Six ways to use technology to build a more sustainable business

Sustainability isn’t just about doing what’s right for the environment. Implementing sustainable practices and policies can help businesses to operate more efficiently, reduce costs and win new customers. 

There are clear benefits to putting sustainability at the heart of business operations, yet startups often struggle to commit to sustainable strategies. 


Most startup founders have to juggle a wide range of responsibilities, so it’s not surprising that few have the time or resources to explore sustainable alternatives. There are also additional barriers that affect startup adoption, including financial pressures, limited in-house expertise and a lack of overall knowledge around sustainable business practices.
However, we’re rapidly reaching a point where sustainability isn’t optional. In addition to growing climate concerns, ethical and sustainable policies are a major driver of purchasing decisions for the next generation of consumers.

The good news is that technology makes it easier than ever to adopt sustainable practices. Start now, and you’ll not only contribute to a healthier planet but also enhance business performance and create long-term value.

How to improve your startup’s sustainability

1. Assess your existing equipment 

A good place to start is by looking at your existing hardware. Outdated desktop computers aren’t just frustrating to use, but they’re some of the worst culprits when it comes to energy efficiency. The older your technology is, the more power it will drain to do basic tasks.

Most modern laptops are designed to be energy efficient, so investing in a new laptop should lower your energy consumption substantially. You can also show your commitment to a more sustainable future by buying from a company that:

  • Can help you to retire end-of-life IT equipment for reuse and recycling
  • Uses recycled or renewable materials in products to reduce landfill waste
  • Commits to responsible packaging, such as paper alternatives to plastic bags

2. Migrate to the cloud

Cloud computing provides greater reliability, security and strategic value for businesses. It’s a no-brainer for any startup, but it’s also an easy way to make your business more sustainable.

Moving to the cloud eliminates the need to run daily workloads on energy-intensive hardware, which can significantly reduce your computing costs. Crucially, it also gives you the flexibility to scale as and when you need to, delivering exactly the right amount of power and storage for your requirements.

While cloud data centers still require lots of energy, the biggest vendors (Microsoft, Amazon and Google) have all made pledges to decarbonize their data centers in a shift towards a greener, more sustainable future. 

3. Automate tasks 

One of the biggest challenges in improving business sustainability is having the headspace to do so. If you’re running the business alone and solely responsible for sales, marketing, operations and finance, it can be tough to find time outside of business-critical tasks.

Artificial intelligence is proving to be a game-changer in this area. It can be used to automate a range of routine but time-intensive tasks, from data input and analysis to customer service queries. 

This automation means that tasks that would normally take hours or even days can be done in minutes. It makes your business more efficient, but also gives you valuable time back to put towards sustainable thinking and action. 

4. Optimize your operations

In addition to basic automation, the growing intelligence of AI models makes them increasingly useful for sustainability improvements on a bigger, more impactful scale.

AI can analyze vast quantities of data and draw on real-time market information to optimize supply chain logistics and make them more efficient. You can use this to:

  • Gain visibility over your end-to-end supply chain
  • Forecast customer demand, ensuring you order the correct amount of stock and nothing goes to waste
  • Identify the fastest shipping routes based on planned or unplanned disruptions, reducing transport time

Optimizing supply chains isn’t just about efficiency either. Environmental information about suppliers can be scarce, particularly beyond first-tier suppliers. AI can be used to uncover unsustainable or unethical practices in supplier networks and recommend more sustainable suppliers based on their environmental data.

5. Remove data silos

A lot of businesses struggle with data silos, where information is stored across multiple applications or systems. This can make it time-consuming to find the data you need, and there’s a real risk that you could rely on duplicated or outdated data to make major business decisions.

Adopting a more comprehensive approach will support your sustainability efforts. By implementing a centralized digital system, you can get a complete view over your business. This can guide both day-to-day and strategic decisions about where time and resources are best spent, cutting back on waste. 

6. Embrace digital innovation

Building a sustainable business won’t happen overnight. It’s an ongoing process where you continually explore different ways to make your startup more streamlined, ethical and environmentally friendly. 

Embracing digital innovation should sit at the heart of this strategy. Technology is always evolving, and regularly testing new tools can improve the sustainability of your operations and uncover profitable opportunities. 

Whether it’s using AI to unlock new business efficiencies or Edge computing for more sustainable data processing, prioritizing sustainability can deliver long-term value, boost your competitive advantage and support your startup’s growth.

Explore scalable solutions with Dell

Looking for sustainable, scalable technology? Sustainability is at the core of everything we do at Dell, from our innovative technology to our commitment to the circular economy. 

Dell for Startups gives you access to startup expertise from dedicated technology advisors and scalable solutions to ensure your business is always ready to grow. Whether your startup journey involves laptops, lightning-fast servers or even custom hardware, we can help get you there. 

Join now.


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