How can technology help sustainable development?

With new technologies emerging on the horizon, a new ray of light is cast on sustainable development. The Covid-19 pandemic made the entire world slow down but the overall progression hasn’t stopped. On the contrary, technologies sped up their pace which resulted in helping us embrace the ‘’new normal’’ much easier. 

The best thing is that this new set of technologies is helping us reduce our carbon footprint, excessive usage of resources, which is resulting in going more eco-friendly eco-friendly. From AI and robotics, across the renewable energy sources and useful software tools – we are witnessing a transformation of our consciousness along with technology.  Eco-friendly technologies are available to everyone today. They can save you money and also raise your productivity levels.

Instead of feeling blue because this year was challenging, businesses of all sizes decided to go greener. Realizing now how our world is so volatile, and how fast things can change – this is the right time to take steps to a greener future.

Solar panels. Photo courtesy of Unsplash/Jose G. Ortega Castro

Paperless paperwork

Going paperless is also one of the proven ways to add more green to your business routine. Paper is still one of the most “tearable” wastes a company has, and the word “papercuts” has a whole new meaning nowadays.

Think in terms of bureaucracy – unnecessary papers, never ending administration, and then put things into perspective. How many trees were ruined? It is estimated that the average small business company prints at least 50 documents a day. That is a lot of waste.

The benefits of going paperless are numerous. You will reduce waste, all documents will be available at any time as well as anywhere you are which results in employees being more productive.

There are many proven ways to avoid this, thanks to technology. There are useful tools such as Asana, Trello, and Basecamp that could help you reorganize your workflow, schedule meetings, or share important documents via links.

It might sound futuristic but robotic process automation (RPA) is the next big thing so if you run a small or medium-sized business, it is the right time to add more automation to your business processes. 

For example, accounts payable or AP automation – invoicing process is one of the most time-consuming processes in every company. If it is completed manually it can take days and there is always a risk of human error, plus the papers and receipts could be lost in the process. Automating this process can reduce paper use, make your business transactions faster and it can lead to more increased trust and improved relationships between your business partners and customers.

Cloud storage

Cloud storage is not something new but many businesses already realized its great potential. It is connected with reducing waste and excessive use of paper. 

It is estimated that 120,000 sheets of paper can be converted to 2GB and saved online. So a lot of companies switched to a more socially responsible way to do business, saving all the important documents on the cloud. 

It’s still crucial to make sure that you are having an offsite backup of your document archives in the case of a cyber-attack. Keep your data decentralized to avoid losing everything in a single incident.

Renewable energy solutions

Today we have plenty of renewable energy solutions: hydropower, wind power, biomass, and of course, solar power.

If you own a small to medium-sized business, the best way to utilize renewable energy sources to your advantage is by installing solar panels. It is a perfect first step into the green business world.

There is a firm belief that solar panels are too expensive. Also, the aesthetic appeal wasn’t pleasing when they showed up on the market.

Times have changed and solar panels are more affordable today. They are also easy to install, their design is much neater, and they fit perfectly in any style. Another benefit is they will provide a quick return on investment.

Office design can also work to your advantage.  Make sure that your office design is contributing to energy-saving efforts. Wood wool insulation, less artificial light, or wooden materials.  At the end of the day, it will reduce your costs and lessen the overall energy consumption.

When it comes to other renewable energy solutions, hydropower, biomass, and wind power are great but they are currently a better option for larger-scale businesses. For installing wind turbines you’ll need to own your piece of land and a clear territory. This is great for farming businesses for example. 

Wind turbines. Photo courtesy of Unsplash/Karyatid

Internet of things and keeping the eye on things

The Internet of things is also a recent newcomer but it took the business world by the storm. The Internet of things is a network of interconnected devices, sending all the important data to the main database. 

There are sensors on the market today such as Monnit, Sirin, and Worldsensing. How can they help your business go green? These sensors can monitor your electronic devices and can provide you with accurate information when you will need another service or if there is a danger that the device will quit working.

That will help you avoid unpleasant surprises and save you money and time you will use if your workflow is interrupted by sudden breakdowns.

Decreasing carbon footprint by working remotely

For a lot of businesses, working remotely became a reality this year. This is not necessarily a bad thing.  By staying home your employees will reduce CO2 emissions. Cars are of course here to stay but if your employees stay at home and work remotely, it will reduce air pollution. 

A lot of tools emerged from the pandemic panic and Zoom became the most popular tool for meetings. Slack, Skype, and Google Docs also relieved their renaissance and they replaced real-life workplaces with amazing precision.  Home is the most stress-free workplace so your employees will be more productive. If you are not sure, make good use of Hubstaff or Time Doctor.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash/Yasmina H

In conclusion

The best thing is that everything from the above is just the beginning of the green business renaissance. We will witness more changes and technology will continue to shape our ways of doing business. Who knew that getting things more technical will make things better in the end? We are creating a sustainable ecosystem between nature, technology, and humans.

 

This article was written by Jason F. Hopkins 

Jason is a business consultant with a passion for writing. Doing his research, exploring, and writing are his favorite things to do. Besides that, he loves playing his guitar, cooking, and traveling.

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