When it comes to the global information technology industry, sustainability has now become a core aspect of operations. While companies in the sector largely focused earlier efforts on CSR-related activities, at present, investments in sustainability have started to result in notable returns and competitive advantages. Here are some of the top sustainability initiatives in the IT industry in 2022.
IBM, a global leader in AI, cloud computing, and business services, was chosen to partner with the COP 27 United Nations Climate Change Conference of 2022. The company showcased how consultation and technology could help governments and businesses to align the goals of their organizations with sustainability objectives while complying with regulatory requirements without having to compromise on profits.
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, by going green, companies can not just create a positive societal impact but can also improve organizational innovations and workplace morale, avail tax incentives, become more marketable to consumers, and significantly reduce energy costs.
Top Examples of Sustainability Initiatives By ICT Companies
As per a report by Ericsson, while the ICT industry accounted for approximately 6% of the global economy, equipment deployed by the sector consumes more than 3.5% of global energy while emitting close to 1.5% of global carbon emissions.
According to the report, while data traffic has increased exponentially globally, ICT equipments’ carbon footprint has more or less stabilized since 2010. Companies in the IT sector continue to push for significant emissions reductions. Let us take a closer look:
Sustainable networks by Ericsson
In early September 2022, Ericsson announced the launch of Radio 6646, a tri-sector, triple-band 5G radio network. The company claims that the product will cut energy consumption by around 40% compared to any single-sector, triple-band radios. It also reduces material use by 60%, thereby reducing site requirements as well.
The new radio product is capable of 2G to 5G transmissions and combines 700, 800, and 900 MHz frequencies to meet the needs of communication service providers in terms of sustainable operations.
It is an upgrade from the company’s Radio 6626 which is currently available around the world. Ericsson also unveiled seven Radio Access Network products, including MIMO radios, active-passive antennas, and advanced sleep mode software, providing significant energy savings for users.
Honeywell’s Environmental Sustainability Index
A global leader in energy solutions, Honeywell launched its Environmental Sustainability Index in October 2022. The index is designed to provide a quarterly report on key trends relevant to climate change mitigation efforts. It currently covers initiatives by more than 600 businesses.
The readings of the Index are based on a survey of professionals involved in sustainability, strategic development, and technology conducted by Futurum Research in a number of organizations with a minimum of 1000 employees.
The effort is a part of Honeywell’s commitment to becoming a carbon-neutral organization by 2035. The company is also aiming to partner with the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) to set an emission reduction target, including scope 3 emissions.
Collaboration between SAP and Capgemini for EV solutions
In August 2022, Capgemini and SAP disclosed their collaboration to provide cloud services and products to bolster sustainability initiatives in the automotive industry. The initiative will primarily focus on four key activities.
- Aiding consumer businesses to comply with report and regulation needs while ensuring better ESG, bolstering business value for EV OEMs.
- The use of SAP’s Sustainability Control Tower solution to improve the levels of transparency in organizational sustainability objectives to recognize opportunities for business transformation quickly.
- Utilizing SAP’s Supply Chain Control Tower and Integrated Business Planning offerings to generate accurate and easily understandable supply chain data associated with carbon footprints, which will play key roles in the operations of EV manufacturers.
- Using SAP’s GreenToken and Product Footprint Management to generate and share carbon emission data for specific products throughout the automotive industry chain.
Sustainability-linked bonds by CapitaLand Ascott Trust
The International Finance Corporation collaborated with CapitaLand Ascott Trust to unveil the company’s first sustainability-linked bond aimed towards the global hospitality industry. These bonds will be used to refinance the borrowings of CapitaLand Ascott Trust to decarbonize the organization’s premises.
This digital bond will accelerate the transition of businesses to low-carbon operations, improving the prospect of circular economies and other sustainability initiatives such as water conservation and energy efficiency.
IBM expands its Sustainability Accelerator Program
At COP 27, IBM revealed the new members of its Sustainability Accelerator program, which uses technologies developed by the organization to bolster government and non-profit organizational efforts towards protecting vulnerable people around the world from pollution and climate change threats. IBM has partnered with 5 major organizations aimed towards clean energy solutions:
- IBM announced partnerships with Sustainable Energy for All to generate a data model to study present and predict future energy requirements, primarily to address challenges such as healthcare and energy access.
- The second partner is the Environment Without Borders Foundation. This collaboration aims to create a platform for forecasting the use of clean energy operations and infrastructure in Egypt, in areas where power access is notoriously unreliable.
- Net Zero Atlantic is also collaborating with IBM to develop a geospatial tool to track the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of new energy systems, which will be leveraged by indigenous communities in Nova Scotia, Canada.
- Furthermore, the Government of Miyakojima City, one of the more remote and vulnerable communities in Japan is working with IBM to create a strategy involving renewable energy for improving agriculture and tourism.
- More importantly, IBM is also partnering with the United Nations Development Programme. The collaboration aims to improve energy access in the most vulnerable of African communities, combining the UNDP’s knowledge and IBM’s geospatial analytics and AI.
In conclusion: Digitalization is key to achieving sustainability goals
The rapid influx and improvement of digital technologies is set to have major implications for businesses in general. While keeping up to sustainability objectives does require notable investment, the continually rising costs of assets, energy, and wages will drive the adoption of IT-based solutions.
Organizations seeking an accurate picture of their carbon footprint find it difficult because, more often than not, supply chains are fragmented, creating a large number of disparate data points, and preventing them from taking meaningful action. With contributions of the IT sector, however, the future of sustainability strategy and compliance looks to be under better control as we enter 2023.
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