Technology’s role in environmental conservation is a controversial topic. On the one hand, technology, such as our mobile devices and the internet, does have an alarming impact. According to the Sustainable Web Manifesto, if the Internet was a country, it would be the 4th largest polluter.
On the other hand, we have digital sustainability. Since there is no going back to a pre-digital world, digital sustainability promises to help us have a positive impact. It's also a chance to incorporate sustainable and profitable practices for businesses.
Digital sustainability means using digital technologies responsibly and sustainably to minimize their negative environmental impact. Even more importantly, it means maximizing their positive contributions to society. It involves integrating sustainability principles into the design, development, and use of digital systems, services, and infrastructure.
For example, a transportation company uses a solution that collects data from various systems, such as a truck board. The solution has a feature for fuel consumption optimisation that has been developed by considering variables related to transportation routes.
Using those variables, the solution can surface the most cost-effective routes for drivers. It also keeps an eye on greenhouse gas emissions.
Digital transformation implies using more technology to conduct day-to-day business operations. However, this can harm the environment if it’s not done efficiently. Digital sustainability wants to ensure that digital transformation is viable in the long term. It’s also important due to:
Digital sustainability is crucial for creating a sustainable and inclusive digital future.
One of our clients is an independent engineering consultancy company located in the Netherlands. They provide services for thermal energy projects for different clients in the industrial and geothermal development areas. We’ve developed two sustainable solutions for them.
First, they needed us to create a solution that allows their clients to keep an overview of their soil energy systems. They also needed to view energy performance reports. This opens up the possibility for clients to easily check whether a system adheres to the data limits or not.
Secondly, another solution addresses the company’s need to explore all relevant external and internal information related to thermal energy systems. The solution centralises data invaluable to their work and enables them to address the lack of knowledge continuity and time waste. Most importantly, the consultants are able to give better advice to their clients.
This is a great example of sustainable technology. It enables not only the company to become more efficient but also to extend those benefits to their clients.
According to the Sustainable Web Manifesto, working towards a more sustainable internet means creating a clean and efficient environment. This is also to be accessible and transparent. Here are a few ideas for setting sustainability goals and improving sustainability:
The first and one of the most important steps is to assess your current digital sustainability status. Here are just a few questions to ask:
The Great Energy Transition aims to bring renewable energy to the forefront, especially regarding businesses and their energy needs. For example, a more sustainable infrastructure could use:
Of course, this also means using greener solutions, which we will discuss next.
As seen in the example above, digital tools can help you reduce carbon emissions and be more resource efficient. However, you don’t need to be a sustainable engineering company to have a positive impact. Here are a few examples:
Of course, as technology advances, so can your ESG initiatives. The important part is to start somewhere.
According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 6 people have a significant disability. A more sustainable internet is also a fairer one, with equal access and open exchange of information. It’s also important to allow site visitors to control their data.
Working with a trusted IT company is a great starting point for protecting your clients’ data. It should be high on your list of requirements. Look for companies with certifications such as ISO 27001 that can help you mitigate any security risks.
Qubiz is a one-stop-shop technology partner, covering the whole application lifecycle, including functional design and consulting, software architecture design, UX/UI design, software development, QA, and maintenance.
We’re dedicated to supporting business transformation and continuity. We have experience in building sustainable digital solutions in various industries, such as energy, healthcare and logistics.
Digital sustainability is a major theme of ICT Spring 2023. ICT Spring is a global tech conference that will take place between June 29-30 in Luxemburg. Our colleague, Botond, is more than happy to meet and discuss if you’re interested in applying digital sustainability in your organisation.