There's a growing challenge worldwide to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. With the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasting record levels of carbon dioxide emissions in 2023, the time to act is now.
Large organizations are essential in this push because of their significant carbon footprints and influence in global supply chains.
Implementing net zero strategies is one of the most effective ways to achieve this goal. Here are ten ways to make your net zero strategy as effective as possible.
- Conduct a carbon footprint analysis
- Set an emissions reduction target
- Increase renewable energy use
- Optimize data center efficiency
- Implement circular IT practices
- Utilize energy-efficient hardware
- Focus on IT asset disposition
- Implement sustainable procurement practices
- Invest in carbon offset projects
- Engage with stakeholders and encourage sustainable behaviors
1. Conduct a carbon footprint analysis
The first step businesses can take in net zero strategies is understanding the current level of carbon emissions associated with your organization's processes.
Conducting a thorough carbon footprint analysis to identify the sources of emissions and their magnitude can provide a foundation for developing a comprehensive emissions reduction strategy.
2. Set an emissions reduction target
After completing your carbon footprint analysis, you'll want to set a science-based emissions reduction target. A science-based target aligns with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
Your target should cover all emissions associated with your processes, including that of your supply chain.
3. Increase renewable energy use
One of the best ways to reduce emissions for your business is by increasing renewable energy use. This can involve on-site renewable energy generation, like solar and wind power, or purchasing renewable energy from third-party providers.
Transitioning to renewable energy will reduce your reliance on fossil fuels and significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
4. Optimize data center efficiency
Data centers are often a significant source of emissions and energy consumption for large organizations. Optimizing the efficiency of data centers using advanced cooling and power management technologies can reduce their total energy consumption.
Cloud-based solutions can also reduce the reliance on data centers by removing the need for on-site centers, further decreasing emissions.
Data centers are expected to consume 20% of the world's power supply by 2025, so it's a necessity that they become more resource efficient. Removing outdated data center hardware by decommissioning gives you control over the associated energy consumption and costs.
As your business evolves, your data center must follow. When the time comes to decommission unnecessary data center hardware, ensure your resources will be handled safely and securely by choosing a reputable IT asset disposition (ITAD) partner. From cage clean-outs to the disposition of retired data center equipment, there's a range of options available regarding data center decommissioning.
5. Implement circular IT practices
The improper disposition of IT assets significantly contributes to the rising global electronic waste problem — just 35% of e-waste is officially reported as collected and recycled. Introducing circular IT practices, such as refurbishing and repurposing assets or recycling components, can help to close the loop on your IT assets.
A circular economy cuts greenhouse gas emissions by:
- Reducing waste and pollution, lowering GHG emissions across the value chain
- Retaining the energy inside circulated products and materials
- Regenerating nature
6. Utilize energy-efficient hardware
Energy-efficient hardware such as laptops, desktops and servers can significantly reduce energy consumption throughout a company, cutting the emissions produced.
Selecting energy-efficient hardware and implementing power management settings can substantially reduce emissions and operational costs, as you'll be using equipment with a lower power draw.
7. Focus on IT asset disposition
IT asset disposition helps your company significantly contribute to the IT circular economy and reduce emissions. The disposition of end-of-life IT assets will contribute to your company's overall sustainability strategy in several ways.
- Reducing e-waste and its environmental impact through disposition, recycling and repurposing your IT assets
- Extending the lifecycle of your assets by refurbishing and reselling equipment, reducing the need for new purchases and conserving resources
- Minimizing the environmental footprint of IT operations by reducing the GHG emissions and energy consumption of outdated and inefficient equipment
- Demonstrating your company's commitment to sustainability and contributing to the business' CSR goals and brand reputation
Partnering with a reputable IT asset disposition partner can help you achieve all the above and more, including secure and compliant data destruction.
Looking for help choosing your next partner? Visit our blog post on what to look for in an ITAD company here.
8. Implement sustainable procurement practices
Sustainable procurement practices can significantly reduce company emissions associated with producing and transporting services and goods.
Select suppliers that prioritize sustainability, such as those with a circular business model or using renewable energy. Partnering with local suppliers can also reduce transportation-related emissions.
9. Invest in carbon offset projects
Carbon offset projects, such as renewable energy projects or reforestation, remove or reduce GHG emissions from the atmosphere. Investing in these projects can help organizations offset emissions that can't be eliminated via internal emissions reduction efforts.
Your company can also purchase carbon offsets to count against your carbon footprint. Alphabet, the parent company of Google, eliminated its entire carbon legacy by purchasing high-quality carbon offsets in 2020, making it the first major company to have a lifetime net carbon footprint of zero.
10. Engage with stakeholders and encourage sustainable behaviors
Engaging with your company stakeholders, such as customers, employees and investors, can help to build support for your overarching emissions reduction effort and sustainability strategy.
Engagement can come in the form of:
- Communicating emissions reduction targets and your progress
- Collaborating with stakeholders on sustainability initiatives
- Gathering feedback on your initiatives
- Encouraging sustainable behaviors from your employees
How to ensure a sustainable disposition process
Sustainable IT asset disposition can go a long way towards achieving your overarching sustainability goals, and placing importance on getting it right can make a big difference.
However, knowing where to start can be difficult and implementing initiatives can take time.
Thankfully we've put together a checklist you can use to maintain socially and environmentally responsible procedures throughout the disposition process. Click below to start working towards a more sustainable future.