due to increasing mobile and cloud-computing traffic, as well as the expanding development and adoption of compute-intensive applications. Building a sustainable model for the future requires data storage that uses less energy, requires less cooling and generates less waste.  

    Many organisations (such as Dell, Seagate and Toshiba) are designing storage with low-power components, for example. The technology industry, and specifically IoT, also plays a critical role in creating “smart cities” that are more sustainable. The use of IoT sensors can help to optimise resource usage, reduce energy consumption and improve transportation efficiency. For instance, the city of Barcelona has installed smart street lighting that automatically adjusts brightness levels based on real-time data, thereby reducing energy consumption. 

    Sustainable Products, Services and Operations 

    Tech companies should be designing all products with sustainability in mind. Dell and HP are using recycle plastics in their products, and Apple has developed a robot that can disassemble iPhones to recover valuable materials, for example. Embedding green data handling and code is another lever organisations can pull to incorporate sustainability into their operations. By producing, writing and manipulating code that reduces energy consumption, organisations can minimise their environmental impact. 

    Tech-Enhanced Supply Chains

    To reach net zero, companies must examine their supply chains. The Carbon Disclosure Project has shown that supply chain emissions are, on average, 11.4 times greater than direct operational emissions. Tech companies must, therefore, track their Scope 3 emissions to identify areas where they can decrease energy use. Monitoring, reporting and verification systems can be utilised to track not only Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions but also Scope 3 emissions to better understand the carbon impact across all areas of the supply chain.  

    However, mitigating the emissions of every entity in a supply chain can be a challenge due to multiple supplier tiers and the higher cost of sustainably produced materials. In a global environment of rising costs and increasing geopolitical tensions disrupting supply chains, it is the responsibility of tech giants to lead the charge, hopefully creating a “trickle-down” effect. BJSS’ Net Zero 2025 goal is supported by our companywide Carbon Reduction Plan, which is targeted at a regional and local level and includes an agreed set of Local Carbon Reduction Plans (LCRP).  

    One way in which we’re working towards reducing our Scope 3 emissions is by ensuring our suppliers are committed to promoting long-term environmental sustainability. All technology companies should encourage collaborative partnerships with their suppliers to help them become more sustainable. This could involve providing training on sustainable practices; helping them to access financing for sustainable technologies; or collaborating on research and development. 

    The Role Of The Consumer  

    This “trickle-down” effect can also incentivise consumers to act more sustainably. Currys, for example, offers a “cash for trash” scheme, where consumers are encouraged to trade in old technology in return for a discount on the next in-store purchase. With technology becoming increasingly intertwined with our daily lives, it is the responsibility of the tech industry to be transparent about a product’s manufacturing journey. This will lead to greater awareness of how our digital lives impact the planet and educate people on how they can reduce their digital carbon footprint.  

    We partner with organisations to realise their sustainability goals, either by being greener in what they already do with technology or by implementing new digital capabilities. Find out more about BJSS’ Sustainability offering here.