Carbon Neutrality For Technology Businesses

Since announcing our intention a few months ago to become carbon neutral within the next few years, we’ve had a couple of people ask us for more information on how exactly we’re planning on achieving this, and what steps they can take to run their own businesses (and lives) more in tune with the environment.

So here we go…

Everything that’s not ‘Tech’

  • Do everything you can to minimise travel. This is the big one, and it’s probably the hardest to change. If you’re a consulting business like us and your clients are used to seeing you in person every few weeks, getting them used to working remotely is going to take a long time to achieve. Figuring out what should be a short email, what should be a phone call and what actually requires an in-person visit takes a bit of practise to get right, but is well worth the effort. If needed, talk to your clients about reducing travel for environmental reasons, you’ll be surprised at how supportive people are!
  • If you’re renting a virtual or serviced office, pick a provider that prioritises carbon neutrality. If that’s not possible, pick one that has more efficient buildings. In Australia, you can compare buildings with each other by using the NABERS rating system, and most commercial spaces and office providers will list their rating (especially if it’s a good rating)!
  • If you’re renting (or owning) your own premises, not only do you have to care about the building’s efficiency, but there’s also the choice of electricity provider (can you get renewable energy only?) as well as managing the waste streams out of the building. Sending everything to landfill is terrible for the environment in a huge number of ways.

Everything that is ‘Tech’

  • Reduce the purchase of hardware, and when possible, pick hardware that is power efficient. Could you replace your machines every 4 years instead of every 3 years?
  • Pick your cloud computing provider carefully. Microsoft Azure (which we use and recommend) is carbon neutral and has been since 2012. Microsoft as a whole has also recently announced their intentions to be carbon negative by 2030. By moving a lot of our computational infrastructure into the Azure cloud, we automatically get carbon neutrality for free, no thought required.

Finally, once you’ve done everything you can to reduce emissions, it’s time to offset whatever is remaining by purchasing credits. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is a yearly purchase of carbon credits through one of the projects listed on the United Nations carbon offset program page.

These are honestly only a few of the many things that need to be looked at to be carbon neutral, and make an even smaller subset of things to think about when being environmentally responsible in general (remember: single use plastic is a huge problem). However, they are the largest contributors and common amongst most businesses.

Good luck on your carbon neutral journey! Let us know how you’re going in the comments.

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