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  • 30 April 2014
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How technology can make your business greener

As energy costs continue to rise around the world, more and more businesses are looking to become more sustainable, both in the ways they do business and in the ways they serve their customers. And the good news is that new technologies are making this process easier than ever. Below, we consider a few technologies that will not only help your business be greener, but also more cost efficient:

Cloud computing

Designed to store information over a network rather than on individual computers, cloud computing is popular for many reasons: It makes data more secure, it reduces costs, it improves accessibility and, also notably, it helps a business go greener.

“Over the last decade cloud computing has become the dominant practice in the business world for data storing, online resourcing and collaboration,” says Reanna Gutierrez in an article at U.S. Green Technology. As the increasingly popular technology of cloud computing boosts the efficiency both of operations and energy use for businesses, it also boosts sustainability, by reducing a firm’s need for printed documents, lowering its overall power consumption, requiring less office space and making remote networking (i.e., without the time and financial costs of travel) simpler.

Online statements

By offering online statements rather than printed ones, companies can save enormous amounts of paper over time. Online statements, communication, file sharing, etc. may all be managed via technology, eliminating wasted paper and conserving natural resources in the process.

Mobile payments

Mobile payments offer a convenient, user-friendly way to simplify payment processing — both for businesses and for their clients. According to one study published by Boston Consulting Group in December 2012, mobile money is a significant technology-enabled way to reduce emissions. “The reduction is more than 16% higher than the estimated saving in a study conducted in 2008,” an article in CIO East Africa explained. “The report indicated that large amounts of emissions are generated as a result of unnecessary travel to access banking services in Africa. This includes emissions from the use of private and public transportation and, in the long run, additional road infrastructure, more public vehicles and increased banking infrastructure requirements.”

Video conferencing

Today’s business world is increasingly mobile, both because of jobs that keep staff members on the road and because of telecommuting remote workers. “With more workers telecommuting, wireless technology can help businesses and their employees create a mobile office anywhere,” says Mike Maiorana at The Business Monthly. This brings a host of benefits, like “reducing fuel use, travel time and other overhead costs, such as real estate and energy, and often improving productivity.”

Apps

Today’s mobile world is packed with business-benefiting apps that not only help firms become more streamlined and efficient but also benefit the planet. Consider the following examples:

  • Wunderlist: Designed to boost productivity through streamlined, shareable, non-paper to-do lists, Wunderlist is an app already downloaded by six million users. Once it’s downloaded to your team members’ phones, it makes it wonderfully simple to collaborate on projects. Through shared projects, team members may create and assign tasks, set reminders and notifications and track everything anywhere they go.
  • Battery Doctor: Extending the battery life of company smartphones means less time using power at the office. With a free app like Battery Doctor, staff members gain a battery-saving tool that can extend battery life by up to 50%. The way it works is by suggesting changes (i.e., decreasing screen brightness, disabling unused apps, etc.) that will conserve power.

Multi-user appliances

Investing in eco-friendly appliances is a smart step for businesses, both because of the reduced monthly costs and because of the benefits for the environment. “It has been estimated that small businesses now spend more than 10% of their annual turnover on energy bills, so reducing your energy output has financial as well as ecological incentives,” says the startups team at Startups.co.uk. “Assess how hard your computers work — if you are a web designer or graphics company, your employees may need a computer each, but if you only use your computers for word processing and internet browsing you may want to consider a multi-user system … which allows up to seven users to be connected to it at once.”

With so many helpful resources available today to businesses, there’s never been a better time to streamline operations and go greener in the process. From efficient appliances to efficient communication, companies of all sizes can reduce their carbon footprints by utilising the technologies in this post.