The Power of Green Communication (and How it Benefits Businesses)

Emma Hopler
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The power of green communicationWith the rise of power costs and increasing concerns regarding sustainability, there is a new drive towards energy-efficient solutions for the information and communication technologies sector (ICT). Green communication or green networking prioritizes the reduction of resources to maximize energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

Communication giants like AT&T and Verizon are sponsoring climate protection initiatives, transitioning to more renewable energy, and setting net zero carbon emissions goals. It only follows that smaller businesses, too, should adopt sustainability objectives – not only for environmental stewardship but to reap the cost-benefits and reputational improvements.

What is Green Communication?

Green communication is an emerging strategy in the networking and telecommunications sector. The objective of this approach is to create a system with energy-efficient technologies and products. This means running telecommunication services, updating and modernizing technologies, and meeting user needs while also considering social responsibilities.

The idea is to promote innovations that enable new ways to communicate and collaborate. In the modern office, high-speed mobile networking and internet access have become top-priority utilities. Green communication seeks to improve efficiencies in these areas without any associated increase in carbon emissions that can provoke the dreaded eco-anxiety in consumers.

There are lots of new and emerging hardware and software technologies that can assist operators toward environmental goals. Upcoming 6G networking, cloud computing, and converged networks will all play a part in minimizing the energy consumption of the telecommunications sector. Furthermore, a significant energy reduction can be obtained by switching off redundant or unused hardware and network components.

For example, businesses might consider unplugging obsolete fax machines in favor of software that facilitates a more digitized approach. Users can send a fax from Gmail directly simply by composing an email to a recipient’s fax number. This means no dedicated phone line nor the environmental costs of maintaining a physical fax service.

What are the Objectives of Green Communication?

The overall objective of green communication is to cut energy consumption to reduce the environmental impact of communication products (be they hardware or software-based).

With eco issues dominating headlines, customers and employees may have concerns about your business’s effect on the environment. Subgoals would be to assuage these concerns and to align organizations with any regional or governmental regulations and incentive schemes concerning energy use.

The main approach to achieving green communication goals is to replace existing network components with more energy-efficient units. For example, you might replace old-fashioned data storage solutions like in-house servers with data hosting in low-carbon centers.

What Does It Mean to be Green?

Long-Term Solutions, Not Short-Term Fixes

Green communication means a dedication to long-term solutions rather than short-term fixes. This involves creating plans for a steady, consistent, and ongoing reduction in carbon emissions rather than seeking out temporary fixes or more short-term eco-sustainable activities.

Turning your communication truly green requires perseverance, dedication, and often a considerable up-front investment. While costs are likely to pay off in the long term, with more efficient use of resources and an enhanced brand reputation, it is important to view the benefits of green communication as quality-of-life improvements.

When it comes to sustainability, a buzzword (and something to avoid) is greenwashing. This is when companies use misleading marketing or produce a communication strategy that highlights sustainability but makes few changes in reality. The best way to avoid this is to commit your business to environmental protection and make real improvements with long-term benefits.

Easy changes can also have a large impact. Something as simple as replacing physical technical support teams with remote access tech support will avoid emissions produced through travel and therefore reduce your company’s carbon footprint.

Making Sustainability a Key Business Principle

The principal aim of a sustainable business is to operate at a profit (as well as ensuring your practices avoid negatively impacting the environment). Green communication should therefore be incorporated into your key principles and be a guiding force for both your business practices and employees.

Check in and ensure you’re meeting your green communication goals and that your employees are prioritizing environmental practices. As a business owner, it is essential to keep up to date with the latest technological advancements that improve sustainability in the communications sector. Educating in green communication and minimizing resources helps put sustainability at the heart of your company identity.

What Are the Benefits of Green Communication?

Over time there are several ways that companies can reap the benefits of a green communication approach. Intelligent energy management can maximize the operational abilities of organizations while also reducing power consumption.

Reduced Operating Costs

Green communication stresses resource efficiency and minimizing waste. As a business approach, it is therefore likely to save considerable expenses. Innovations that drive sustainability often go hand-in-hand with cost-cutting. For example, reducing dependency on hardware and turning to cloud computing while a clean energy transition will also decrease the amount spent on equipment and equipment repairs.

Reputational Improvements

Today’s consumers feel a significant social responsibility to purchase goods and services from green companies. The millennial market is better informed and more aware than its predecessors. It listens to green marketing but does the due diligence to find out if companies are supporting their messages with actions. Operating with a green responsibility is, therefore more likely to engage customers and encourage consumer loyalty.

Improved Flexibility

Upgrading to more sustainable telecommunication methods can also improve your flexibility as an organization. Replacing desk phones with more environmentally friendly options like a VoIP phone service means your employees can work from anywhere. At the same time as reducing carbon emissions created by the work commute, it means you can recruit from a larger pool of people. You ensure you always find the best employees for your business.

Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a business model being utilized by many 21st-century businesses. The model helps businesses to work towards the betterment of society and the environment. Operating sustainably is a key CSR and one both consumers and shareholders are particularly concerned by.

Environmental impact should be at the heart of business operations and extend to your corporate mission. Reducing the damaging environmental effects of business processes is, therefore, never a transient goal but something that should be continually factored into business development.

graph of consumers caring about CSR

The Best Ways to Go Green Today

1. Switch to Cloud-Based Phone Systems

Cloud computing is a far less carbon-reliant solution than traditional data centers. It supports sustainability and improves efficiency, thus ensuring that companies succeed in the face of scrutinizing consumers and public bodies.

A cloud-based phone system with VoIP capabilities transmits voice signals via an internet connection. This means you can forgo the traditional hardware and phone lines needed to make calls. You can also use these systems from anywhere. VoIP providers offer many additional features to maximize efficiency.

Ultimately, VoIP means minimizing the use of hardware, encouraging telecommuting, and consuming less energy than typical phone systems.

2. Incentivize Telecommuting and Remote Working

Integrating cloud-based communication systems like a VoIP phone with CRM etc, creates a virtual work environment. This means employees can work from any location, cutting commutes. It can also save business costs and improve energy efficiency by minimizing the need for physical office spaces.

Encourage employees to phone into meetings and organize more opportunities for remote working. Invest in online meeting software, and take steps to incentivize hybrid working. For example, by making sure all the resources required for productive work are readily available online.

3. Reduce hardware and equipment use

Running your business with software over hardware is a simple way to meet your green communication goals. Existing computers and equipment can be repurposed and updated with modern technology that uses internet connectivity and off-premises networking.

Other areas of your business can look to Artificial Intelligence (AI) to reduce hardware use. For example, customer support can use AI-powered virtual assistants to aid customers. Using machine learning, virtual assistants can respond intelligently to customer queries. This reduces the demand for phone lines and other physical equipment.

Where the use of Hardware cannot be avoided, it should come under periodic review. Any outdated defunct equipment should be upgraded for newer, more energy-efficient products.

4. Use Fewer Physical Documents

Moving business communications to the cloud can drastically decrease your organization’s paper use and waste output. Consider investing in file-sharing and project management solutions to create a fully-fledged digital workspace.

5. Going Global

If you’re an expanding business hoping to scale globally, consider a virtual network over physical offices and commercial spaces. Scoping new markets and conducting market research can all be done online without increasing your carbon footprint.

6. Create or Sponsor Green Data Centers

If your business has big data storage needs, consider either creating your own green data center or investing in a center that offsets its carbon footprint. If you already run your own center, consider a few adjustments to improve its sustainability.

Install catalyst converters on backup generators, use energy-efficient and low-emission building materials, consider e-waste recycling, and stay up to date with advancements in server cooling techniques.

Planning for Sustainable Development

Today’s businesses have a social responsibility to function in an environmentally conscious and sustainable way. Turning to green communication can go some way to improving an organization’s carbon footprint and is a step towards net-zero emissions.

Global communication platforms have led the way in planning for sustainable development and setting future emissions goals. It is for small businesses now to follow their lead and harness the power of green communication in their day-to-day operations.


Disclaimer: The author is completely responsible for the content of this article. The opinions expressed are their own and do not represent IEEE’s position nor that of the Computer Society nor its Leadership.