IT Sustainability for Business Advantage
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And so, this brings up the concept we introduced, which is product as a service. What you actually want from the phone is not 4, different kinds of chemicals. You want a telephone you can talk into for a certain period of time. And it's a service you want, really. And we see this being products as services and that becomes the circular economy.
Once you see that, you design it for that use. We know we are going to use it again. It becomes part of a circular economy, which will grow the economy because we are doing it again and again. Another part of this in the IT field that people don't appreciate is the amount of energy that goes into massive data centers. The hyperscale cloud companies are investing billions of dollars each a year in these new data centers.
William, do carbon and energy also need to be considered in this whole circular economy equation? If our energy is coming from fossil fuels, we have fugitive carbon in the atmosphere.
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That's something that's now toxic. We know that. A toxin is material in the wrong place, wrong dose, wrong duration, so this has to be dealt with. This is quite phenomenal, really. They are reducing their energy consumption by being efficient. They are also adding renewables to their mix, to the point that they are going to be a major part of the power use—but it's renewably sourced and carbon-free. When we realize the dynamic of the energy required to move data—and that the people who do this have the possibility of doing it with renewably powered means—this is a harbinger for something really critical.
We can do this with renewable energy while still using electricity. It's not like asking some heating plant to shift gears quickly or some transportation system to change its power systems. Those things are good too, but this industry is based on being intelligent and understanding the statistical significance of what you do. One, we are focused on being more energy efficient.
How can we help?
Even though we are seeing data traffic grow by around 40 percent per year, we now have nine consecutive years of reducing energy consumption in our networks. To the second point around renewable energy, we have an ambition to be using percent renewable electricity by Last year, we were at 81 percent, and I am pleased to say that we did a couple of new deals recently and we are now up at 96 percent. So, we are getting there in terms of the renewables.
What's been remarkable is how we have seen companies come together in coalitions that have really driven the demand and supply of renewable energy, which has been absolutely fantastic. And obviously we are looking for our suppliers to be more sustainable.
The initiatives that HPE announced recently in Madrid are absolutely fantastic and are what we are looking for. A lot of the companies, when they are trying to survive in business or trying to move through different agendas to manage modern commerce, they may not have time to figure out how to get renewably powered. Oh, we will solve that one for you, too. Here, you do what you do; we will all do what we do, and we will all do this together. But how closely are they aligned with the IT organization? Do IT organizations need to create their own sustainability leaders?
Benefits of Becoming a Sustainable Business // Eco-officiency
How should companies drive a more of the point of the arrow in IT department direction? That's the place where we can inform the activities and our intentions. We should begin with our values of what is the right thing to do. So, when we combine these two, you really have to begin with your values first. Do the right thing, and then go to the value and do it all the right way. Because if you are being less bad and you think it's good, you have to stop and think because you are being bad by definition, just less so. So, we get confused. And the statistical reference points for data are going to come through the IT to help us determine that.
So, the IT department is actually the traffic control for good corporate behavior. It comes back to what William mentioned about values. We want to see that throughout our organization.
IT Sustainability for Business Advantage
I sit in a central team, but we work closely with IT. How do we put numbers on this in ways that IT people can then justify on that all-important total cost of ownership and return on investment types of factoring across hybrid IT choices? And so, what is the change? The change will have an impact. The question is, will it have a positive impact or a negative impact?
If we look at the business, we want a positive impact economically; for the environment, we would like to have a positive impact there, too. And so, we can balance our CapEx and our OpEx, and we can do optimization across it. It's a valuable asset. Let it run, but be ready to refurbish it when the time comes.
In the meantime, you are going to shift to the faster, better systems that are optimized across the entire platform. They are very closely linked. Do you have studies at BT that help you make the economic case for sustainability, and not just that it's the good or proper thing to do?
Conserving resources and reducing waste while delivering strong results is financially advantageous to processors. Besides the financial advantages, proactively instituting true sustainability practices prepares a company for future government mandates and consumer demands related to sustainability. Instead of having to invest and scramble to barely meet new requirements, companies that are already in line with new expectations can allocate their financial and intellectual resources to sustainable innovation.
The plastics processors that are already engaged in sustainable practices are better positioned to respond to these external pressures and gain competitive advantages in several areas. The product lifecycle involves many steps and many concerned parties. The many interested constituents can be divided into three main groups. The first group consists of those who have a direct impact on the actual creation of the package—the resin manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, and plastic processors.
The second group is the people who interact with the package after it has been created: brand owners, co-packers, retailers, consumers, and partners. The third group is comprised of influencers that do not directly touch the packaging or its components but still have a tremendous impact on it, such as government regulators, non-governmental organizations NGOs , industry associations, educators, environmental groups, and the media. All of these groups put pressure on a business to not just talk the sustainability talk, but also walk the walk.
This drives businesses to make sustainability advances and garner positive results that can be verified using scientific principles.
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In addition to better understanding market needs, a distinct advantage of improving relationships with stakeholders is that many of these influencers have significant impact within the industry. Governmental organizations and NGOs may publish lists of preferred companies or spotlight companies that have demonstrable commitments to sustainability. Consumer activists may share their learnings through social media that reach large numbers of consumers in a very short time.
Regulators and others will also have a strong impact.