Environmental awareness pays off big time for tech companies

This decade has brought more environmental awareness among both individuals and larger corporations; today it is a hot topic worldwide and looking for ways to curb energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions has become a dire necessity. In searching for outlets to become more efficient businesses have had to work together, cross genre boundaries so to speak, and in uniting have tapped into creative solutions that benefit both ends. Up until this most recent Deepwater Horizon oil spill not many would have thought oil refiners would have such an interest, and investment, in algae and developments on that end; although in fact this has been going on for some time and is in turn just one such example of a collaboration.

Still, in getting back to environmental awareness, another draw is that businesses have more than just the benefit of thinking green as motivation but they also have much to save. The yearly Ceres conference that transpired in Boston this past Thursday was making that point infinitely clear; companies such as Intel and General Electric have already proven that through investing in environmental sustainability and energy technology they have come out on top and are still gaining momentum. Intel’s Eco-Technology Group has in a years’ time come up with ways so that “now what we deliver is performance, cost, and energy-efficiency improvements,” explains Lorie Wigle who is the team’s general manager. This has included incorporating the microprocessors of the brand into electric vehicles, home energy management, renewable energy, and more efficient computing.

A model that these businesses are looking to is one similar in what has already transpired in other areas: as more focus is being put on sustainability wind turbine and solar technology have become more refined, more cost effective, and in turn able to speed up productivity. GE’s environmental awareness has evolved into Ecomagination where they have seen a return of $70 billion from an initial investment of $5 billion in under five years. This has meant an overhaul in not only how things are made but how things are run; for that reason GE has heavily promoted green programs and amending company policy. Points out Chris Mines who works as the research director and vice president of Forrester Research, “We’re at a moment now where sustainability has flipped so that it’s not looked at as something run by a group of specialists.” By making these practices more accessible they then can be parlayed into more energy efficient computers and encompassing how they are packaged, such is the case with Dell, along with scrutinizing how data centers are run.

The fact is that in putting sustainable technology and green energy as the focus what comes hand in hand with that is the economic incentive. Environmental awareness should be a big enough motivating factor but unfortunately in some instances that alone may not always be the case, so it is worth stressing the two are linked. As individuals one can back these green efforts by showing there is a high demand for such products and backing companies that restructuring their products and business models.

Photo credit: Dorena WM