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Climate action: what part can your business really play?

Global warming has become a hot topic since the United Nations Paris Agreement in 2015, which sought to restrict the rise in global temperatures to 2C above pre-industrial levels and to try to keep the increase below 1.5C. Almost every country on the planet has embraced this objective, with many aiming to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

The demand for climate action has evolved in recent years as customers, employees, governments, investors, and more have increasingly demanded that companies be climate leaders.

Those businesses that do not recognise climate risks or take action to address them will find it difficult to adapt and succeed, with nearly half of Australians saying they would choose to not work for  a business that did not take action to address climate change.

What action should companies take?

According to the World Bank, 90% of businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises, which account for more than 50% of global employment. At this moment, the maturity and resources of small and medium-sized businesses are insufficient to take climate action. If we want to halve global emissions by 2030, SMBs need to start to look at their long-term sustainability development goals and make changes now.

Sustainable initiatives can be large and small, when it comes to considering business practices today and what can be done to reduce your carbon footprint.

Reduce emissions

Reducing energy use is one of the most impactful sustainability practices that a small business can implement. Electricity, cooling, and heating contribute to carbon emissions, as does business travel and commuting to work.

Reducing waste in the office is one way to increase sustainable practices, such as reducing paper waste, using only sustainable materials, and shifting priority to IT procurement of energy-saving office equipment such as computers, LCD monitors, printers, etc.

Flexible working arrangement for employees is another excellent business model that has a big social and environmental impact. Working from home has significant benefits for employees and the environment, as it encourages productivity while reducing the carbon emissions they would usually generate on the way to work. The modern workplace has solutions such as Microsoft 365 and enables your business to operate in an eco-friendly way, focusing on online communication and collaboration, and allowing virtual conferences and meetings to further reduce business travel that creates carbon emissions. Cloud-based file storage like OneDrive or Google Drive is paperless and limitless in storage capacity, further increasing environmentally friendly practices such as reducing paper wastage and the need for physical storage space.

Reduce value chain emissions

What about emissions outside your business, including the activities from suppliers and other stakeholders? These are known as value chain emissions and can often account for the largest part of an organisation’s total carbon footprint. Your company can work towards reducing value chain emissions, by seeing how supply chain and business partners meet your business sustainability checklist, if they’re using sustainable materials, recycling, or involved in sustainable initiatives. This might mean making changes in terms of procurement guidelines, code of conduct standards for suppliers, redesigning products, and collaborations between supplier and customers.

Invest in green information technology

Digital tools and technology are well entrenched in our lives, with many businesses making a huge digital transformation shift thanks to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on how we work. Cloud computing has become the norm for many organisations, as it has revolutionised business productivity and efficiency, while supporting the shift to carbon neutral activities and a greener future.

Cloud computing offers businesses more than just an efficient way to store, analyse, and protect large amounts of data. Research shows there are significant sustainable benefits that accompany a transition from on-premise data centres to the cloud, with the cloud being 93% more energy-efficient and producing 98% fewer carbon emissions.

There are many cloud-based platforms and apps to support businesses, such as Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and Amazon Web Services, with the larger providers such as Amazon working towards a long term  commitment of reaching 100% renewable energy usage in the future.

Take your business into a green future

Enterprises of all sizes need to ensure they get the most from their IT investments, while planning for a sustainable future. Cutting costs, improving efficiencies, and leveraging new technologies are all valuable ways to grow your business, in line with your company’s sustainable practices plan for the future. Virtu IT consultants are dedicated to helping build a more low-carbon economy by providing customers with sustainable technology, services, and solutions to enable them to build sustainable organisations. Talk to Virtu today and create permanent and positive changes for the environment and for your business. 

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