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2024 Sustainable Tech Trends: Lower Your Carbon Footprint and Appeal To Eco-Conscious Consumers

Modern consumers (especially Gen Z) want the brands they support to adopt eco-conscious business practices. That doesn’t just mean using eco-friendly packaging or delivering with lower emissions.

Read on to learn how to adapt to increasing consumer demands for responsible environmental practices and lower your tech stack’s carbon footprint with the sustainable tech trends that can help you go greener in 2024 and beyond.

It seems strange that the (seemingly) incorporeal internet could affect global warming. The reality is that every cloud computation, search query, image load, and video stream demands energy, and generating that energy emits more CO₂.

According to a report by The Shift Project, it’s estimated that tech contributes 2.3 to 3.7% of global CO₂ emissions (the equivalent to the aviation industry’s total emissions). 

From the ethically questionable way the resources are extracted and manufactured to the energy consumption from billions of people using the tech simultaneously, adopting sustainable technologies is crucial to the health of a company and our future. 

Even though the digital CO₂ footprint contributes to climate change, using sustainable technology can be an ally in reducing its carbon footprint. Insight from Gartner helps describe what “Sustainable Technology” is:

“A framework of solutions that increases the energy and efficiency of IT services; enables enterprise sustainability through technologies like traceability, analytics, emissions management software and AI; and helps customers achieve their own sustainability objectives.”

With that in mind, the following outlines some green technologies and software advancements that help lower carbon footprints.

The bulk of tech’s CO₂ emissions come from the energy necessary to power the technology. One of the best methods for reversing climate change in all sectors is to draw that  energy from clean sources like solar and wind power.

From personal residents to massive commercial enterprises, solar adoption is growing at an inspiringly rapid pace. The EIA estimates that:

Solar power generation will grow 75% from 163 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) in 2023 to 286 billion kWh in 2025. We expect that wind power generation will grow 11% from 430 billion kWh in 2023 to 476 billion kWh in 2025.

Changing how they power technology is one of the first ways businesses can control their carbon footprint. With federal and state incentive programs, it’s also one of the most accessible and economical methods.

Green coding is a computing approach that helps lower an organization’s emission generation by decreasing the energy necessary to process lines of code. According to IBM, the benefits of green coding are ideal for “high-intensity operations” like data centers and manufacturing – any industry can benefit from finding ways to lower CO₂ emissions throughout daily processes.

Traceability is a company’s ability to monitor and trace the journey of product or substance components through the supply chain, in both the processing and discrete manufacturing industries. Tech Target indicates that many industries (like packaged food and pharmaceuticals) are mandated (both nationally and globally) to use traceability. 

Supply Chain Traceability:

  • Expedites troubleshooting
  • Elevates brand reputation
  • Optimizes operational processes

Now that we’ve covered why it matters and some of the main trends in sustainable technology, it’s time for action.

Along with  the many benefits to the environment  achieved by sustainable tech, it’s also great for business. According to Gartner’s 2023 study, adopting sustainable tech:

  • Optimizes costs 
  • Optimizes energy performance 
  • Empowers innovative business models
  • Creates products that better serve customers (and happier customers = better revenue generation)

According to Gartner’s research, an estimated 25% of CIO’s compensation will be tied directly to their impact on sustainable technology by 2027, so it should rank high on leadership agendas.

Where should you start?

One of the biggest strains on bandwidth is poorly optimized page loading. From trying to load high-quality images, stream video content, and even create and process those assets, you must make your visual content strategy more sustainable. 

Cloudinary’s image and video API platform can lower page load times by 40% and makes creating eco-conscious visual content easy and efficient with tools like Image Carbon. Schedule a free demo with one of our experts to learn more.

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