Digital sustainability should be under the radar

It is crucial to leverage the power of technology for the greater good

In today’s world, sustainability is all the rage. We’re constantly bombarded with messages about saving the planet and doing our part. But there’s a massive gap between what we say and what we actually do.

We need to be honest with ourselves and ask ourselves — are we just spouting off buzzwords like ‘sustainable’ without being held ‘accountable’? It’s not just up to us as individuals. It’s time for companies and governments to get on board too. This means all types of organisations must play an equally important role in contributing to a real change to the sustainability landscape.

Under the soiled limelight

When businesses are not equally held accountable for sustainability issues, it can lead to a lack of transparency and responsibility. For instance, oil and gas companies, manufacturing companies, and automotive companies often come under scrutiny for their impact on the environment. However, it is also important to consider sustainability issues in the digital ecosystem.

In today’s digital age, technology plays a significant role in our lives. From smartphones to data centers, the digital ecosystem has a substantial carbon footprint and can contribute greatly to environmental degradation. The production and disposal of electronic devices, the energy consumption of data centers, and the e-waste generated are all factors that need to be addressed for a sustainable digital future.

Furthermore, the digital ecosystem is not limited to just hardware and devices. It also encompasses the digital services and platforms we rely on daily. The energy consumption of these services, the privacy and security implications, and the responsible handling of user data are all important aspects of sustainability in the digital realm.

Therefore, it is crucial that we expand our focus beyond traditional industries and include the digital ecosystem when discussing sustainability. By holding businesses accountable and promoting sustainable practices in the digital world, we can work towards a more balanced and environmentally conscious future.

Digital first businesses should be held under the axe too

In today’s world, there are several industries that have a significant impact on sustainability. Let’s take a closer look at some of these industries and the specific areas where improvements can be made:

  • Ecommerce: Growth in ecommerce poses sustainability challenges, especially in packaging and shipping. Optimization of materials and supply chain efficiencies can reduce waste and environmental impact.
  • Ride hailing: While transforming transportation, ride hailing contributes to carbon emissions. Companies should prioritize carbon efficiency, promoting electric vehicles, carpooling, and alternative energy sources.
  • Food delivery: Convenience comes with packaging and wastage costs. Sustainable packaging and minimizing food wastage throughout delivery should be promoted.
  • Digital devices: Manufacturing and disposal of digital devices have environmental implications. Focus on responsible manufacturing and proper e-waste management is crucial.
  • Gaming: Online gaming raises concerns about server energy consumption. Optimizing energy use and exploring renewable sources for data centers are essential.

By addressing these specific areas within these industries, we can make significant progress towards a more sustainable future. It is important for companies to take responsibility and implement sustainable practices, while individuals also have a role to play by making conscious choices and supporting environmentally friendly options.

Digital for all and for good

ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) goals play a vital role in driving sustainability in the digital age. These goals go beyond creating shareholder value and focus on creating a positive impact on society and the environment. By aligning business strategies with ESG principles, companies can contribute to a more sustainable future and build a reputation for responsible and ethical business practices. Moreover, if customers consistently prioritize products and services based on their sustainability outcomes, companies stand to gain significant market advantages.

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, it is crucial to leverage the power of technology for the greater good. Digital solutions have the potential to drive positive change and transform the way we interact with the world around us. By harnessing the full potential of digital innovations, we can create a more inclusive and equitable society where everyone has access to the benefits of the digital age.

Featured image: Daniel Funes Fuentes / Unsplash

Astha Kalbag, Analytical Consultant | Strategy, Data and Insights, Google

Astha is a digital-first marketer. She aspires to be a leader who doesn’t just do 'digital marketing' but someone who 'scales a business in a digital age'. She is a sought after international speaker having travelled to and spoken at conferences across the globe. She has also won numerous awards including 'Top 50 people in Digital' and 'Women in AI and Data Analytics' among others. She is the founder of the blog where she writes about marketing, startups, growth and sustainability. She cares deeply about the future of the digital industry and believes that more needs to be done to drive digital equity and sustainability

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