Why is sustainability on the agenda of an IT Company?
Not long ago, I was having dinner with some friends, one working in the energy industry, other in banking. At some point the discussion turned to sustainability and environmental issues and one of my friends commented “Well, working for an IT-company, you don’t need to deal with these topics at work”. What? No – so wrong!
The whole perception of not all industries and companies needing to get involved in sustainability is wrong. Sure enough, when working in energy production or with sustainable financing, the scope of how much difference you can make, might be different. But then promoting sustainability isn’t a question of how much or little you can contribute with. Every action counts.
Development to ensure peace and prosperity for people and the planet
It’s a common misconception that sustainability is only about environment and global warming. This is righteously the largest challenge, and as the latest climate change report from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlights, there is much to do and not that much time. But, as the abbreviation ESG, environmental, social and governance, implies, sustainability does involve more and incorporates a profound human aspect.
Living in one of the most equal societies, with a strong labour legislation, we easily neglect topics like diversity and equity. Therefore, having documented policies like Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Sustainable Procurement are important, as they clearly state the company’s standpoint to the subject, what employees can expect from the employer and on the other hand, what is expected of employees.
Coming back to environment, also in software and consultancy industry we do have numerous possibilities to promote environmental aspects. There are big ticket items, like Green Coding, by which we can directly impact on how much energy the code we develop uses. And there are small ticket items, like paying attention to energy consumption in our office and business travelling, exploring possibilities to extend the lifetime of the equipment we use and making sure we have recycling procedures in place.
Work in progress
Something I think we all can agree upon, sustainability is far from ready, we still have plenty of work ahead of us. Promoting sustainability is complex and manifolded. For the environmental aspect, the Paris Agreement sets a tough goal. And when sustainability is also surrounded by controversy, like greenwashing and questionable CO2 calculations, it will require long-term commitment from companies to scrupulously strive for genuine and credible sustainability.
During the past 1 ½ years I’ve had the pleasure of working part-time in our Sustainability team. This has been rewarding both as the topic is of personal interest for me, but also as it has been even more educating than I expected. It’s remarkable how a topic starts to evolve and grow when it’s a regular discussion point. The more my colleagues talk about the topic, the more new and interesting views and facts are brought to the table.
Looking back at our work so far, it was with great pride I could tell my friends that sustainability indeed is on the agenda of our company and something we daily work on.