How can I bring IT sustainability to my company?

May 22, 20183 Minute Read

Enterprise IT has given us spreadsheets, email, and PowerPoint. Now, it might just give us a better planet.

With just a little planning, businesses can adopt technology that helps the environment—and saves them money in the long run. Here are three ways you and your IT team can help the business become more sustainable:

Cut carbon for better IT sustainability

Saving energy isn’t just responsible; it’s cheaper, too. You can improve your company’s computing electricity usage across both servers and desktops without much effort. Start by buying efficient equipment. In Canada, EnergyStar is the best certification option to look for when purchasing equipment to keep energy usage down.

Shifting your server system to a cloud-based infrastructure can also save precious electrons. On-premise cloud infrastructure is a technology that helps the environment by using virtualization to squeeze more performance from servers. Shifting workloads to the public cloud can save more energy still, enabling you to ditch on-premise servers and take advantage of a large data centre’s energy-friendly economies of scale.

Sustainability measures extend all the way to the desktop, too. Persuading employees to turn off computers when they go home and restart them just before office hours can save valuable energy. You can also automate computer shutdowns using scripts or third-party tools.

Audit your printer portfolio

While companies may audit their computing endpoints, they often forget about their printers. However, assessing the energy efficiency of your printer usage can vastly improve IT sustainability.

Managed print services (MPS) can help you analyze your print environment by assessing usage patterns and carbon waste. An MPS provider can work with you to create a plan to optimize your printing fleet, refining your paper-based and digital processes. This may include rationalizing printers to reduce energy usage and electronic waste, for instance. When purchasing printers, you’ll also want to look for multifunction models, like those in HP’s A3 series. They combine several functions in one to avoid the use of unnecessary materials while also cutting costs.

Change your working habits

One of the best ways to reduce the environmental impact of your office is to reduce the number of people travelling to it. Flexible work schedules and telecommuting enable workers to collaborate from home, avoiding carbon-intensive commutes.

According to the FlexJobs 2017 Employee Workforce Report, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by telecommuting is the equivalent of taking over 600,000 cars off the road for a year. It can also reduce traffic accident costs and reliance on oil. Randstad Canada also found that 4 in 10 employers are committed to building a nontraditional workforce to allow for greater flexibility over the next five years.

IT departments can introduce flexible working practices by pushing for cloud-based collaboration systems enabling employees to work together remotely and ensuring company systems are secure enough to support access to company resources from outside the network perimeter. These are just some of the ways in which your IT team can think outside the box, becoming a driving force for sustainability initiatives that can transform the company’s effect on the environment.

While carbon-conscious IT managers and network administrators alone can’t always engineer these changes without approval from the top, getting these issues in front of the board and highlighting some of the ancillary benefits of turning to technology that helps the environment, such as cost savings and employee morale, can drive the point home. Moreover, pushing for sustainable IT will create a culture of sustainability across the workplace. If you make small changes in your IT department now, you may see big changes across the entire company in the future.

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