Innovative Ways CIOs Can Drive Sustainability in Tech

by | Jun 3, 2024 | CIO Best Practices, IT Best Practices

Sustainability is no longer an option for businesses- it’s a must. Customers prefer sustainable businesses that show they care about the environment. Companies that don’t get on board with sustainability will fall behind the competition.

Every company executive must do their part to incorporate sustainable methods in their department- and CIOs are no exception. They must embrace it in their IT value. They must partner with other leaders and employees to ensure they are doing their part to save the environment and drive their company forward.

Why Sustainability Matters

  • It’s Important for Customers: Customers feel better about working with sustainable companies. They want to know that your company is doing its part to save the environment. If you are not keeping up in today’s eco-friendly industries, you will fall behind the competition.
  • It Helps Attract and Retain Talent: Employees feel good about working with a company that cares. Your sustainable methods will create a culture of loyalty and productivity. It will also help you attract top-tier talent.
  • Cost Savings: Most initiatives that promote sustainability also promote cost savings. Your company will save on expenses and boost its bottom line.

The Good and Bad of Technology

Technology can both help and hurt the environment. Saving files on the computer and instant messaging reduces the need for paper. Video conferencing minimizes commutes that can contribute to carbon emissions.

However, there are also digital processes that contribute to pollution. For example, data centers contribute to about .5% of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions. They also account for 1.8% of America’s electricity use and consume huge quantities of water.

CIOs must track metrics to ensure they achieve the perfect balance. They must weigh various environmental factors in the technology they choose. They must identify the right metrics to track when making their decisions.

Share Sustainability Goals Throughout Your Organization

CIOs cannot work alone to reach sustainability goals. They must share them throughout their organization. They must make stakeholders, employees, and other executives aware of their efforts and ensure they are doing their part.

Leaders must work together to create a culture of sustainability throughout their organization. They must create environmental goals and make everyone responsible for meeting them. They must collaborate with others to embed eco-friendliness in their IT strategy.

Partner with Earth-Friendly Nonprofits

Organizations can do their part by partnering with environmental nonprofits. They can donate part of their proceeds to these organizations. They can also volunteer with the organization and partner with them on fundraising events.

Companies that partner with nonprofits should advertise their efforts on their website. Doing so raises awareness for the nonprofit. It also lets customers know about your company’s eco-friendly goals.

Practice Eco-Friendliness in the Office

Employees and colleagues should be reminded to follow eco-friendly guidelines in the office. They should unplug computers when they leave the office. They should shut off lights that are not being used.

Leaders may consider sending out emails or distributing packages to make employees aware of eco-friendly updates. They should hold them accountable for following these guidelines. They should reward employees who promote green practices in the office.

Making Wise Tech Decisions

CIOs must weigh environmental factors when making tech decisions. They should consider how much energy each new piece of tech will consume. If purchasing a power-hungry piece of tech is unavoidable, they should consider how they can counter its energy use.

For example, some high-power consuming systems may replace other systems making them more efficient overall. CIOs can also counter excessive energy consumption by adopting the following strategies:

  • Investing in energy-efficient IoT devices and sensors
  • Partnering with vendors to attain more energy-efficient resources.
  • Using HVAC systems in data center hotspots
  • Choosing energy-efficient programming languages and platforms
  • Redesigning the UI of software products to reduce screen time and lower carbon emissions

Check KPIs

CIOs should create very specific KPIs to monitor when selecting tech products. These metrics should also be used to monitor tech products to determine how they are affecting energy use. Common KPIs for energy efficiency include:

  • Energy Cost Index (ECI)
  • Energy intensity
  • Carbon Emissions
  • Consumption by Sector
  • Production distribution
  • Performance Ratio
  • Availability Factor

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