What Business Leaders Need to Know About Sustainable Technology

New technologies could bring us one step closer to a sustainable future as the world develops. What should company executives understand about these technologies?  After all, they must decide carefully whether to include them in their operations and strategies.

Leaders must be aware of the sustainability options available and how they might be incorporated into their operations as this technology becomes more commonplace. Terence Mauri, MIT Entrepreneur Mentor in Residence, stated in an email that “we need to tie sustainability to economic outcomes and put a dollar value on the high-impact actions a company takes to sustainable solutions. For CEOs and boards to care about the long term, they must have moral and business imperatives.”

Business executives and investors have such an opportunity if they can directly link sustainability statistics to economic conditions. Mauri thinks that businesses are starting to see the value of sustainable technology and are putting effort into creating more sustainable operations. Perhaps he’s right. IBM has created a system to assist farmers in using less water and fertilizer while preserving crop yields,. Other businesses are producing environmentally friendly packaging. For instance, Nestle Waters North America has created a paper-based water bottle that requires a lot less energy to make than conventional plastic bottles while being totally recyclable. Amazon has vowed to reach “net zero carbon” by 2040 and to use only renewable energy by 2030. And by 2030, Goldman Sachs promises to invest $750 billion in companies that are sustainable.

Although sustainability is a complicated topic, corporate leaders need to start paying attention to it. This is how:

Be aware of the unaccountable expense of new technology.  Taking an inventory of your current situation is the first step in developing a sustainable development plan. Metrics like carbon footprint, energy use, and supply chain miles can be used to gauge your sustainability. It’s crucial to consider the effects of new technology you’re utilizing if you want to gauge your future sustainability. Many modern technologies include unaccounted-for expenses frequently ignored in assessments of sustainability. For instance, whether it’s guiding personalized product recommendations or guiding anti-money laundering software, AI is a technology that has greatly benefited businesses. Nevertheless, AI systems must process an immense amount of data, requiring a company to increase its energy use.

In addition, other technologies like blockchain that can improve a company’s productivity and product quality can have a negative impact on the environment. Even environmentally friendly technology can come with a price. Solar panel manufacturing, for instance, uses a lot of water and energy. It’s crucial to evaluate a product’s whole life cycle, from creation to disposal, when thinking about new technology. This can help you decide which technologies to pursue and offer you a more realistic view of the technology’s sustainability.

Utilize technology to become more sustainable.  You can explore possibilities to employ new technology responsibly once you can quantify and comprehend the effect they have on your sustainability goals. Make sure you’re collaborating with businesses that value sustainability if you’re working on energy-intensive technologies like blockchain or artificial intelligence. For instance, Google has created an AI system that can forecast breakdowns in data center cooling systems, which consume a substantial amount of energy. Google is creating technology to increase energy efficiency and reduce waste. Many tech firms are increasingly integrating sustainability into their product development cycles, so they are not the only ones doing this.

In other words, businesses cannot just invest in the most cutting-edge sustainable technology and hope that it will help them accomplish their sustainability objectives. Instead, they should employ technology carefully and make sure it is part of their entire sustainability strategy.

Take a broad perspective.  Technology is only one aspect of sustainability. Businesses must consider the big picture and comprehend how their actions fit into the larger environment if they are to be viable. Thankfully, there are several ways to accomplish this. Sustainability reporting is one accepted technique that enables businesses to gauge and monitor their advancement toward sustainability objectives. Companies can use this information to determine where to concentrate their efforts and how best to employ their resources.

To promote sustainable business practices, organizations need to be able to relate their story to the general audience. After all, consumers and investors won’t be as willing to support a company’s sustainability initiatives if they are unaware of it. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) criteria are one of the most widely used forms of sustainability reporting, however there are many more. Companies can use this approach to report environmental, social, and economic impacts. Additionally, many businesses use these criteria to create yearly sustainability reports that they then make public. The GRI guidelines are just one of the several tools at the disposal of businesses looking to enhance their sustainability reporting. Numerous online resources and software applications might also be helpful in this process. It doesn’t matter what kind of sustainability reporting a business uses; what matters is that they are acting and making progress toward their objectives.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, sustainable technology represents a pivotal opportunity for business leaders to not only contribute to a more environmentally conscious future but also to enhance their long-term economic viability. As Terence Mauri wisely suggests, the integration of sustainability into business operations must be tied to both moral and business imperatives. By heeding these principles and integrating sustainability into your core strategy, you can position your business not only to thrive in an era of heightened environmental awareness but also to resonate with consumers and investors who increasingly value responsible business practices. Sustainable technology is not just a trend; it’s a path toward a more prosperous and conscientious future for your business and the world at large.