Across all industries and locations, businesses are working hard to become more sustainable to create a better world for future generations. This is evidenced as 80% of the world’s top companies now report on sustainability. A sustainability focus helps the environment and a business’s bottom line. Sustainable business operations add brand value and competitive advantage whilst reducing operational costs. Over the past 5 years, massive corporations, such as Microsoft and Apple, have pledged to become carbon neutral, with many smaller businesses following suit. However, becoming sustainable is not a simple task, it requires significant time and planning.
For businesses looking to become more sustainable, technology can play a major role as outlined below:
Migrating on-premises infrastructure to the Azure Cloud has many business benefits. From a financial viewpoint, moving to Azure allows businesses to only pay for the resources they use. With legacy on-premise infrastructure, businesses have significant upfront investment for the technology, the installation, as well as the costs involved with maintenance, power, and sufficient cooling. If the business needs to upscale, it must upgrade all its hardware, and the process can take months. Similarly, there’s no easy way for businesses to downgrade if their needs change.
When a business installs on-premises infrastructure, there is an embodied carbon impact from manufacturing the infrastructure and operating carbon impact from running it. Running these workloads in Azure reduces the embodied carbon impact as new infrastructure doesn’t need to be built to upgrade resources. Operating carbon is also reduced, as Microsoft has implemented next-generation server cooling methods that trim energy use. Similarly, the Azure cloud has been carbon neutral since 2012, meaning any workloads run on it, are also carbon neutral. Microsoft has pledged to be carbon negative by 2030, so it will remove more carbon each year than it emits.
In 2019, the average employee printed approximately 8,000 A4 pages per year. This has a significant environmental impact through the production of printers, paper, and ink. Throughout the pandemic, this number likely decreased, however, there’s no reason why most businesses can’t be completely paperless. With Microsoft 365, all documents can be easily electronically shared and don’t need to be printed. Many businesses still print documents and contracts for signing by new employees, vendors, and other key stakeholders. With an e-signature solution, such as DocuSign, businesses can go paperless to reduce their carbon emissions and overall costs. Going paperless with an e-signature solution also increases productivity and gives businesses better control and visibility over processes.
At Microsoft Ignite November 2021, Microsoft announced the preview release of Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability – an extensible software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that allows businesses to record, report, and reduce their environmental impact through automated data connections and actionable insights. The solution connects real-time data sources to provide accurate carbon accounting, measure performance against goals, and enable intelligent insights to make a more effective action. This will aid businesses with accurate and transparent reporting on carbon emissions from the cloud, devices, applications, and other emission sources. This will also help businesses track their emissions to ensure they are on course to meet their sustainability goals, and if they’re not, the solution will give actionable insights to help meet them.
Over the next decade, it will become increasingly important for businesses to have a sustainability strategy. This will help the environment and increase profitability as consumers will continue to place more importance on a business’s sustainability. If you want to find out more about how technology can help your business reach its sustainability goals, get in touch with us today!