Enterprises faced the rippling effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022, running into challenges such as chip shortages, rising labor costs, and supply chain delays.
2023 will bring businesses significant opportunities—especially for those that have integrated, or are looking to position, sustainability into their business model.
It’s predicted that by 2025, 50% of CIOs will have performance metrics tied to the sustainability of their IT organization.
Technology is a fundamental driver of sustainability for enterprises and their employees, as the right technology can accelerate sustainability initiatives across an organization.
Investing in sustainable technology allows enterprises to improve their financial performance and create greater operational resiliency—by optimizing energy, costs, and increasing asset utilization.
Sustainable Solutions Drive Efficiencies and Protect Resources
Sustainable technology increases the energy and material efficiency of IT services and enables enterprise sustainability through automation, traceability, analytics, and more.
Mobile IT assets are the top contributors to the carbon footprint, mainly because devices are usually upgraded and replaced frequently.
In fact, end-user devices—laptops, tablets, smartphones, and printers—generate up to up to 2 times more carbon globally than data centers.
Enterprises can implement sustainable initiatives like device redeployment to conserve resources and to keep processes—like issuing corporate-owned devices to end users—in effect.
Tech leaders can also utilize tools like Mobile reCell’s environmental impact reporting to help measure complex metrics. Automating reports drives efficiency and assesses an organization’s carbon footprint.
Tech-Enabled Products Support Customers’ Sustainability Goals
Sustainable technology is a framework of digital solutions that drive environmental, social, and governance (ESG) outcomes.
Companies that take the lead on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues outperform their peers financially, generating up to 2.6 times more value.
Upon establishing ESG goals, enterprises often shift their strategies and utilize tech-enabled products to support customers’ sustainability goals.
Environmental technologies: Prevent, mitigate, and adapt to risks in the natural world.
- 5G technology allows customers to achieve environmental goals, as its advanced cell towers can greatly reduce energy consumption and power. When in use, 5G devices use around 90% less energy than 4G devices.
Social technologies: Improve human rights outcomes, well-being, and prosperity.
- Industry cloud platforms support social goals, as companies can customize them to meet desired outcomes. Industry cloud platforms can improve end-user experiences, increase employee innovation, and improve accessibility.
Governance technologies: Strengthen business conduct and capacity building.
- Internet of Things (IoT) devices support governance goals, as they automate industry tasks and can be programmed to communicate with intended parties—businesses, customers, and technicians—via sensor data. Industrial IoT devices use sensor data to monitor assembly lines and manufacturing processes in facilities.
Establishing ESG initiatives and sustainability goals comes with great benefits—such as asset optimization, cost reductions, increased productivity, and more. However, a big challenge enterprises face upon establishing ESG initiatives is a lack of quality data, which is likely due to not having reporting processes in place to monitor progress.
In fact, less than 25% of global IT companies can accurately report on the progress of their ESG initiatives.
As a result, new legislation is being passed in 2023, requiring companies in the United States, United Kingdom, the European Union, and Canada to report on their carbon emissions and initiatives centered around reducing emissions.
By 2024, 75% of organizations will implement ESG data management and reporting software to ensure they have a reliable data source for their ESG initiatives, which is extremely important in the event of an ESG audit.
Circular Economy Initiatives Reduce Waste
If sustainability is at the center of an organization’s, it’s likely influenced by the circular economy.
Over the years, more organizations have been participating in the circular economy, as the traditional make, use, dispose model has proven to be unsustainable.
Additionally, since new mobile devices can generate up to 12% of carbon emissions per year, more companies are shifting their strategies to reuse devices, which can reduce carbon emissions by up to 50%.
Reselling or redeploying devices also contributes to the circular economy, as it extends the device lifecycle and reduces waste.
However, with more devices being reused or resold into the secondary market for reuse, there has been a significant decline in demand for new devices—particularly for smartphones.
Smartphone shipments have been down for the third consecutive quarter, with an overall 9% decline year-over-year.
“The mindset is starting to shift that consumers are expected to hold on to their smartphones longer than usual,” says Michael Cook, Chief Operating Officer at Mobile reCell. “Smartphones have an average refresh cycle of two years. The average user now upgrades their device every three to four years, and this trend will likely continue throughout 2023, given the financial state of the economy. IT leaders should plan accordingly and ensure processes are in place to keep up with demand for refurbishment and redeployment of older technology.”
CIOs and tech leaders will advance sustainable technology and ESG initiatives in 2023 due to financial benefits, rising environmental regulations, and pressure from consumers and investors. It’s predicted that by 2025, 75% of executives will be responsible for sustainable technology outcomes.
Every company utilizes energy and resources to operate, so every company affects—and is affected by—the environment, which is why we must strive to be sustainable in all our efforts.
If positioned correctly, technology can work to combat climate change while contributing to a sustainable solution.
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