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BW Businessworld

How 'Green' Is Your Company?

Investing in the 'right' technology can shift our position from 'correction' to 'reversal'

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We're at a crossroad. An intersection between what is better for us versus what is better for our environment. As organizations grow and industry and commerce boom, it is increasingly obvious that green is a corporate governance imperative. Green building technologies, sustainability practices and collaboration technologies to reduce travel are well talked about and now increasingly adopted as businesses wake up to this.

Interestingly enough, India is one of the few countries with green activity above the global average of 24%. These activities are likely to increase further as the percentage of firms expecting to have more than 60% of their projects certified 'green' is anticipated to reach 37% in 2018.

According to a report by Carbon Disclosure Project and AT&T, implementing effective collaboration solutions can reduce a company's CO2 emissions by 2,271 metric tons over a period of five years - Equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from over 400 passenger vehicles.

But this is not enough. To reduce the impact of climate change, there needs to be a reduction in global emissions of at least 50 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050. To achieve this, ground up thinking is the need of the hour, in everything the company does.

The ethic
Corporate practices need to go beyond just working for greater profitability, they need to invest in the environment they are functioning in. While these initiatives do start with and intimately end with various 'green' activities, they also affect key stakeholders in a psychologically.

Success metrics of these initiatives fundamentally sets an environmentally ethical company apart is how it is perceived by its stakeholders. A company that goes an extra mile, is not only praised by its employees or local authorities but also by investors - solidifying their trust in the company and management.

The workplace
Workplace design is often one of the most undervalued and overlooked aspects of the business that can really help the company achieve their goals. How employees interact with their workspace not only influences their energy consumption habits but also improves employee productivity, reduce waste with the use of renewable/recyclable materials, and overall provide a positive work environment.

Today businesses are investing in the infusion of natural materials into the workspace, the biophilic method, which also incorporates natural lighting to help staff maintain a natural circadian rhythm. Other standard practices include developing an 'active' workspace, an architectural design that encourages movement such as walking and stair climbing aimed to keep people active and avoid fatigue and prevent the sedentary behaviour.

Greener technologies, both hardware and software
Investing in newer technologies that have been built with sustainability in mind can also go a long way in contributing to a company's initiatives. It's not an unknown fact that various devices we use today are not recycled properly. The amount of worldwide e-waste is expected to reach 49.8 million tons in 2018 with an annual 4-5 per cent growth - this is deeply concerning.

While the situation may seem grim, it is also good to note that the world is not turning a blind eye. Government bodies across the world have identified several recycling parameters, but still, only 15-20 per cent of all e-waste is recycled.

While we must leverage technology for sustainability, we are caught in the cycle of using technology to mitigate the problems we caused. The good news is that simple behavioural changes can help undertake corrective measure. Investing in the 'right' technology can shift our position from 'correction' to 'reversal'.  It is estimated that new age technologies could accelerate sustainability and deliver 26.3 billion metric tons of net avoided CO2 emissions from 2016 to 2025.

Automation, simulation, visualization and analytics deployed more widely will also eliminate waste and increase efficiency in material yields, energy consumption, effort and time. Companies like Prysm are trying to bring high energy efficiency and recyclability with their Laser Phosphor Display (LPD) technology - redefining how collaboration solutions can add to a business' sustainability efforts.

Perhaps a time will come when technology buying criteria will include the ability of the product or solution to also impact the buying organizations green bottom-line, apart from the ordinarily considered warranty, service, and costs.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tags assigned to this article:
environment environment day Environment Day 2018

G.B. Kumar

The author is Vice President - Asia Pacific, Prysm Inc

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