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January 28, 2024 - 7 minutes

Tech in Sustainable Development: Solutions for a Greener Future

A greener future in tech means a better tomorrow.

Ironhack - Changing The Future of Tech Education


As the world changes, we must adapt with it and these changes are trying to tell us something: planet Earth’s inhabitants need to take better care of her. Humans have always had an impact on the world, but our climate has taken a turn for the worse in recent years. In the last century, our society has taken a toll on the environment and now we have to assume the responsibility to ensure that the future of the human race is bright. 

Our society has a need for technology and it’s given us a wide range of tools and devices that are capable of so much more than humanity could have ever imagined. And now thanks to brilliant and innovative minds around the world, technology will not only continue to advance our capabilities, but also aid humanity in our current crisis. But how will technology mitigate, deter, and potentially solve our current climate, resource, and environment problems? 

Let’s take a look at what these companies are doing.

Sustainability in Tech

Sustainability is a trendy word that you often hear at companies, but what does it actually mean? To sustain something or someone, you must hold or maintain whatever it is for a long period of time and when companies and organizations name sustainability, they are referring to how a company avoids damaging the planet and depleting natural resources while conducting their business.

Since tech companies want to make their impact on the environment as small as possible, they have to evaluate, analyze, and develop their business model with intentionality and determination. Some tech companies establish their business with sustainability and greenness at the very heart and soul of their mission statement. 

Other more established tech companies may not have started with sustainability as a main pillar; however, now that being green is an essential moral issue for the majority of people, many corporations decided that it needed to be at the top of their list of responsibilities. But how can they go about making these adjustments?

How Can Tech Companies Be More Sustainable?

Although there are varying types of tech companies, there are some aspects of their businesses that they can inspect more carefully and make the necessary changes to create a greener and more sustainable workplace. Focusing on the following ideas may help them improve their sustainability efforts:

  • Circular economy: some companies need to rethink their business models to add more sustainable practices to it and initiating a circular economy model hones in on the creation of a sustainable and non wasteful process. If a company wants to base their business model on a circular economy, they need to evaluate every part of their process from where their resources come from to how they remove their waste. As the world circular implies, it’s a complete and holistic approach to ensuring that their company is reducing their carbon footprint and water and resource usage and at the same time, promoting a stronger and more interconnected economy, which creates gaps for needs that other businesses can cover. 

  • Triple bottom line: everything good comes in threes and in terms of the triple bottom line, they are asking for companies to focus on three integral components to their business: people, planet, and profit. Yes, profit is on the list too and you may be thinking that sustainability is just about the planet; however, it's also about people and profits and prioritizing them allows companies to make impactful changes on several fronts. Improving conditions for their workers and providing products that are marketed as sustainable and green aid companies in their marketability and as a result, enhance the business overall.

  • Collaboration: there are so many new startups and businesses that take social good to another level because they want to make a change and create a brighter future. As the saying goes, it takes a village, and in the case of making companies more green, collaboration amongst businesses is critical. For example, a company that contributes a large amount of food waste can reduce it thanks to  the help of a startup that redistributes it to community and food centers or compost areas. With so many startups and new companies popping up, there is always one that can be of help and if there isn’t, a new business will soon fill that gap. 

  • Culture: sustainability is a group effort and by incorporating it into a company’s culture, they can show employees of all levels how essential it truly is. If the higher ups want to make their sustainable culture a reality, they have to focus on three actions: accountability, awareness, and education. Providing employees with training programs and professional development makes a huge difference in their perception of sustainability, their awareness of how their actions create a ripple effect, and their determination to take initiative and propose their own green measures. Culture can also design challenges and set goals for teams, creating competitions and team building that benefits the employees and the environment. 

Employees are the true stars that can make a company more sustainable, thanks to their consistent efforts and awareness;businesses simply have to create the environment that promotes teamwork, education, ingenuity, and determination to make the world better one small step at a time. 

Sustainable Tech Companies

There are many tech companies that have taken their mission seriously and established an organization that truly reaches the bar in terms of sustainability. The following tech companies are all doing their part to become as green as possible:

  • Intel: having pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 throughout their global operations, Intel has big goals for the future of sustainability around the world. From 2022 to 2023, they were able to achieve 93% renewable energy, save 9.8 billion gallons of water, and upcycle 67% of their manufacturing waste; Intel’s actions and commitment to sustainability is easy to see when you look at the measures and actions they have taken to make it so.

  • Cisco: similar to Intel, Cisco has also promised to reach net-zero carbon levels by 2040 and are focusing on a three-prong plan to prioritize sustainability: shift to more renewable energy sources, invest in resilient habitats, and transition into a circular model. They have decided to take a holistic approach to sustainability and thanks to their clear sustainability plan, they are paving the way towards a greener business. Intel is even investing and empowering other companies to assist them in following their lead.

  • Fairphone: smartphones are a very disposable item for many; the next model comes out and consumers want the next new device even though their phone works perfectly fine. Fairphone is one of the most sustainable companies according to Greenpeace and they have designed phones that are made not only to last longer, but also to minimize the impact on the environment. They also recycle their own smartphones with the goal of eliminating e-waste. 

  • rePurpose Global: the world relies heavily on plastics that people do not always recycle, but rePurpose Global is a company that has created their Plastic Action platform to aid companies with their plastic waste. They want to contribute to and support the circular economy and by connecting, advising, and educating companies on their plastic use, they will ensure that this model becomes the norm.

  • HP: another tech company giant, HP, is showing how dedicated they are to sustainability by making great progress towards meeting their goals and thanks to all their efforts and transparency, they have even received an “A” rating. As they continue to reduce their water usage and carbon footprint little by little, HP has a plan with three main goals that include: counteract deforestation, construct a fully circular economy, and reduce their emissions. 

  • Klima: while rePurpose Global is more focused on businesses, Klima has made the individual the main character. They have designed an application that allows users to evaluate and analyze their lifestyle and habits, provide feedback that aims to reduce their carbon footprint, show other companies and projects for offsetting, and show how you stack up against your friends. They want to highlight the importance of having everyone work together to battle climate change and that if each individual takes responsibility for their own carbon emissions, we can make a difference.

  • Microsoft: tech companies are all working side by side to reduce humanity’s impact on the environment and Microsoft is also extremely committed to their goal of reaching carbon negative, zero waste, and water positive by the year 2030. In addition to these goals, Microsoft wants to invent a planetary computer that collects and organizes petabytes of data into a catalog, analyzes all of the information with APIs, and provides applications for any global conservationists. By using the power of cloud computing and real data, Microsoft will ensure that the future is sustainable.

These are just a few examples of tech companies that have been pushing the envelope and taking big steps forward in their promise to become more sustainable entities; however, there are so many more that are doing their part to make the world a better place. It’s become a group effort that requires everyone to pitch in and show up.

The planet is trying to show us that we need to make changes now before the situation worsens and the sooner that we can shift our mindsets and take action, the better. Tech companies have begun to truly commit themselves to the cause and they are looking for employees who are as equally determined to join their ranks. If you would like to make a difference and work for a sustainable tech company, look no further than Ironhack’s Bootcamps and you’ll be making a greener world in no time.

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