The world of business is changing rapidly and to reach the top, your company must be able to roll with the punches and incorporate new ideas with a high level of savvy. Without the ability to make these necessary adaptations, your business could quickly fall behind and lose out on customers.
One of the areas of business this is most relevant is in the intersection of technology and sustainability. There is no mistaking that so many technologies are taking the business world by storm with new ways of doing things and tools to accomplish tasks that can make your head spin. Likewise, more and more customers are demanding that companies take greater responsibility for the environmental impacts they create when they produce products and sell them.
All of these new things all at once can be enough to make any business owner feel pulled in a million directions. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Choosing to incorporate new technologies can work to bring you closer to company sustainability goals. Two birds, one stone.
SETTING THE STAGE
Taking steps to make your business more sustainable can be daunting, but several major companies are starting to make the switch. Although it can feel like the necessary changes are too big to handle, many of the most important ones aren’t that big of a lift. Changing your and your employee’s mindsets surrounding what it takes to be sustainable is one of the first big things to tackle — not an expensive change, but a huge one nonetheless.
That is the first step, the next one is acting on this new mentality and goal of making a change. Nearly 92% of business leaders recognize that incorporating new technologies into their workplaces will not only increase their bottom line but also bring them closer to meeting sustainability goals. Yet only 59% have started to make the investments necessary to achieve these goals. It is a matter of making it happen.
But taking the leap can really pay off, especially when it comes to customer satisfaction. According to studies on corporate social responsibility, over 60% of Americans want corporations to lead the charge without governments forcing them to. Almost three-quarters expect that companies will take actions based on climate change science and are willing to stop shopping at businesses that don’t.
USE TECH TO USE LESS
Perhaps one of the most impactful ways that your company can reduce its carbon footprint while still increasing efficiencies is to take as much as possible online. This essentially means choosing to start working towards a paperless business. One where communication takes place either online or over the phone, where files are archived in the cloud and all monetary transactions happen without ever using a scrap of paper.
Initially, this can be difficult, so it helps to start moving slowly. Introduce digital tools like online sticky notes that can help employees stay organized in the cloud rather than on paper. Encourage online communications and coordination to complete tasks. And if possible (especially during the pandemic) get employees working remotely and take advantage of online meeting spaces.
Many people are nervous about using the cloud and feel like they will never understand it. But really, many of us already use it in our lives (think Amazon purchasing or checking a Gmail account), and incorporating it at work doesn’t have to be all that scary.
Making changes such as these reduces the need for paper altogether. Likewise, they keep documents in an online place where everyone can access and work on them, which reduces repetitive drafts circulating the office. Furthermore, if your business can truly go remote, you will have eliminated the environmental impact of all of your employees commuting daily, saved money by getting rid of the office space rental, and come out ahead when transitioning all employees to a paperless way of work.
ADDING EFFICIENCIES AND LOSING THE WASTE
There are a large number of different technologies that companies can consider incorporating to become both more efficient and more sustainable. Some of the big ones that numerous large companies are bringing online include things like AI software and big data. Both of these can help identify problems that previously went unnoticed and make the necessary changes.
For example, big data can work to optimize resource usage. The tech works by incorporating thousands of different data points and recognizing outliers. This can be as local scale as identifying where on the machine line things are happening that slowdown production and produce waste products or as large scale as identifying areas in a large supply chain that seem to require the most energy usage so business leaders can brainstorm alternatives.
Incorporating any or all of these technologies will not only help your business run a little bit more smoothly but can also greatly reduce the company’s environmental impact. These benefits can greatly increase profits as well as a supportive customer base that will keep you in business for a long time.