Although Technology is a powerful force in driving progress, it can also have a detrimental impact on the environment. Tech companies are at the forefront of innovation and are often seen as first movers, so it is important for consumers to hold them to a sustainable standard. Big tech has become an integral part of everyone’s personal and professional life which creates a heightened awareness of what those companies do.
Since the tech industry has a continuous cycle of consuming and releasing energy, it is important to adopt sustainable practices. A study in 2018 predicted that if the trends in the information and communication technology (ICT) industry continue at the current rate, the field will constitute 14% of global carbon emissions by 2040. The tech industry is also primarily fossil-fuel driven.
Statistics on Sustainability in the Tech Industry
The Survey of Sustainability Reporting at Technology Companies benchmarks technology companies against other sectors and the world’s 250 largest companies.
- 83% of technology companies now report on sustainability. This is similar to other industries but lags the benchmark set by the world’s 250 largest companies (96%).
- Half of technology companies acknowledge the risk of climate change in their financial reporting. While this is higher than the overall industries average (39%), it is still below the mark set by the world’s 250 largest companies (56%).
- Just 24% of technology companies report in line with the recommendations of the TCFD (Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures), placing them between the overall industries average (18%) and the world’s 250 largest companies (37%).
- Only 44% of technology companies link their carbon reduction targets to global climate goals, trailing the overall industries average (55%).
- While not currently considered a sector at high risk due to biodiversity loss, just 9% of technology companies recognize biodiversity loss as a risk in their reporting.
Google is the front runner in committing to utilizing renewable energy sources being the first to go carbon-neutral in 2007. Their goal is to operate on carbon-free energy, everywhere, 24/7, by 2030. Google is also pursuing the reuse of finite resources across their operations, products, and supply chains in a commitment to circular economy. By 2030, Google will replenish 120% of the water consumed, and they are actively supporting water security and ecosystems where Google operates.
Microsoft is on a journey to be zero waste by 2030, aiming to create devices built with integrity and reduced carbon impact across their life cycles. For FY21-FY22, Microsoft saw 2.5M metric tons of carbon removal procured, 1.3M cubic meters of water saved, and 4 datacenters Zero Waste certified, 2 recertified.
Dell’s goal is that by 2030, for every product a customer buys, they will reuse or recycle an equivalent product. 100% of Dell packaging will be made from recycled or renewable material. More than half of Dell product content will be made from recycled or renewable material. Dell Technologies is working across their entire value chain to reduce emissions across all scopes, achieving our net zero target by 2050.
A Greener Future
Although tech companies still have a way to go in sustainability practices, it is encouraging to acknowledge the progress already made and the goals they are continuing to pursue for a greener future.