Technology and Sustainability: How Companies Get Started

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Experts are finally realizing the importance of environmental action — 87% of business leaders aim to strengthen their company’s sustainability measures over the next few years, according to technology analyst Gartner.

By 2026, 75% of organizations will increase business with IT vendors that have clear sustainability goals and schedules, and will seek to replace suppliers that do not. Gartner predicts. However, the desire to change direction is simply the starting point. So, how can organizations use technology to turn long-term ambitions for sustainability into practical steps? Here are a few ideas to get started.

Create a preference pane

Athina Kanioura, director of strategy and transformation at PepsiCo, says that establishing a strategy and set of priorities is an important first step towards delivering on sustainability.

Many organizations will have long-term goals in place for environmental benefits and a sense of how technology can help reduce carbon emissions.

Realizing these larger environmental goals means creating a set of small goals for everyone in the IT department and outside the business. But if deadlines and working relationships are not established effectively from the start, goals will be missed and efforts will be wasted.

“You can get lost in the details with sustainability,” she says. “You have to think about the bigger picture. Start with your long-term commitments and work backwards.”

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Kanioura advises other professionals to create a prioritization framework that outlines all the things the team will need to focus on throughout the process.

“Think about anything your company has to offer between now and 2030,” she said. “I use a prioritization framework for everything. It shows your ability to deliver, the level of complexity. you need to deliver and the potential financial impact.”

With the framework in place, break the work down into manageable chunks. And if your goal is by the end of the decade, don’t be afraid to deliver early.

“You can do the math and realize that it’s going to take about five years to get the job done. If we had a goal of 2030, we wouldn’t wait until 2025 to start — we would start right away. this year,” she said.

“But be realistic about the effort it takes to make those commitments and break it down into chunks, so the work doesn’t become overwhelming. Otherwise, things can get extremely expensive.”

Bring in some tangible wins

Zarah Al-Kudcy, head of commercial partnerships at Formula 1, said that while motor racing involves cars racing around the track at high speeds, cars make up less than 1% of total emissions. the sport’s carbon footprint, of which 40% is due to logistics. and the movement of F1 teams around the world during the racing season.

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“To give you a hard example, we produce the international broadcast for each race, and that job requires a production team in place, as well as all the camera rigging. We have over 25 cameras, and then you have your production team, the signage, the lights and the sound.”

Al-Kudcy says leading from the front involves the use of digital technology – and in the case of F1 that means cutting emissions through remote operations and working to make sure it doesn’t have to transport too many people or too many goods around the world.

“Over the last two years — and COVID-19 has been a big driver of this because we obviously needed to limit the number of people traveling — we ended up moving a lot of that broadcast process to cloud.”

Create long-term benefits

Andrew Briggs, strategy director for sustainability and green infrastructure at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, says reducing carbon emissions includes an integrated approach.

Council established a strategic partnership with Siemens in April 2017. Nearly six years have passed and the two organizations have been working on a series of energy-saving projects that have helped cut emissions and reduce costs.

“We spent quite a bit of time talking about what the future would look like and trying to build some recommendations based on an understanding of the future impacts,” he said. “So there was a lot of time spent up front and then we started thinking very carefully about how we program those things together.”

To date, the council has invested £6.24 million in the initiative, including a £4.34 million grant from the UK Public Sector Decarbonisation Programme, council funding and private sector investment.

The project includes a series of measures across 11 council buildings, including the introduction of three combined thermal and electrical systems to generate electricity on site, air source heat pumps for swimming pool heating and upgrades. LED lighting system throughout the city.

The plan also includes the introduction of Siemens’ Desigo building management system, which allows the council to control other technologies it has introduced and the energy used.

Projects across 11 public buildings in the city have reduced annual CO2 emissions by 1,415 tonnes and saved council £628,258 per year in energy costs. Total power consumption has decreased by 407,272 kWh, while gas consumption has decreased by 2,864,974 kWh.

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Briggs says any effort to make sustainability work is a long-term game — and the council continues to look for ways to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

“What we want to do is go back and look at all the other buildings and other properties that we have,” he said. “We will be revisiting all of our buildings in the context of a world five years from when we start this work.”


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