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Green IT: what is it, and why is it in the spotlight?

Green IT is a global movement that aims to minimize the technological footprint in the environment.

The growing popularity of adopting ESG criteria is redefining priorities in companies. The issue is monopolizing the corporate agenda and encourages greater participation by organizations in promoting actions that reduce the environmental footprint – including the active participation of technology sectors through the so-called green IT.

These new values, guided by good sustainability, social, and governance practices, make it clear that sustainable development is an obstacle to companies’ profitability. On the contrary: today, experts say that having a consolidated sustainable pillar is a differential in attracting investors. 

Do you remember the maxim that, in the 21st century, every company would be technology? Well, being one of the biggest drivers of innovation, the Information Technology sectors – the famous IT – could not fail to contribute.

Follow us to the end of the publication to understand what green IT is, why you should invest in it and how to take the first steps towards reducing the technological impact on the environment.

What is green IT?

Green IT refers to a global movement in ​​Information Technology to reduce the effects of technology consumption on productive chains and ecosystems.

The concept involves a set of more ecological practices, including cloud storage, improved energy consumption, modernization of equipment to increase its useful life, and efficient disposal policy.

In a broader context, green IT is part of a movement to raise awareness about the seriousness of climate change and the need to restructure production chains, from the extraction of raw materials to the disposal of materials, contributing to a circular and regenerative economy.

How do I turn my IT into a green IT?

Implementation does not automatically guarantee its green stamp: it is necessary to obtain international certification in a judicial process that demands frequent measurements.

To achieve green IT status, it must comply with ISO 14001, which determines an environmental management system’s requirements. The standard is responsible for measuring the impact of several businesses on the environment.

Why you should pay attention to this

Over time, technological advances have always required a lot of resilience from terrestrial ecosystems. This goes from the era of big machines in industrial factories to computers, peripherals, and electronic components in the digital age.

The impact, of course, is different. But it is part of the current effort to combat climate change to implement even more bold measures to make up for the lost time.

A Gartner study from 2007 estimates that the IT industry was responsible for about 2% of carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions into the atmosphere. As the main protagonist of these figures is the high energy consumption resulting from the equipment production process.

Technological progress helps us to discover solutions that also preserve the environment. But a data as evident as this is also a clear opportunity to reduce the technological footprint.

In addition, in the face of all the business world movement towards ESG criteria, adopting good sustainability practices in IT departments has become a strategic commitment for the entire organization.

What are the benefits of Green IT?

In addition to environmental ethics, there is an economic return from having sustainable management of your IT sector, making the strategy interesting for organizations of all types and sizes.

It is natural for companies with a more modest budget to have difficulty implementing green initiatives; after all, an initial investment is necessary. But as the actions are carried out, the gains in efficiency, productivity, and cost reduction are evident. This saving generates cash flow for new improvements.

That said, for smaller companies, consolidating these sustainable practices, even on a small and micro-scale, sets the stage for significant changes according to the development of these organizations.

Besides, having green IT gives companies strategic positioning, which shows the industry its ability to understand society’s values. The “seal” also improves the reputation of the organization, which is always helpful to attract investors;

In summary, some of the advantages of Green IT are:

  • Reduced and more intelligent energy consumption
  • Increased space in the cloud by freeing space 
  • Reduced cost of the equipment with local servers
  • Modernization of equipment and more extended maintenance periods
  • Increase in performance and productivity
  • Valuing the brand, image, and reputation

Four steps to start transforming your IT

At this point, you already understand the concept and the opportunities involved in adopting green IT. Now, it’s time to understand what practices you should adopt in your department to move in a more sustainable direction.

We have selected 4 points of attention to implementing exemplary practices in your IT department to help you. Check out!

  1. Reduce energy consumption

Does your company use its own physical server? When planning your IT infrastructure, ensure an adequate location so that you can save physical space and energy – especially with air conditioning. That’s right!

It is not news to anyone that a healthy work environment requires a controlled temperature of the environment. For that reason, in several companies, the air conditioning systems’ management is a responsibility of Information Technology. Having obsolete servers/data centers often overwhelms the cooling system to maintain productivity.

Whenever possible, replace old equipment with more modern versions that use less energy. The measure increases the service life and reduces maintenance costs with the machines.

Ah, there is a reason for this to be the first measure: the reduction in energy consumption has immediate consequences and is easily observable.

2. Appropriate disposal 

 Try to reuse materials that are still in good condition to use. In case of a total loss, ensure the proper disposal of equipment, peripherals, and other electronic components outdated at specialized collection points.

3. Scan and dematerialize

This topic’s title could easily be “migrate to the cloud,” but that is not all because we are talking about the transition from physical to digital through data storage in the cloud. This could promote a reflection on even making changes in the business model, from hardware to software (why not?).

4. Privilege partners with the “green seal.”

We mentioned before that green IT can collaborate to improve your organization’s reputation, right? Why not move towards the creation of a sustainable, productive system?

When closing deals, take a careful look at your production and supply chain. Choose suppliers and partners aligned with your company’s positioning, those who follow good environmental practices.

Strategic IT goes through greener IT.

The flood of data has invaded organizations in the last decade. The rise of new technologies and the evolution of techniques to deal with this volume of information demanded that the Information Technology departments have a more significant role.

IT departments had to go through a key twist. Teams that were previously reactive and focused only on execution gained strategic importance, fostering innovation and actively participating in important decisions in the organization.

With the whole world’s attention finally turned to sustainable development, IT gets a new task: to develop more eco-friendly ways to carry out day-to-day activities. Yes, having strategic IT also involves greener IT.

To acquire an increasingly relevant role in companies, it is necessary to set an example. For this reason, IT managers must be willing to provide their departments with the inputs required to promote the adoption of good sustainability practices.

Green IT is good business for Information Technology departments, for companies, for investors, and, of course, for the planet.