The Internet has enabled massive dematerialization of traditional brick and mortar industries through the emergence of online services such as shopping, banking, communication and entertainment. Online businesses have undeniable advantages over their physical counterparts, but the Internet has a big environmental impact as well. The devices that are needed for running an online business (servers, routers, etc.) consume energy and without proper optimization these operations can be both energy and cost inefficient, damaging the environment and the business itself. Being energy efficient is one of the biggest tasks for both traditional and online businesses today, but the key lies in carbon footprint reduction. A recent example from one of the major Internet companies has shown that monitoring and controlling the carbon footprint can not only make your business greener, but also help optimizing energy consumption and operational costs. In other words, carbon footprint reduction saves you money.
Akamai Technologies is a content delivery network, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Being one of the biggest Internet companies with a worldwide customer base, the company has always strived to deliver innovative and quality products and services to its customers. The same can be said about its management practices and models. Since 2008 the company has started several initiatives in attempt to address and manage the environmental impact of its operations. Such is, for example, managing the e-waste, which comes in the form of old and obsolete equipment that is no longer needed. With this programme Akamai managed to turn costs into assets (by recycling and reselling equipment with residual value) and limit the damaging effect of electronic waste on the environment. Another part of their sustainability initiative was tracking the carbon footprint in their operations.
In most companies and industries the carbon footprint reflects the energy consumption and the operational costs. So, by tracking and analyzing the footprint companies can find a way to optimize the expenses for energy and other operational costs. Additionally, such optimizations lead to carbon footprint reduction, which makes the business greener and more environmentally responsible. Historically, energy had been a small part of the operational costs of a typical tech company, but the picture has changed in recent years, with the rise of the energy prices. Akamai states that carbon foot print management has helped in accumulating enough data to successfully identify opportunities both to improve operational efficiency and to lower costs.
Carbon footprint reduction is a clear indication of more efficient and optimized operations. But it also has one added benefit. Reduced carbon footprint means that your business have better public image and more customers are likely to find your products and services attractive. In times of increasing environmental awareness, “green” is a quality stamp. And the greener your business is the better. Consumers prefer using services and buying products of companies, which have proved time and again their environmental responsibility. Such behavior is easily understandable, since by spending their money on green products, consumers pay their contribution to the environment. It’s the simplest thing that anyone can do, but it’s also consumers’ biggest strength. You’ve heard the expression: consumers vote with their wallets. In this case, they will always choose to vote “green”. And that’s why initiatives like Akamai’s sustainability programme can also have great marketing and PR effect, in addition to being great business management practices.
The bottom line is that carbon footprint management is a valuable model for your company for many reasons. With its help you can find opportunities for crucial savings and optimizations, while ensuring good reputation and public image. And on top of that you are preserving our planet. It’s yet another reason to try achieving carbon footprint reduction.