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The Importance of Sustainability in the Tech Sector 

Author: Danielle Stewart
Tech Sustainability  Blog

​Do you have any environmental goals for 2022? Are you achieving them?

Earlier this year, Computer Weekly addressed a growing problem in the tech industry that needs to be reiterated: Sustainability (and the lack thereof). 

As consumers, employees, and stakeholders alike start to pressure businesses to make ethical decisions, leaders in the UK technology sector need to sit down and hold an open conversation...

Are you doing everything you can?

Core Aspects of Acting Sustainability

When business growth is well underway, measuring the progress of your sustainability development can seem like a costly and distracting venture.  So, why are 83% of UK technology companies creating and publishing reports? (Source: Sustainability Reports).

1. Legal Compliance

Government regulation in the UK is only getting stricter. To achieve the country’s goal of carbon-zero emissions by 2050, they are holding local businesses accountable for the decisions they make. The new law published early 2022 requires certain companies to publish reports on their climate-related actions (Source: Green Building). Otherwise, they could face hefty fines and even imprisonment. 

2. Human Resource Management & Recruitment

Two-thirds of the UK’s workforce feel it is critically important that the company they work for is committed to acting sustainably (Source: HR Review). Of the survey respondents, over half would be “more likely” to work for one competitor over another, based on the alignment of their personal values with the business's social purpose. In terms of hiring, Forward Role enables businesses to make more sustainable decisions with our Green Talent Solution. We partnered with progressive start-up Greenify, to offer our clients the ability to offset the environmental footprint of their new hires and make a positive impact in the fight against climate change.

3. Client Relations

Almost 90% of global consumers choose to buy from ethical companies (Source: Forbes). In the UK, 66% of consumers consider sustainable firms to be more trustworthy, and 56% have fiercer loyalty to brands that are making an environmental stand (Source: Dr Chris Arnold). Therefore, if technology firms actually want to take advantage of the rapidly scaling market and enable their future growth, they need to invest time and effort into a SMART green strategy.

How Technology Firms Can Act More Sustainability

According to the Computer Weekly article that kick-started the conversation, it seems not everyone is doing their part. UK businesses that are creating sustainability reports (because they have to) aren’t always acting on their findings.

“The fact is that while many technology companies have put significant sustainability goals at the heart of their future vision, others are yet to make significant inroads in the journey towards net zero.” 

Employees and leaders in the space need to be doing more. 

Step 1: Measure Your Environmental Impact

Today, there are two main ways you can measure your company's sustainable development. You can calculate your carbon footprint using this method by Alexandra Shimo Barry:

  1. Multiply your office/factory’s monthly electric bill by 105.

  2. Multiply your office/factory’s monthly gas bill by 105.

  3. Multiply your monthly office/factory’s oil bill by 113.

  4. Multiply your total yearly mileage on any company cars/trucks by 79.

  5. Multiply the number of short (less than 4-hours) business flights colleagues have taken in the past year by 1,1000.

  6. Multiply the number of long (more than 4-hours) business flights you and your colleagues have taken in the past year by 4,400.

  7. Add 184 if you do not recycle paper in your office.

  8. Add 166 if you do not recycle aluminium and tin at your office.

  9. Add 1-8 together. 

The average person produces anywhere between 16,000-22,000 pounds of carbon per year. 

Multiply the top range and bottom range by the number of employees you have to gain a good idea of whether you are over or under. The ideal carbon footprint would span between 6,000-15,999. 

Another alternative for technology businesses is an ESG measure, which “looks at how individual companies impact stakeholder welfare and then translate these financial, social, and environmental impacts into monetary values.” (Source: Kenan Institute).

You would then compare this to either your competitors’ score, a common benchmark in the industry, or your history to see if you are making progress.

Step 2. Set SMART Goals

Now you have a good understanding of where your company is, you need to set a goal to figure out where you want to be. 

You can look at increasing recycling, maximising resource utilization, or actively investing in social, cultural, and economic charities in your local area. Be specific with your intentions, and measure your progress along the way. 

You need to address:

  • Scope 1: The energy you are using.

  • Scope 2: Your indirect emissions (e.g. electricity used by remote workers).

  • Scope 3: Any indirect emission production along your value chain.

Step 3. Develop Solutions

When issues arise, don’t fear. You have technology employees who are capable of being leading innovators. 

If you are producing an excess of carbon because of the equipment you need to program Artificial Intelligence, for example, then start to look into how you can reduce your environmental impact. Recruit passionate environmental employees who can challenge your actions and drive improvement.

Step 4. Grow Sustainably

It’s not enough to only look at the current state of your company, you need to create a plan for the future. As a business grows, so do their emissions. Try:

  • Purchasing energy-efficient equipment.

  • Implementing waste level sensors.

  • Practising closed-loop manufacturing.

  • Reusing materials where possible.

  • Publishing your sustainability reports.

  • Holding yourself accountable.

  • Partnering with environmentally friendly businesses.

When you start to implement sustainability into the core of your technology firm, you’ll be creating a better world,  boosting employee engagement, and developing personal satisfaction.

Doesn’t that sound like a future worth investing in?

Working with Forward Role

For help expanding your horizons and driving change in your industry through ethical and intelligent recruitment, contact us! At Forward Role, you’ll find genuine Marketing, Digital, and Tech experts who care passionately about delivering sustainable solutions for their clients and candidates, such as our Green Talent Solution.

If you're a candidate, we'll treat you the way we'd like to be treated when making an important life decision like moving jobs. If you're a client you can expect exceptional delivery and communication as a matter of course.


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