Driving Sustainability with Technology
Digital sustainability refers to the use of digital technologies and practices to reduce environmental impacts, improve social responsibility, and promote economic sustainability. As a digital agency, in addition to applying the latest technological tools to help businesses scale, we also help businesses operate more sustainably by augmenting their business operations with technological solutions with less carbon footprint.
In this article, we share some insights on how we help businesses contribute to a greener and more sustainable planet. Here are three main tips for small businesses to implement digital sustainability:
- Adopt digital tools and practices that reduce resource consumption: there are silent energy consuming practices in businesses that most business owners are not aware of. Optimizing these processes not only contributes to sustainability, they can also significantly reduce operational costs for businesses. Small businesses can implement digital sustainability by adopting digital tools and practices that help reduce resource consumption. This includes using; energy-efficient hardware, optimizing computer settings to conserve energy, using cloud computing to reduce the need for physical servers, and implementing virtual meetings and telecommuting to reduce travel.
- Use digital channels for marketing and communication: we can save the planet one less print at a time! Small businesses can reduce their carbon footprint by reducing the use of print media and shifting to digital channels for marketing and communication. This includes using social media, email, and other digital platforms to reach customers and stakeholders. Even when it comes to documents that need signatures, there are free and paid tools with more enhanced features, like Docusign, Pandadoc and Adobe Sign that businesses can use to sign documents like contracts, agreements and invoices electronically. With these tools, you can do away with most of your spend on office stationery. Next time you think of printing out a stack of business cards, consider e-business cards or QR code equivalents that you can share electronically with your business partners and customers.
- Implement sustainable procurement practices: Small businesses can ensure that their digital sustainability efforts are not undermined by unsustainable procurement practices. This includes ensuring that digital products and services are environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and economically sustainable. Small businesses can work with suppliers and partners to implement sustainable procurement practices that promote digital sustainability. Seek local suppliers that offer more sustainable options for your supplies and where possible source from suppliers close to your geographic location to minimum the carbon of shipping products distant locations.
By implementing these tips, small businesses can make significant strides in their digital sustainability efforts, reducing environmental impacts, improving social responsibility, and promoting economic sustainability.
Tips for Going Green
Here are some additional digital sustainability tips you can implement in your business to reduce the environmental impact of your business and improve operational efficiency:
- Conduct energy audits: conduct energy audits to identify areas of energy waste and to implement energy-saving strategies. An energy audit can help identify opportunities to improve energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption, and save on energy costs.
- Energy-efficient hardware: use energy-efficient computers and other electronic devices, which can significantly reduce energy consumption. For instance, opt for laptops instead of desktops, which use less energy. You can also LED monitors, which consume less power than traditional monitors.
- Computer settings optimization: optimize your computer settings to conserve energy. For example, enable power-saving modes, reduce screen brightness, and set up automatic shutdowns. You can also implement software solutions that turn off computers when they are not in use.
- Cloud computing: use cloud computing to reduce the need for physical servers, which can significantly reduce energy consumption. Cloud services are hosted in data centres that are designed to be energy-efficient and can achieve significant energy savings.
- Virtual meetings and telecommuting: thanks to the pandemic, we now know we can conduct most of our business activities remotely. Use digital tools to enable remote work and reduce travel. Use video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Google meet and Teams to hold virtual meetings, reducing the need for employees to travel to a central location. This can help save on transportation costs, reduce emissions, and support a better work-life balance for employees.
- Social media: leverage social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to reach customers and stakeholders. Create and share content that promotes your products and services, and engage with your audience, all while reducing their need for print media.
- Email: use email to send newsletters, updates, and promotional content to customers and stakeholders. Email is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to reach a wide audience.
- Digital advertising: use digital advertising platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads to reach potential customers. These platforms offer advanced targeting options that can help your business reach their ideal audience, reducing the need for broader advertising campaigns that rely on print media.
- Socially responsible products and services: choose to work with suppliers and partners that promote social responsibility. For example, choose to use products and services that are made using fair labour practices and that are not associated with human rights and environmental abuses. Choose to work with suppliers and partners that promote economic sustainability. Work with suppliers that prioritize local sourcing and that are committed to reducing waste and conserving resources.
- Invest in green IT: Small businesses can invest in green IT, which refers to the use of technology to reduce environmental impacts. This includes using virtualization technologies to reduce hardware usage, using energy-efficient cooling systems, and using server consolidation to reduce energy consumption.
- Implement digital waste reduction strategies: implement strategies to reduce digital waste. This includes using digital document management systems to reduce paper usage, deleting unnecessary files and emails, and using cloud storage to reduce the need for physical storage.
In summary, small businesses can implement digital sustainability by adopting digital tools and practices that reduce resource consumption, using digital channels for marketing and communication, and implementing sustainable procurement practices.
By implementing these practices, small businesses can further reduce their environmental impacts, improve their social responsibility, and promote economic sustainability. As highlighted earlier, these practices not only contribute to sustainability, they can also improve a businesses competitiveness and strengthen brand reputation as responsible corporate citizens.