In the dynamic world of technology, sustainability is an increasingly crucial factor. A growing expectation from consumers, employees, and investors demands that companies be innovative and responsible stewards of our planet. This shift in perspective catapults sustainability from an ancillary concern to a pivotal determinant of success in the tech industry.
Customers consciously make purchases that align with their values. A 2020 survey by IBM demonstrated that almost 60% of consumers are willing to modify their shopping habits to reduce their negative environmental impact, signalling a burgeoning demand for sustainably produced products and services. A study last year by Capterra found that consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products, even in the face of inflation. The study found that 32% of consumers strongly agree that sustainable products are reasonably priced, up from 16% in 2021. Additionally, the study found that 84% of consumers have purchased a sustainable product in the past six months, up from 67% in 2021.
Sustainability: A sound investment for the future
These findings suggest that there is a growing demand for sustainable products among consumers. For technology companies, incorporating sustainability into their modus operandi can attract environmentally aware consumers and foster a positive brand image, leading to increased customer loyalty and market share.
But the effects of sustainability stretch beyond customers. It’s projected that by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be Millennials, who increasingly want to work for companies that have a purpose and contribute to a better society. As a result, the high-stakes talent competition in the tech industry is being heavily influenced. This generation of employees is drawn to employers who are committed to minimising environmental impact, mirroring their personal values. It’s not just about attracting top-tier talent; this demographic shift signals a burgeoning war on talent where sustainability could be a decisive factor. By committing to sustainable practices, tech firms can attract this emerging workforce, bolster employee retention, and nurture a motivated, dedicated workforce.
Sustainability also resonates with an expanding group of socially responsible investors. These investors view sustainable businesses as less risky and more prepared for the future, making them appealing investment targets. Tech companies prioritising sustainability may enjoy increased access to capital, enhanced stock prices, and a more stable investor base.
Tech industry’s role in sustainability
Technology is a major driver of economic growth and innovation in the Middle East. However, technology also contributes considerably to environmental issues, notably climate change. The silver lining lies in the tech industry’s capacity to revolutionise its approach, minimise its environmental footprint, and become a beacon of sustainability.
The first step towards this transformation is enhancing energy efficiency. Using energy-efficient data centres and accompanying technologies can significantly decrease the tech industry’s energy consumption. This encompasses state-of-the-art servers, virtualisation, data centre infrastructure management, and high-efficiency power supplies. It also involves embracing AI and machine learning and investing in renewable energy, such as solar and wind power.
Axis Communications: A case study in sustainability
Technology companies can be pivotal agents in forging a greener economy through a multi-pronged approach. They can innovate energy-efficient technologies, including hardware and software, thereby minimising their power consumption footprint. Alongside this, they can embrace a product lifecycle designed around longevity, repairability, and recyclability, tackling the rising problem of electronic waste. Additionally, they can facilitate remote work through digital tools, significantly curbing carbon emissions by reducing daily commuting and the energy drain from offices.
Investments in green technologies, such as those that bolster renewable energy storage or diminish greenhouse gas emissions, can directly and positively impact the environment. Supplementing these efforts, tech companies can champion transparency by crafting tools that enable businesses to accurately monitor their environmental impact, fostering wider adoption of sustainable practices.
Finally, businesses can further lessen waste by integrating environmentally-friendly suppliers into their procurement policies and transitioning physical products to digital services. This green approach not only benefits our planet but can also lead to cost savings and unlock novel business opportunities.
As a practical example of how a tech company can effect change, Axis has set ambitious targets, such as transitioning to 100% renewable energy for its manufacturing and logistics centres by 2030 and incorporating over 20% renewable carbon-based plastic in all Axis-designed products by 2024. Beyond its climate objectives, Axis prioritises creating sustainable products with an emphasis on energy efficiency by designing power supplies that minimise waste production, particularly in the form of heat.
Sustainability: A pathway to business success
The tech industry has a significant opportunity to lead the way in sustainability in building cities and communities optimised for urban mobility and individuals’ health and well-being.
However, moving towards sustainability is a strategic necessity that holds the potential for significant business benefits for all industries across the Middle East. The rewards of prioritising sustainability, extend beyond improved reputation – they reach right into the heart of financial performance. Companies prioritising sustainable operations will gain a competitive edge in the ever-evolving business landscape.
Written by Atul Rajput, EMEA Director of Channel Partners and End Customers at Axis Communications