Three Ways to ‘Green’ Your SME - Business Media MAGS

Sunday Times Green

Three Ways to ‘Green’ Your SME

With the cost of electricity soaring and the ever-present spectre of load shedding/power outages, it has never been a better time for small business owners to embrace ‘greener’ ways of operating.

Fortunately, technology is evolving to meet the global shift towards eco-friendly business, and there are now many ways to reduce your carbon footprint without having to break the bank. Today, many eco-friendly measures end up cutting down on operational costs!

So, what steps can you take?

1 – Embrace Cloud Computing

Aaron Thornton

For small businesses and home-based office workers looking to cut costs and become more environmentally sustainable, cloud computing is the first and most accessible step. There are three categories of cloud services available today, namely: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). With each, the data and applications are hosted remotely, thereby eliminating the cost and burden of hardware and software acquisition (and maintenance). Using remote services also cuts out the space and energy requirements of on-site servers and hardware. A study conducted by Accenture for Microsoft referred to in Data Centre Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Carbon Offset Investment Best Practices compared the environmental impacts of providing three of Microsoft’s business applications through customer data centres and Microsoft Cloud data centres. The study found that Microsoft Cloud-based operations reduced carbon emissions by an average of 90% or more for small businesses.

2 – Downsize Your Computing Devices

We’re all aware of the need to downsize our gas guzzling cars, but what about those power-hungry desktop computers? Short of embracing the Desktop-as-a-Service model, one savvy option is to explore new micro-computing devices. The CloudGate Xs for example, is a locally developed computer that uses less than five percent of the electricity that a typical desktop requires. By switching to this palm-sized device, SMEs can immediately reduce their energy footprint by a substantial amount. This type of energy savvy device also enables businesses to continue operating for a longer time during outages – with much of the processing power and storage capabilities that traditional computers offer.

3 – Allocate Remote Working Days

While this may be a tough one for the control freaks and micro-managers, enabling staff to work from home at least once a week is a sure-fire way to reduce travel and energy costs. Global Workplace Analytics has reported that if a typical business allowed employees to telecommute for 2-3 days a week, the business could save, on average, $11,000 per person, per year (that’s almost R150 000). The costs that can be reduced include office supplies, furniture, equipment and janitorial services. Provided that employees have access to robust Internet connectivity; remote working has also been shown to boost productivity!

It is no secret that SMEs are the backbone of the local economy – which makes it all the more important for them to lead the way with smart, green business initiatives…

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