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How to Accelerate Sustainability in Information Technology Sector

Vishakha Nandanpawar
In view of current economic and industrial growth, the whole world is facing various Sustainability challenges like Climate change and Global warming, energy management, food security, poverty, water scarcity and many more. To address these issues properly, it is necessary to mainstream sustainability in every sector of operations and it is the responsibility of every industry and every individual to contribute towards various sustainability issues / challenges for achieving long term sustainability goals. Globally, the Information Technology (IT) sector has grown up in multiple folds in a short span of time with substantial contribution to global economy and business. Rapid growth of IT industry is positively contributing to higher growth of infrastructure development (commercial & residential) and employment generation. But, along with the contribution to economical, industrial and developmental aspects, IT sector is also contributing to increased energy and natural resources consumption, generation of electronic waste (E-Waste) and increased carbon emissions (due to energy consumption and increased business travel activities.) The rapid economic growth and changes in IT sector has made it necessary for the companies to update and monitor their own technological competence. This further leads to additional resource consumption and E-waste generation. With high business growth potential and rising demand, IT sector is going through various major sustainability issues and challenges including high energy consumption, waste management, carbon emissions and human resource management. To the many fold growth of IT sector in last decade, IT sector SME is also one of the major contributors and the sector is growing continuously. But due to many constrains, IT-SME sector focus is mainly on business development and economic growth to sustain in the highly competitive market by providing different value added, cost effective services and sustainable solution to the clients. Including effective use of cloud computing, which is considered as one of the energy efficient option for the services offered. If we consider the environmental impact for an SME in view of above challenges of IT sector, it is not significant. However, considering the huge number of SMEs operating globally, the cumulative impact is significant and cannot be ignored. The detailed paper will include analysis of the current scenario of overall IT sector including SMEs of India and Global, in view of their awareness about the sustainability issues, possible measures of improving sustainability contribution and the challenges faced by them for implementation of sustainability measures. Further the paper will also discuss about how the sector can embrace sustainability to reduce environmental impact by energy conservation, carbon footprint reduction along with a goal to achieve Profit Growth and Stakeholder welfare.
Information Technology, Sustainability, Energy saving, Data Centers, E-waste etc.
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