Sustainable development through environment-friendly technology has been the recent direction of many companies all over the world, and businesses are making strides in spearheading green technology initiatives. This move is very crucial because businesses are catalysts of change; they are influencers who shape consumer lifestyle and behavior. When consumers start to see establishments go green, they, too, are inspired and led to do so in their households and workplaces.
It is interesting to note that big businesses are already doing what they can to imbibe sustainability in their operations. It sets a firm footprint for smaller companies to follow to promote eco-friendly technological innovations too in their respective spheres of influence, no matter how limited their current scope of operations is. In particular, three large companies topped the list in the 2017 Greenpeace Report of business advocates for renewable energy.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, ventured into owning Sidewalk Labs—a business whose main focus is on creating smart-city technologies and building a city from there. They combine the forward-looking view of both urban design and digital technology to develop people-centered communities that enjoy the benefits of being the first mover in sustainable technology, which is not only very mobile but also affordable and economical.
In this city, transportation will be through a next-generation, point-to-point transit system that would bring convenience, safety, and affordability. Houses and buildings would be built using materials that reduce energy consumption, landfill waste, and carbon emissions. More than physical infrastructure, this city promotes digital transformation that could lessen paperwork, encourage collaboration, and improve work efficiency.
This social media giant has already succeeded in using clean and renewable energy in more than 50 percent of their operations in 2017. As they target to fuel 100 percent of their activities with green technology, they are working extensively with other companies and renewable developers to keep making innovative solutions. Depending on the area serviced by their data centers, eco-friendly initiatives also vary.
In Europe, the company has already contracted the largest wind energy procurement to support data centers in Lulea, Sweden, and Denmark. In Iowa, they coordinated with local utility agencies to add wind energy projects in their portfolio. In Nebraska, they worked on a new tariff structure for the purchase of wind energy. In Georgia and Alabama, the company continuously utilizes solar power.
The leading tech company in the world has also achieved milestones in switching to sustainable energy. Since 2013, renewable energy powers all of its data centers. The data centers in Oregon, North Carolina, and Nevada even earned the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the US Green Building Council.
In the company’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, solar panels will blanket the entire roof, and in the event of excess energy from this headquarters, they will sell the surplus to wholesale energy markets. The company is indeed serious in its goal to become more energy-efficient. Meanwhile, it is also working towards reducing its carbon emissions from manufacturing plants up until the actual transport process.
Considering the unfortunate effects of climate change, global warming, and other changes in the environment due to human interventions, having private businesses—especially the industry giants—as allies in the fight towards sustainable development is already a big step towards environmental conservation. The effects of the actions of big companies eventually trickle down the society. Sooner or later, more and more businesses, whether big or small, would also be more open to making the shift towards sustainable development. What better way to promote environmentalism than businesses joining together for a viable cause?