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How Technology Will Make a Sustainable Impact in the Future

Will the technological revolution bring with it a more sustainable future?

As businesses transition to increasingly digital operations, they typically increase their efficiency. There’s an argument to be made that the shift, in addition to fueling business growth, also cuts the number of resources they use. This, in turn, may limit the potential impacts they have on the environment, their employees, and their customers.

In addition, new technologies may help certain industries anticipate the impacts of looming environmental issues, then intervene to safeguard the populace from harm.

This article will take a look at some of the ways in which business technology can be a tool for sustainable change, along with examples of how you might be able to implement sustainable technologies to improve your own workplace.

Technology and Sustainability, Intertwined

At first, it may seem like trends in business technology do nothing more than help companies cut costs and make more money. A closer examination, however, reveals how technological change may have rippling effects that improve environmental outcomes.

Take the ride-sharing industry, for example. The advent of services like Uber and Lyft has led to an increase in vehicle congestion and carbon emissions in many American cities. This is because they displace low-impact forms of transport like public transit and biking.

These harmful effects on the urban environment, however, could be curtailed with the use of two emerging technologies: electric vehicles and artificial intelligence. By adopting electric vehicles for their fleets, these businesses could drastically reduce their carbon footprint to more closely match the low emissions of mass transit options.

The implementation of AI on top of that might then allow them to offer fully automated rides with optimized routes. These companies could then minimize the use of resources involved with each ride and maximize the number of passengers within each vehicle, simultaneously reducing emissions and helping to deal with vehicle congestion.

Meanwhile, in the healthcare industry, big data and analytics are poised to protect the public from the far-reaching detriments that environmental problems pose to wellness.

There are now immense volumes of digital health information on individuals across the globe. Using technologies like AI to analyze these large datasets, healthcare professionals can develop keener insights on how environmental issues intersect with health, like:

  • How environmental issues are affecting large populations
  • Which environmental issues are having the greatest effect on wellbeing
  • What order to tackle correcting environmental issues in order to maximize public health

Improved health outcomes in and of themselves are a boon, but a development like this also stands to reduce hospitalizations, decrease the burden on healthcare systems, and allow those systems to operate more efficiently moving forward.

Marketing is yet another area where businesses use new technology to fuel sustainability. Adopting various digital marketing channels is an obvious move towards sustainability, but even in cases where businesses aren’t turning to digital marketing innovations, they can still make technological changes to improve sustainability.

Case in point, businesses that make heavy use of recycled materials for their print and direct mail marketing materials. Recycling paper products cuts down on both water and air pollution, in addition to reducing the amount of space taken up by landfills.

These are just a few examples, but they go to show how progression in technology, particularly digitization, AI, and analytic techniques, can go a long way to helping boost sustainable practices in businesses regardless of the specific industry.

Embracing Sustainability as a Business

If you’re running a business, it’s in your best interests to start adopting sustainable technologies and practices. Beyond the positive effect such a move would have on the environment, placing an emphasis on sustainability may:

  • Improve your reputation: Sustainability is something that an increasingly aware public expects from the businesses they choose to interact with. Therefore, focusing on it will make your business more attractive to prospective customers.
  • Reduce your costs: In many cases, the technology powering sustainable change also allows you to run your business with greater efficiency and fewer resources.
  • Increase your profits: being able to do more with less will likely contribute to your bottom line, not only in money saved but in increased sales as well.

It will take time to make certain changes, true, but you can start aligning your business strategy with a goal of long-term sustainability by adopting small changes like going digital.

In time, those small steps will add up to a big change — one that reduces the daily drain your business has on the environment and allows you to maximize the value you’re providing to your company, your customers, and society in general.

Noah Rue

Noah Rue

Noah Rue is a journalist and content writer, fascinated with the intersection between global health, personal wellness, and modern technology. When he isn't searching out his next great writing opportunity, Noah likes to shut off his devices and head to the mountains to disconnect.

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