As a business leader, you might feel like sustainability and profitability cannot go together. In some cases, this line of thinking is correct; however, the discussion should not end there. Instead of assuming the two are diametrically opposed, it is a good idea to try to find a way to get them to work together. When it comes to IT, this type of reconciliation is possible. Sustainable IT is a possibility; however, it is something that requires a comprehensive approach. In many cases, this entails a fundamental shift in how someone approaches problems and how businesses value not only their own success but the future of the global community as well.
Invest in Used Hardware
Often, businesses are focused on investing in the latest equipment and hardware in the field. In many cases, companies simply do not need this type of power. They end up spending more money when they don’t receive any benefit from it. In reality, investing in used hardware is great for business. In some cases, this hardware will last just as long as something new while also helping businesses cut their overhead costs.
Furthermore, this is good for the environment as well. Sustainable IT means investing in equipment by recycling, reusing, or repurposing IT equipment. Even equipment that has been deemed to be at the end of its life will still last for years if handled correctly. In order to ensure this equipment lasts as long as it possibly can, it is important to stick to a proper maintenance schedule. When something isn’t maintained properly, the result is a catastrophe. This also means having a backup plan.
In reality, having a backup plan is one of the greenest investments someone can make. Anyone who aims to have a piece of equipment as long as possible should have a backup plan. Finding affordable maintenance partners is one of the keys to the success of any green strategy. While many companies like to save money by skipping this type of maintenance, the reality is that this is only going to drive up costs in the future.
The Relationship of IT Waste and Growth
There is an inherent line of thinking that consumption is a good thing; however, this consumption also comes with a cost. That cost is borne by the environment. It is critical to separate the idea of waste generation as a necessity in the world of growth. This is one of the biggest challenges of business today; however, this is also one of the most pressing issues.
The reality is that the Earth is getting warmer as a whole and this is leading to catastrophic environmental consequences. If it seems like there is a consistent setting of “hottest day” records in a given location, that is because this is the case. Recently, a slew of environmental disasters led to more than $1.5 trillion in damages in a single year. As the Earth warms up, severe hurricanes are going to become more common, leading to even more expenses in the world of disaster relief. As a people, we are pushing the environment to its limits and we do not have a solid maintenance plan in place.
Why does this matter to the IT field? Because the field of IT is contributing to the problem. There are a few ways in which the approach to technology needs to change for the good of the environment as a whole.
Technology Requirements Must Change
The reality is that new technology does not always mean that it is going to be better. This is especially true is the requirements of new technology are inherently opposed to any climate goals that have been put in place. Today, many people look at “new” technology as “better” if it is faster, bigger, stronger, or possesses other innovations. Sure, some of these benefits are great for certain companies that have these needs; however, it is just as important for technology to focus on how they are going to prevent the generation of waste that could be damaging to the environment. Furthermore, this should be mandated that should be included in all new devices. With the massive mismanagement of IT assets, there is a tremendous amount of environmental damage that stems from IT waste.
Some of the major contributors to climate change include electricity generation, manufacturing, transportation, and even buildings. All of these are major contributors when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. Many of these have roles when it comes to IT. This is why it is important for companies to take a hard look at their own infrastructure and ask whether or not it is sustainable.
Is Your Business Infrastructure Sustainable?
If you are in a leadership position in your company, then you need to take a close look at the choices you make and ask whether or not the decisions you are making are sustainable. Many companies tout having the latest in the world of energy-efficient processors. At the same time, think about the waste you are generating when you replace something constantly. This simply isn’t sustainable. You often have to replace the entire system to upgrade a single piece. This generates a lot of waste.
The goal should be simple. Companies need to adjust their mindsets. This means having both profit and environmental viability KPIs. Build indicators of success around sustainability that includes both revenue and the environment. Sustainability must go beyond individual companies and look at the world as a whole. When the entire global community scales with the environment in mind, this will benefit all of us. That is where we can help.
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