The Stack Archive Opinion

Earth Day 2018: the tech perspective

Sun 22 Apr 2018

TLC from the tech industry: expert tips on taking care of the planet ahead of Earth Day 2018

Observed by over 190 countries, Earth Day was established with the aim of conserving the planet’s resources and raising international awareness of issues impacting the well-being of the planet and its inhabitants.

From a technology perspective, research has found that digital businesses are created twice as fast as non-digital organisations in the UK. In fact, in London, a new tech business is born every hour. Without a doubt, this extensive growth places IT organisations in a position of great responsibility and influence. It is therefore of the utmost importance that this influential role is used to improve and support wider issues in society.

Here, five industry experts share knowledge and insight on how their organisations strive to contribute to the welfare of the planet, both through internal company initiatives and participating in wider campaigns.

Marianne Calder, VP EMEA at Puppet

“Community is at the very heart of our culture at Puppet. We began, as many new digital companies do, based on an Open Source offering, and over the years the Open Source community has contributed vastly to our innovation. As an extension of this ethos, no matter how fast and in which part of the world we grow, there are always steps that can be taken when striving to give something back to the community.

At Puppet, our Global Service and Volunteering Program was founded with the aim of supporting every employee in their endeavours in making a positive contribution to society or a charity close to their heart. For example, during Earth Day 2018, many of our team members in EMEA will be focused on how to #EndPlasticPolution.”

Tim Arnold, Head of Colocation at Six Degrees

“It is no secret that humans actions are negatively impacting the environmental health of our planet. Specifically, the IT sector is estimated to contribute up to 2% of global CO2 emissions. At Six Degrees, we make it our mission to work toward a greener future. From smart cooling systems to renewable energy sources and low-power servers, we consider the impact to the surrounding area with every decision we make. This Earth Day we cannot emphasise enough the importance of our collective responsibility to protect our planet from the devastating impact of our actions, before it is too late.”

Steve Wainwright, Managing Director, EMEA, at eLearning company, Skillsoft

“Have you ever considered the impact your L&D programme has on the environment?  If your programme is entirely classroom-based and doesn’t utilise any digital learning tools, it is likely not the greenest option.  While classroom-based learning has its place, by offering employees additional online training tools, natural resources are conserved in many ways.  For example, less fuel is used by employees travelling by car, train or air to take classes, and less paper is used because more courses and materials are online rather than physical.  The U.S. alone cuts down approximately 68 million trees every year just to make paper and associated products.  Striving to create a paperless office is one of the best ways to reduce your organisation’s carbon footprint and help the environment.

Thinking green when it comes to training can also benefit your company’s reputation and productivity.  A study by PwC found that almost three-quarters of people across the globe want to work for an organisation with a strong social conscience.  By investing in eLearning, companies are not only showing their commitment to a green, paperless office but increasing their likelihood of procuring the best talent.”

Chris Powell, CMO at Commvault

“Earth Day 2018 should serve as a reminder – to activists and tech companies alike – about how we should all be thinking about protecting our natural world and helping to counteract climate change. At the beginning of 2018, Robert Swan, founder of the 2041 Foundation, gathered together a group of explorers (of which I had the privilege of being one), to take part in the South Pole Energy Challenge. This was the first ever mission to the South Pole that relied completely on ‘clean energy’.

Although the expedition itself was a success, the 2041 Foundation would not have been able to continue in raising global awareness around climate change, if it were not for the huge amounts of data it collected during the mission. Temperature, GPS, video footage, images; all of this data was paramount to the success of the challenge. It is data that continues to hold the key to the long-term, successful endeavour of the 2041 Foundation’s core mission – to combat climate change.

Technology companies who are willing to partner with important organisations, such as the 2041 Foundation and others doing similar work, are in their own way contributing to a globally important narrative that started with the heroic polar expeditions of Scott and Amundsen back in the early 1900s, and will hopefully continue long after 2041.”

Hubert Da Costa, VP EMEA at Cradlepoint

“Advances in connectivity are improving efficiency in cities – leading to a smarter, greener and more efficient world.  In ‘smart cities’, connected streetlights acting as information networks will soon form a pillar of connectivity for other smart city services.  Parking maps will be updated and traffic patterns guided in real time, minimising the effect of traffic and pollution.  Environmental departments will have access to live readings of pollution levels and wildlife counts, as well as the ability to remotely collect and examine water samples and predict usage patterns.

By connecting sensors and devices to wireless networks, public services have a greater level of control and a more in-depth method of data collection than ever before.  With advances in connectivity, the potential for continued improvement for the environment is huge”

Michel Spruijt, General Manager, EMEA, Ergotron

‘As vocal advocates of regular, low level movement throughout the day to combat so-called ‘sitting disease,’ we absolutely support the concept of transport being ‘powered by humans’ rather than emissions-exhaling vehicles.  Incorporating low level movement to the day reaps multiple benefits for the individual as well as the environment.  Increased productivity, increased energy throughout the day and cleaner air to breathe are three very good reasons for people to start looking at ways they could swap in a walk, a cycle or even a run instead of sitting in a car, bus or train.’


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