By James Millichip, Azure Technical Lead
Our planet is in crisis. Climate change has featured in the World Economic Forum’s top five global risks every year since 2011. In the wake of the pandemic, 9 in 10 people are now equally, or more, concerned about the environment.
'Never let a crisis go to waste'
Being a green business isn’t just about doing what’s right for the world. According to Forrester, “The ROI of sustainability extends to more than just goodwill. It is tangible green money that comes from optimisation, people, and technology all put together.”
While sustainability is a core principle that Claranet was founded on 25-years ago, it’s only now we’re seeing it become mainstream. Within the procurement process we’ve seen RFPs prioritise sustainability, because organisations want the security of knowing members of their supply chain operate a green business.
It’s an amazing opportunity to increase the importance of sustainability on the corporate agenda.
Green transformation doesn't happen overnight
Sustainability is a journey. When the majority of Boards discuss strategy over a five-year period, ideally sustainability needs to be on the agenda so it can be considered ahead of the RFP. For sectors that produce high emissions, like IT, manufacturing and utilities, sustainability has long been a priority discussion – but that’s not true for every sector.
So, how can you start the conversation?
Less than 1 in 10 Board members are considered ‘climate confident’, meaning they know enough about climate change to understand how it could affect their business. To gain their attention and engage them in a conversation they feel confident to have, rather than lead with sustainability, begin with a topic every person across every business in every sector understands: profitability.
Change the conversation around sustainability
Many green business initiatives have the potential to fulfil multiple goals. For example, reducing your carbon footprint is good for the environment, but it also:
- Immediately saves on energy costs (good for your company).
- Makes you a green business (good for your customers).
- Involves employees so they feel empowered (good for your people).
It’s time to change the way we talk about technology, and position it as the enabler for sustainable business transformation. Many organisations have done this by adopting a ‘triple bottom line' to account for: people, planet and profit.
Consider the case of cloud for good. Cloud was always in our future, but the pandemic has accelerated adoption. Furthermore, 2 in 3 millennials say they would quit their job if their employer had no ambition beyond profit. Migrate to Microsoft Azure Cloud to ingrain sustainability into the way you work, reduce your carbon footprint by up to 98%1 and achieve 93% energy efficiency. Microsoft’s Carbon Calculator can quantify your exact carbon emissions savings and help you become more transparent about your environmental impact.
Use digital transformation to positively impact the sustainability challenge
We have recently produced a whitepaper highlighting the opportunities that come from sustainable digital transformation. Share this internally and help build a case where ‘green business’ is not something you do, it’s what you can become. Get the whitepaper here.
 “Sustainability. Good for Business. Executive Playbook - 2021 and beyond”, Commissioned by Microsoft and authored by EY.