February 22, 2017

GreenTech and the Corporate Social Responsibility

By Josh Hamilton

A Corporate Culture Of Green

In today’s business culture there is a new type of corporate strategy emerging, one that is becoming particularly prevalent in Silicon Valley – Corporate Social Responsibility. These green credentials are becoming increasingly more important for tech firms, it gives them a boost in reputation (particularly amongst millennials), can help reduce wastage, and fills the corporate culture with a sense of responsibility not always seen in free market economies. In 2014, a Neilsen global survey found that 55% of consumers were willing to pay extra for services from companies who are committed to positive social and environmental impact. This is a trend that is increasing year on year, so many firms have started to take advantage.

Tech firms now account for about 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is roughly on par with the aviation industry, and consequently they have come under increased scrutiny and pressure to “go green” to reduce their carbon footprint. Google are one of the largest and most influential tech firms in the world, which makes their green pledges and programs all the more impressive given the scale and scope of their business and products. Google are currently running on 100% renewable energy, which is the result of a five-year plan first announced in 2012 finally coming to fruition. Marc Oman, EU energy lead at Google commented that “Our founders are convinced climate change is a real, immediate threat, so we have to do our part.” In addition to powering themselves with Green energy, they are also pioneering experiments to improve their efficiency through AI – using machine learning algorithms to manage data centres.

Potentially the first tech firm to go green and carbon neutral was Verne Global, the Icelandic Data Centre giants. They made headlines a few years back when they developed an incredible its geothermal-powered, zero-carbon facility, housing data for some of the world’s largest companies including, Volkswagen, MG, and the Earlham Institute.

Canadian online travel agency FlightHub, which is run by Venture Capital giants Momentum Ventures, have been rolling out a number of environmentally friendly policies over the past year or two. Employees have been offered a 50 percent subsidy on electric and hybrid car leases, offering them an easy step to a more environmentally friendly ride. CEO Matt Keezer was quoted when the plan was being unveiled stating that buying an electric or hybrid car can be a large investment… we want to make it easier for our employees to take the step towards buying these vehicles for the sake of the environment.” Flighthub have also adopted subsidies for buses and trains to encourage use of public transport, as well as a summer bike rental program!

Green policies in the tech world may seem to be far from relevant, but in an ever more environmentally conscious world, green credentials could be a major driving force for business in the future. It is clear that consumers are more and more likely to choose products from environmentally conscious businesses, so the trend of corporate social responsibility is unlikely to end any time soon.

Sponsored series by Momentum Ventures

By Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton ​is an aspiring journalist and writer who has written for a number of publications​ involving Cloud computing, Fintech and Legaltech​. ​Josh has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Law​ from ​Queen's University in Belfast​​. Studies included, Politics of Sustainable Development, European Law, Modern Political Theory and Law of Ethics​.
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