Episode 6: Tech boundaries, Planet earth alert

November 3, 2021

How technology is impacting the earth’s ecosystem, discussed in our sixth episode of “Unscripted Tech” 

Global warming, sustainability, and technology. These 3 concepts are intertwined, and explored in detail in our newest episode of “Unscripted Tech.”

In the last 70 years, the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector has gone through a rapid growth. The fast tech evolution demands more capital to satisfy the expansion of the industry, as a result it takes a toll on our planet and people. Recently, it’s been considered that one of the elements contributing to environmental changes is precisely ICT, with a growing “carbon footprint” arising from greenhouse gases (GHG) released from all its life cycle stages.

Resources are limited, and each process, including information transfer, storage and device production, is energy consuming. That’s why, as every other industry and sector, the ICT must keep their greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. 

Although a great number of companies have taken the necessary measures to address this, there are many aspects of the IT and communication industry we may have never thought about: a report by the French think tank The Shift Project, Green Watch, states that streaming 30 minutes of high-definition content on Netflix can result in significant greenhouse gas emissions.

Technologies appear right now as both a tool and a challenge towards a shift for a low carbon economy. So, how can it stay sustainable for both the present and the future?

Listening to the experts

Elena Morettini, head of the Sustainable Business Studio at Globant, says technology in fact can help reduce global warming and stop the massive pollution that their industries produce.

Nelly Ortiz, senior director in the business hacking studio, confirms that, there are no excuses left, we are aware that our digital progress is impacting the environment, now our planet is a stakeholder for every business decision we make and this is the path that will allow us using technology to have a better planet.

Morettini adds that technology even hands us measurable parameters, like the CO2 content of our atmosphere. As an example of this, is the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, recording CO2 concentration through mass spectrometry. Technology helps us understand where we stand regarding our atmosphere.

That’s why every business, company, and organization has the opportunity to focus on taking the advantages of technology to help reduce CO2 emissions, while building strategies to mitigate the pollution from tech related industries. Globant, Morettini explains, uses a digital carbon twin called Navigate:

“Through a platform called Navigate, we can measure the budget of CO2 associated to every step of a process. So whichever process you decide to map may that be in an industry or in an organization, there will always be a carbon footprint associated to it because unfortunately, we do produce carbon footprints with the majority of the actions we take. But now those actions can be mapped, so we can understand about any process what its final carbon budget would be.”

Ortiz highlights that this tool can also help map and measure other things, not only carbon, and that every business will benefit both ecologically and financially from being sustainable: 

“You’re actually reducing your own costs as a company and you are assessing how you optimize your energy. How do you optimize your people? How do you optimize your resources? So then you’re not just better for the planet, but you’re better as a company…”

Wrapping it up

Business sustainability is the next inevitable step for every business. It’s been argued that by limiting global carbon, ICT would be a greater enabler of productivity and utility for its sector and others, creating opportunities by decarbonizing and reaching financial success as well as fulfilling the goal of becoming net zero.  

Listen to our podcast episode to learn more about green KPIs, sustainable business hacking, and circular economy here.

To hear more from Elena Morettini, register for Converge

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To be ready and stay relevant in the new green economy, companies need different rules, processes and expertise. The Sustainable Business Studio provides organizations and stakeholders with the tools and know-how to build their climate roadmap in favour of just transitions and climate actions. We support organizations embracing a problem-solving approach based on Agenda 2030 to achieve responsible business.