How Sustainability as a Service aligns with other business priorities

October 29, 20194 minute read

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There are “as-a-service” companies to fulfill just about every hardware, software, and device management need. With the growing need for workplace communication tools, managed print services, e-commerce, and cloud storage, the as-a-service model has emerged as a way for businesses to become more efficient, cost-effective, agile, and scalable. The business benefits of service-based tech are significant, but there are other perks as well—environmentally-friendly bonuses that you can think of as “Sustainability as a Service.” Here are three ways in which service-based solutions are making businesses greener while leaving the bottom line intact.

Reducing employees’ environmental footprint

There are a number of Sustainability-as-a-Service solutions out there that specifically aim to reduce energy usage, such as MACH Energy and EnergyCAP. These tools automate energy tracking, simplify reporting, and identify opportunities for savings within the workplace. However, there are many solutions that aren’t specifically designed for sustainability that can have a similar impact.

Video-conferencing software such as Skype, Zoom, WebEx, and GoToMeeting enables colleagues who are not in the same place to have meetings and collaborate across long distances. Eliminating the need to travel for meetings is not only convenient, but it can improve sustainability efforts, too. Vox notes that, after years of decline, greenhouse gas emissions from travel and transportation in the U.S. are once again on the rise. In addition, the European Commission for Climate Action reports that by 2020, global international aviation emissions will be 70 percent greater than in 2005. By leveraging collaborative software solutions over travel, organizations can significantly reduce their carbon footprint.

Extending product lifespans

Businesses are constantly replacing outdated equipment or broken devices, but they don’t always consider what happens to the old hardware. The University of Columbia’s Earth Institute also reports that e-waste production is on track to reach 60 million tons per year by 2021 and could double by 2050 if left unchecked.

The longer a business can maintain its hardware products, the more sustainable it will be. In this way, Device as a Service (DaaS) or Managed Print Services (MPS) can double as Sustainability as a Service. For example, by repairing devices when needed, HP’s DaaS and MPS offerings help businesses extend product lifespans. Because HP takes care of problems as they arise, organizations don’t have to worry about hardware issues compounding if they can’t repair a device right away. When a device reaches the end of its life cycle, HP will work to ensure that it’s recycled responsibly.

In fact, HP demonstrates transparency in its progress towards company goals with the annual release of its Sustainable Impact Report. Here are some highlights from the latest report:

  • In 2018, HP recycled 133,800 metric tons of hardware and supplies, totaling 395,200 tons since 2016 and is on track for a goal of 1.2 million tons by 2025
  • In 2018, HP used 21,250 tons of recycled plastic in its own products
  • Between 2010 and 2018, the company helped its suppliers cut 1.16 million tons of carbon dioxide output
  • Since 2015, HP has reduced its own greenhouse gas emissions by 41 percent and is on track for a 60 percent reduction by 2025

When making hardware buying decisions, businesses should always consider investing in environmentally responsible technology and look for vendors—like HP—that prioritize sustainability when manufacturing their products.

Migrating operations to the cloud

Thinking broadly, any tool that optimizes workflows can help eliminate waste and costs to deliver Sustainability as a Service. The migration of operations to the cloud has fundamentally transformed the way businesses operate, making it possible to automate key functions, identify inefficiencies, and stay lean. Relying on cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox or Box reduces the amount of hard storage a company needs and streamlines document sharing—which can also reduce the need to print out paper copies. Communication tools like Slack can help employees get work done faster, while a project management tool such as Asana or Basecamp keeps teams organized, on track, and productive. Online billing software and email marketing software—such as Mailchimp—can also promote sustainability by limiting the need to send out paper bills or mailers to customers. Those savings can really add up.

Finding the right service-based solutions is key to the success of businesses today. A provider should be a partner that understands your business needs and supports you in achieving them. Sustainability as a Service may not be your number one priority when choosing a payment processor or an MPS provider, but predictions on climate change make it clear that sustainability shouldn’t be ignored. Fortunately, improving sustainability aligns well with your existing business goals: productivity, efficiency, and employee satisfaction.

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