The transformation to becoming a sustainable organisation is one of the most important decisions you can make as a business. And while there is much focus on operational and supply chain changes, or creating awareness among employees, IT is an often overlooked aspect of sustainable transformation.

It’s also an aspect of the sustainability agenda that is becoming increasingly urgent. IT is responsible for around 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and with the ongoing digital transformation among businesses, that is likely to increase; to put it in context, the aviation industry is responsible for 2.5%

Somewhat surprisingly, industry research has shown that among most SMEs, there’s a lack of awareness about the potential impact that IT can have on the environment and an organisation’s sustainability journey. Equally, very few organisations have a designated sustainable IT strategy – which is a major part of the problem – though it needn’t be.

Your overall IT strategy can and should include an end-to-end framework that covers your entire transformation toward sustainable IT. Said framework would define the strategy, set goals, and include a baseline assessment for identifying your organisation’s IT footprint. That in turn demonstrates where you can reduce your IT carbon emissions, and outlines a roadmap for continuous improvement.

On a wider level, this positions your IT as an enabler toward a more sustainable organisation and a means through which you can drive sustainability. And, by reducing the overall environmental impact of your IT you gain operational benefits like improved efficiency, reduced energy consumption, and a leaner operating environment.

These come with significant financial benefits too. Using fewer resources will undoubtedly save cash in the short and long-term while having an effective ESG policy will significantly reduce environmental and social risks can also be material financial risks. In fact, businesses that are environmentally and socially aware are typically better placed to capitalise on innovation and are also better able to recruit and retain staff as a result of the outlook.

The reality is that IT has a significant role to play in every organisation that has sustainable objectives as part of its future – there is no scenario in which that is not the case. Moreover, sustainable IT has a number of operational and financial benefits, as well as being strategically critical to the future of the business.

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