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Sustainability in the Hi-tech Industry


The entire globe is aiming towards emission reduction and sustainability. Every sector is boosting its green score year-on-year by switching over to renewables, efficient practices, better technology, and innovation. Mega model Gisele Bundchen and actor Leonardo DiCaprio are active sustainability endorsers.

What is Hi-tech sector’s stand in sustainability?

Many might wonder how a Hi-tech company can contribute towards pollution and environmental degradation. The reason being Hi-tech companies do not consume 20 units of water for every unit of production like the paper Industries; they don’t burn fuels like thermal and manufacturing sectors, nor do they send gallons of dirty waters into the rivers and streams like textile and dying industries. But Hi-tech companies do contribute to pollution in their own way.

How does a Hi-tech firm contribute towards pollution?

With such an enormous man power, every Hi-tech firm consumes massive amount of energy and water. The IT parks run day and night and along with them runs every desktop, laptop, air conditioning systems, networks, applications and other tech gadgets within the building. These systems not only exhaust power but ooze out CO2 too. Every year the internet releases approximately 300 Million tonnes of CO2, which is equivalent to the entire coal, gas and oil burned in Poland or Turkey or more than half of fossil fuels consumed in US.

The Hi-tech sector accounts for about 2% of the of the Green House Gas emissions globally which matches with the emission rates of the aviation industry. It is estimated that, this rate will double up to 4% by 2020.1

With such large scope for sustainability, the Hi-tech sector is marching ahead to cut down their emission and consumption rates without compromising their progress.

Are there any challenges for Hi-tech sustainability?

Yes, Government norms regarding sustainability are getting stingier. But companies have gone beyond these mandatory norms and are achieving higher ratings in their sustainability score card.

Zero paper policy, minimizing business travels, seat optimization, LED lights, automated temperature controllers, E-waste management and switching over to renewable grid for power are few initiatives that fuel their sustainability track.

One of the most energy consuming arena in Hi-tech field is the data center. Tremendous amount of energy is required to maintain the temperatures within these centers to keep the machineries with in them running.

What are the solutions for these challenges?

Centralized data centers and cloud computing have contributed heavily for the sustainable progress of the Hi-tech industry. One big boon with the sustainable IT is that it doesn’t end within the industry, it helps other sectors to boost their green trail as well.

The Global e-Sustainability report says that the Hi-tech sector has the potential to help the agricultural sector to increase yield by 30%, save over 300 trillion liters of water and preserve 25 billion barrels of oil, along with generating around USD 11 trillion of revenue every year, by 2030. It is a good news that with evolving technology, the sustainability platform is also evolving and many firms are embracing them.

What are the sustainable measures you have adopted for your organization?

Karthikayeni Kanakasabesan

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