What is Sustainability Management? Benefits, Tips, and Cases

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Olga Demidenko , Author at Geomotiv
Published: May 30, 2023

We at Geomotiv, as well as most modern companies, understand the negative impact of technologies on the planet. Having operated in custom software development for 13+ years, our company deals with different IT systems and produces tailor-made solutions to meet various demands. 

However, we know that no business can operate in isolation and drain the resources for their benefit. We believe it is time to rethink what business success is. It is no longer about making profits at all costs. It is about being aware of corporate responsibility.

In this article, we’d like to explore the topic of sustainability management and how it can benefit society, business, and the environment in general. We’ll also provide practical tips for introducing green initiatives to your company. Finally, we’ll transfer from our experience how we manage and maintain sustainability in our projects.

What is Sustainability Management?

Сoncern about environmental pollution has put the concept of sustainability management to the fore. It brings together the concepts of sustainability and management and assists companies in controlling, analyzing, and reducing their emissions and waste.

Sustainability managers focus on drafting their company’s environmental goals, tracking sustainability performance, and setting metrics and KPIs to assess the ecological impact. They conduct reports on managing the carbon footprint and analyze sustainability metrics set by regulators.

This practice reflects the intent to build a new innovative environment by a society that cares about the planet. Consumers, regulators, investors, and partners increasingly require companies to adopt sustainable practices. But we won’t exaggerate if we say that accurate sustainability data reporting and ensuring compliance is a demanding and challenging task.

For that reason, sustainability management systems have become a vital part of any company’s sustainability and carbon reduction initiatives. These are comprehensive tools designed to assist companies in streamlining data tracking and reporting processes. When used efficiently, they help sustainability managers to communicate accurate data to internal stakeholders, regulators, and investors.

What’s driving the need to adopt sustainability waste management practices? We can find a lot of evidence that corporate sustainability should be a standard business practice.

Main Drivers of Sustainability Management Adoption

Today’s consumers expect businesses to be sustainable and take meaningful action to reduce environmental damage. According to a report by Wunderman Thompson, which collected the opinions of adult respondents in the UK, the USA, and China, 88% of people think that sustainability should be a default corporate responsibility.

Other findings suggest that respondents have clear expectations about the role of businesses in solving climate change issues. They increasingly expect companies to take part in green initiatives, work on sustainability management, and enhance their tactical moves in reducing carbon footprint.

Among all age groups, however, Gen Z’s opinions and beliefs are the most interesting for companies. This segment is of particular target for businesses, as it is to become the largest population of consumers in the next couple of years. As a result, companies can create a long-lasting competitive advantage by looking into what’s trending among Gen Zers.

We can find evidence that Gen Z is even more concerned about sustainability than millennials and baby boomers. For example, the previously mentioned Wunderman Thompson report indicates that roughly 70% of respondents are ready to change their lifestyle so that it could help reduce environmental damage. 

So, young people between 13 to 26 years old tend to be optimistic rather than anxious about climate change. As a result, they are ready to contribute to green initiatives, do eco work, and promote their values on every medium. It means it is the right time for businesses to support positive attitudes and take proactive steps to meet consumer expectations.
If we shift from ordinary consumers to corporate leaders, we can observe that they significantly promote sustainability practices. There’s a mindset change among different for-profit businesses responsible for a massive carbon footprint. In particular, some organizations are taking strides to recognize the planet Earth as a stakeholder.

What does it mean? It’s about taking proactive steps to withdraw from extracting value from the planet to gain profits. It’s about considering the environment as a limited pool of resources that require protection from humans. Besides, it’s about a sustainable purpose.

How Companies Benefit from Sustainability Management

Businesses increasingly recognize the value of sustainability and its role in building a brand. But sustainability management also improves the bottom line in other ways. Let’s review some of the top benefits of implementing strategy.

Top 5 Benefits of Sustainability Management

Improved brand image and PR

Every corporate leader wants to retain customers because they need more trust in their company or brand. However, improper sustainability practices can affect your business just like that. As mentioned above, the ethical side of operations is what currently matters the most to most consumers and investors.

Incorporating sustainability management into your strategy will signal to customers that they can transact with responsible and ethical brands. Besides, it helps create a positive brand image and protect your company from public relations disasters associated with poor environmental attitudes.

Cost reduction in the long run

If you plan to embed sustainability into your strategy, you’ll likely require upfront investments to set up the proper infrastructure, fine-tune your processes, and optimize productivity. In addition, you’ll need to investigate the resource-intensive sides of operations and figure out how to use the resources and equipment most efficiently.

Ultimately, you will reduce energy, water, and fuel consumption and reduce waste disposal costs. Sustainability activities can also increase the chance of earning tax incentives and subsidies, creating opportunities for increasing profits.

Compliance with regulatory requirements

A business that fails to factor in sustainability risks can become susceptible to tightened regulations from the government. In addition, as policies change rapidly, it is necessary to provide a consistent and timely response to what’s happening to the environment. 

Sustainability management helps businesses to comply with such regulations and avoid fines and penalties. Accountable, responsible, and transparent companies can as well benefit from gaining governmental support and economic incentives.

Better employee satisfaction and talent retention

When looking for positions, talents from different professions increasingly focus on employers’ values and policies. They also evaluate the company’s commitment to sustainability. For instance, a recent Delloite study found that Gen Zers and millennials are ready to stick to a company that prioritizes sustainability.

A business that promotes a sense of a shared purpose can nurture a loyal, engaged, and motivated workforce. Employees will see the value in what their employer is doing to reduce their carbon footprint and eventually become more productive.

New business opportunities

Companies that overlook business sustainability management can be in the worst position to get new partnerships and growth opportunities. They can even reach new markets, customers, or investors. 

The shift to sustainable development makes entrepreneurs and industry leaders reimagine their operations and adapt to change. Most businessmen would cooperate with vendors that consistently follow green standards rather than risk their reputation when working with “energy-hungry” companies with irresponsible attitudes towards environmental and sustainability problems. 

As the world prioritizes sustainability, businesses can unleash new opportunities. They can expand their presence in existing and new markets and win over customers that would more than welcome sustainable practices.

Sustainability Initiatives that Make a Difference Today

companies that stick to sustainability management

What is corporate sustainability management like in purpose-driven companies? They turn this strategy into a unique selling point of their business. Here’s how they act on sustainability:

  • Disney adheres to a zero-waste policy at all their facilities and reduces electrical consumption to minimize its carbon footprint. This entertainment giant does a lot to reduce water wastage, increase the use of recycled materials, and make their theme parks and resorts more sustainable.
  • Apple has taken a stance on environmental protection to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. The company replaced fossil fuels with wind and solar power at its facilities. Apple also uses 100% green energy to run its data centers and adds almost 40% of recycled materials to some of its products.
  • Finnish oil refiner and marketer Neste is a vivid example of a corporation that operates in an inherently unsustainable area. Nevertheless, it is at the forefront of global biofuel production. The company invests heavily in innovative solutions to replace plastic materials and conventional fuels.
  • Google takes a corporate culture of sustainability to the next level and is an example of an environmentally aware company. It has launched a myriad of initiatives demonstrating its commitment to going green:
    • air quality mapping;
    • making Solar energy available on people’s rooftops;
    • using recycled materials in hardware;
    • bringing alternative energy sources for local farmers’ markets;
    • using goats to trim grass, and much more.
  • Nike doesn’t lag behind the above mentions regarding fostering a healthy corporate culture. The company demands all its suppliers and manufacturers achieve carbon neutrality by 2025. It also plans to use recycled and more sustainable materials in all its products.

Strategies to Achieve Sustainability in IT

Different spheres of human activity leave a carbon footprint and contribute to gas emissions on a global scale. The field of IT is no exception. Due to the active use of mature and evolving technologies, corporate hardware, mobile devices, data centers, and computers, the amount of released carbon dioxide remains constantly rising.

Sustainable software engineering involves certain additional costs since any optimization requires investments. However, Geomotiv believes it is a sure way to create a more profitable business.

Our company does a lot to reduce the amount of energy servers consume through various optimizations. Eventually, a logical effect of this process is less environmental damage.

We are working on optimizing request management in our product subsidiary, Adoppler. It is a full-stack AdTech platform that helps monetize video, CTV, and OTT inventory with maximum efficiency. Complex mechanisms power our bespoke solution, bringing together many demand- and supply-side partners and facilitating transparent communication.

Adoppler sends requests to partners, receives a response from them, and sends this information back to the server whenever there is an ad-serving request. The more recommendations we need to process, the greater the electricity consumption, which is a no-brainer point. So, we’ve taken several steps to reduce the number of requests.

The platform went through optimization, which enabled us to reduce:

  • Energy consumption;
  • The number of servers;
  • The cost of cooling data centers;
  • And, surely, the environmental damage of our activities.

The system automatically analyzes the bid rate - a metric outlining the requests required to receive 1 bid. Many variables come into play when determining the ad’s bid rate, including its relevance to the user, the demand for the advertised product, and the number of advertisers bidding for one impression.

We implemented optimization mechanisms based on bid rate analysis. For example, the platform dynamically determined traffic characteristics with the maximum bid rate and configured the system to send only this type of traffic. As a result, we reduced the number of requests flowing in Adoppler’s pipelines.

Further, our developers optimized code to reduce the number of servers. We cut this number by 68% - optimization enabled us to go from 50 to 16 servers with time. Adoppler then added 9 more servers to compensate for increased traffic within the platform.

How Geomotiv supports sustainability management

Other software components contribute to resource consumption besides energy-hungry servers and back-end parts. What are the actions to make your software green?

  • Optimize and compress images;
  • Remove redundant features;
  • Use smaller audio and video sizes;
  • Avoid installing multiple extensions to do the same tasks; 
  • Implement caching and optimize code;
  • Opt for green web hosting, etc.

Consider partnering with Geomotiv. We provide senior developers who care about your corporate policy and deliver outstanding software solutions without delays.

Conclusion

This article discussed why sustainability matters, why it is an inseparable part of modern businesses, and why an irresponsible approach to operations is risky. We explored sustainability management, a must-have strategy for any company willing to stay competitive, successful, and profitable.

Regardless of your industry, be it Information Technology or Agriculture, sustainability management is likely to become an indispensable part of the corporate strategy. It is the only way to control emissions, limit energy and water consumption, and preserve future generations.

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