For businesses looking to deliver success in today’s environment, prioritising sustainable innovation as a driver of business growth is crucial. It’s what customers expect and need from their partners.
In fact, according to Dell Technologies’ 2023 Innovation Index study, organisations are facing mounting pressure to be sustainable from:
- Customers: who are becoming more exacting of who they invest with.
- The supply chain: Businesses are increasingly being held accountable for their suppliers, so they’re only seeking to work with ethical partners (and screening out those who aren’t).
- The bottom line: with the high cost of power, businesses are looking at ways to use less energy and save money.
On the back of these three drivers, we’re seeing technology-driven sustainability innovations ripple across the market. According to the Innovation Index, businesses are shifting from taking tick-box sustainability measures to sustainability-driven innovations. For example, 73% of South African organisations (global: 52%) are decreasing the amount of emissions associated with their IT products. We’re now seeing 41% of local companies (global: 39%) turn to technology to gain greater visibility of their carbon impacts, across their modern data infrastructure and the edge. An encouraging 60% (global: 50%) are becoming more energy efficient by leveraging Edge/AI/ML to act on data insights. These are great strides forward, but with the climate emergency being what it is, continued momentum is paramount.
Thankfully, part of the answer in helping achieve this lies in new technologies and their potential. By harnessing the power of IT, organisations can drive greater innovation while creating more positive impact for the planet to help tackle the climate crisis.
Why investing in sustainability can drive success
As a business, the journey towards achieving better sustainability credentials begins in IT planning and procurement – a sentiment echoed by executives worldwide. Gartner’s 2022 survey found a remarkable 87% of business leaders expect to increase sustainability investments over the next two years. Additionally, 80% of executives noted customers as the primary stakeholder group creating pressure for organisations to invest or act on sustainability issues.
Sustainable IT, the bedrock of organisations’ long-term transformative success, focuses on using new innovative technologies like high-performance computing (HPC), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to enhance operational efficiency, and the long-term goal and impact of reducing carbon footprint.
At the centre of sustainable IT is the infrastructure itself – it’s imperative that organisations and the vendors they collaborate with focus their priorities on continually improving infrastructure to reduce energy consumption as well as increase operational and sustainable gains. An example of this is smart cooling – an innovative feature that ensures enhanced air flow and thermal design. Not only do smart cooling and more efficient technology solutions maximise energy efficiency, but high-performance fans and CPU heatsink systems also save energy and energy expenses.
Organisations need to take care when deploying new solutions to ensure they are introduced in a sustainable, energy efficient and cost-effective way. For instance, leveraging data and analytics can help identify energy-saving opportunities in the manufacturing process, while using AI can optimise transportation and logistics, reducing carbon emissions. In addition, 3D printing presents a viable method by which to minimise the waste of building materials in the construction industry.
The logic behind these enhancements is simple: sustainability must be embedded into every technology as part and parcel of everything created. This means choosing the right partner to help identify and align with your company’s sustainability goals from the outset.
Strategic Procurement: Unlocking Sustainability through Flexible Models
The way a product is made is important, but so is the approach a business takes when it comes to putting that device to use. Your procurement process has a far-reaching impact. As such, when considering IT and product selections, it’s important to consider the following:
- Product materials: Are the products manufactured from renewable, sustainably sourced or recycled materials? Can they be easily reused or recycled when decommissioned?
- Product packaging: Does the packaging minimise waste?
- Product performance: Are the products designed for maximum energy efficiency?
- Product repairability/reusability: Can products be easily fixed without compromising performance or productivity? Are parts readily accessible and replaceable?
- Productivity: Do the products enable increased productivity, thereby reducing power consumption?
Driving Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Advancements
As our technology and devices consumption increases, so does the mountain of electronic waste (e-waste). The amount of e-waste the world generated in 2021 was over 57M tons. That’s the weight of 82,000 school buses and only 17% of it is known to be collected and properly recycled. We aim to help spearhead advances to reduce the carbon footprint of our products and make them more sustainable by significantly increasing the use of renewable and recycled materials. We place heavy emphasis on sustainable design and the creation of environmentally friendly devices.
For example, Concept Luna is our exploration of revolutionary design ideas to make components immediately accessible, replaceable, and reusable – reducing resource use and keeping even more circular materials in the economy. Concept Luna is a future vision of what sustainable PC design could embody, and it considers how we might deliver on end-to-end considerations for sustainable technology devices.
In summary, there is a direct correlation between innovation, the competitive advantage it brings and sustainability. Striving for sustainability creates win-win situations, for the planet and business. When organisations make sustainability a priority, they uncover new ways of working that will lead to greater efficiencies and cost savings, freeing up resources to pursue new opportunities for innovation.
By Tony Bartlett, Director Data Centre Compute Solutions, Dell Technologies South Africa
Since 2009, WhichVoIP.co.za has helped thousands of South African businesses to make better buying decisions for phone systems, VoIP, and connectivity. During this time, we’ve facilitated the connection of 45 000+ users through our network of 500+ telecom providers in our directory.