A sustainable IT strategy is now critical for the enterprise: Why green IT matters and how to do it

Green tech, Green IT, Sustainable technology

Article by Ayelet Elstein, Vice President, EMEA, Lakeside Software

Amid today’s rapidly changing digital culture, where competition is fiercer than ever, sustainability must be top-of-mind for business leaders.

While consumers are pushing businesses to consider their carbon footprint, market pressures and regulators are now making more efficient IT practices essential to business success.

The European Commission recently announced the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which requires that companies be more transparent about their environmental and social impact. Its three-stage roll-out plan begins in 2024 and will require companies to report in greater detail on sustainability issues, such as their environmental efforts. This will be extremely important not just for businesses based in the EU, but for any company that operates in or has clients in the EU. The initiative means more transparency for customers, investors, and citizens, and is part of why Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) initiatives have shifted from being additive to being imperative for businesses.

Customers, stakeholders, and employees want to know that a business is contributing some good to the world. The investor community is also taking an interest. Last year was a record year for ESG investing in the UK, with “impact startups” raising nearly £2 billion.

Green IT and why it matters for businesses

“Green IT” is the practice of environmentally responsible computing. While you might think of sustainability, decreasing pollution, and reducing your carbon footprints as intrinsically linked to industries like food, manufacturing, and energy, it is equally important in IT environments.

According to a study by McKinsey, enterprise technology is responsible for about 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). This might not seem like a lot in the grand scheme, but the study emphasises that this amount is equal to “about half of the emissions from aviation or shipping and is the equivalent of the total carbon emitted by the United Kingdom.”

Businesses are also feeling the brunt of rising energy costs in the UK and should expect these costs to continue rising in 2023. Companies that want to see future success must begin exploring and investing in Green IT efforts today, and the most proactive companies will gain good press and reduced energy costs.

Investing in Green IT software can soften the blow of rising energy costs by improving companies’ operational efficiency since part of Green IT is determining where a company is experiencing waste or overconsuming. It can also include lifecycle planning, insights into consumption, and better-informed hardware purchases to help businesses make better IT decisions while ultimately benefitting the bottom line.

How enterprises can lessen their environmental footprint

Awareness and intentionality are the first steps in understanding the impact of IT estates. Enterprises can begin their Green IT efforts by auditing and tracking the technology equipment they use and thinking critically about how it is being deployed. Most tech-enabled businesses can reduce their carbon footprint through technology performance and planning. With clearer insight into your company’s tech stack, you can prioritise energy efficiency, increase digitisation to minimise paper waste, and, thus, cut waste across your organisation’s entire IT estate.

How Green IT can transform your environmental footprint

As business leaders and professionals, we are all responsible for considering how our businesses impact the environment. You can help your company become more sustainable through the following efforts:

  1. Create need-based solutions and right-sizing resources. Replace technology and tools exactly when you need to—and not before. When it is time to replace, make sure to recycle or, preferably, donate old equipment. Businesses often operate on a time-based technology refresh system, where old tech is swapped out with new tech based on the time it is used instead of its performance. This means that sometimes perfectly good hardware or software is replaced based on age.
  2. Optimise your existing assets. Determine whether you can extend the lifecycle of your hardware or consider repurposing your tech. Monitor endpoints to make sure you understand how devices perform over time.
  3. Monitor energy usage and waste. Better IT visibility lets you monitor your energy usage and consumption to make more informed decisions.
  4. Adopt a cloud-first approach. Cloud-based systems are more efficient and therefore use less energy. Accenture analyses estimate a 5.9% reduction in total IT emissions due to Cloud migration.
  5. Use root cause analysis to improve IT service delivery. Tech issues slow down your system, wasting energy and creating inefficiencies. Finding the root cause of your tech issues helps you resolve them quickly, preventing future issues and reducing energy waste.
  6. Create more productive digital workspaces. An optimised workspace promotes remote and hybrid workstyles, which drives sustainability through decreased commutes.

At Lakeside Software, we are helping  IT leaders to reduce energy consumption and IT waste while improving efficiency and digital employee experience (DEX). With high targets globally, every little bit helps. Technology vendors and users must look for ways to reduce their environmental impact.

About the author

Ayelet ElsteinAyelet has 20 years' experience as a C-Level Tech industry veteran in leading sales, innovation, strategic partnerships, GTM strategy, and running operations in enterprise software, large corporations, start-ups, and nonprofit organisations.

Based at the company's new regional headquarters in London, Ayelet is responsible for spearheading Lakeside's expansion through: product and service development in the professional and financial services, manufacturing, technology, telco, and healthcare industries while strengthening Lakeside's partner programme.