Over the past five years, it’s become vogue for companies to sign up for aggressive climate change goals. There are some simple methods that companies have adopted to demonstrate progress, such as cutting back on travel, switching to virtual conferences, and allowing employees to participate in hybrid work. However, these shifts were driven more by the pandemic than robust sustainability plans.

As we move into 2022, organizations understand that it’s one matter to design a set of environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals. Still, it’s entirely another matter to have a plan that achieves these goals while maintaining the company’s profit margins. It’s especially difficult to design metrics and strategies for environmental goals. At the moment, many organizations have built goals from the top down, which means they lack a plan for effectively measuring and achieving environmental goals. In particular, many IT leaders were left flatfooted. Many IT leaders will struggle to demonstrate annual progress on environmental goals, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, without any increase in budget to support these initiatives.

Fortunately, technology vendors recognize these challenges are delivering creative solutions to help themselves and their customers meet new ESG goals. Here are several recent announcements designed to provide more sustainable solutions.

Honeywell seeks to eliminate methane leaks.

Methane is the second most significant greenhouse gas in the Earth’s atmosphere and is emitted at every stage of oil & gas production, from processing to delivery. Additionally, Methane is an invisible and deadly gas, making it very difficult for producers to identify leaks and measure the amount of gas emitted and protect individuals from it when leaking. As a result, governments bodies in the U.S., E.U., and other regions are beginning to regulate methane emissions.

Fortunately, the energy industry has both an economic and a regulatory incentive to mitigate the effects of methane emissions. Honeywell’s one company that’s taking on this challenge. Instead of the standard monitoring technologies, such as satellite and drones, Honeywell’s Rebellion unit offers a service called Gas Cloud Imaging (GCI) technology that monitors, quantifies and displays explosive and toxic gas leaks in real-time using hyperspectral imaging. It continuously monitors for leaks and alerts operators as they happen by visualizing the otherwise invisible gas clouds so operators can immediately analyze and stop the leak.

According to Honeywell, visualizing a gas leak can minimize fugitive emissions by 90% because first responders can see which direction to approach the leak for maintenance. Not only does the technology help reduce methane emissions, but it also saves the oil and gas companies money by reducing maintenance and inspection expense – a win-win. Forward looking oil and gas companies are using the GCI technology today to monitor methane emissions and help meet environmental goals.

SAP and VMware offer monitoring tools. 

Goals without measurements have little chance of success. Two other companies, SAP and VMware, provide new solutions for companies to visualize and monitor ESG metrics.

Cloud computing energy saving is one area that many organizations struggle to quantify. VMware’s recent release of vRealize 8.6 adds carbon management, which quantifies the carbon-footprint reduction enabled by workload virtualization. It also quantifies the host carbon footprint and provides insights into other carbon and cost reduction opportunities. Vmware says the long-term goal of its Green Metrics initiative, a capability of ESXi, is to quantify and visualize energy and carbon at the host, container, and application layers and across multi-cloud environments.

Meanwhile, in December 2021, SAP announced its Sustainability Control Tower, a solution that helps companies collect real-time data, organize it, and report it using transparent, standardized metrics. The solution enables companies to obtain automated, timely, and auditable data on KPIs such as greenhouse gas emissions, socially responsible investing, and impact investing.

Cisco eliminates waste with product recycling programs

In September, Cisco Systems pledged to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. Cisco’s recycling program is one initiative Cisco customers should be investigating when upgrading their networks. Cisco has a program that promises to take back 100% of its products for recycling or potentially reuse. To support this, Cisco launched an Environmental Sustainability Specialization practice for its partners that helps partners with product refurbishing and recycling. These solutions also enable a more secure supply chain by minimizing the availability of grey market products (goods sold outside the authorized distribution channels by entities that may have no relationship with the producer of the goods) and counterfeit hardware that may have security flaws.

Samsung marries flagship phones with ocean plastics. 

Pew Research estimates that 11 million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year — a figure that could triple by 2040. Nextwave Plastics, a collaborative open-source initiative with members that include Dell, HP Inc., Herman Miller and others, announced that the partners had prevented 959 metric tons of plastic from ever entering the ocean in 2021. For example, Dell says the average closed-loop recycled content of the resins it uses is 30-35%, helping Dell save money while protecting the environment. As organizations look to upgrade PCs, it’s logical to consider these new sexy sustainable options from Dell and HP Inc.

Another product that could support a company’s ESG initiative is smartphone purchases. Sadly, few organizations think of smartphones when building a sustainability plan, but the latest Samsung smartphones may help change this trend.

At this month’s Samsung’s Galaxy unpacked event, the company announced using a version of ocean plastics in its flagship smartphones. Did you know that 640,000 tons of plastic fishing nets are abandoned and discarded every year? The latest Samsung Galaxy S22 devices will minimize waste withrepurposed plastics made from discarded fishing nets. Smartphones are something almost every employee uses. Adding sustainable smartphone options to a company’s Corporate Owned Personally Enabled (COPE) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs is an easy way will contribute to your sustainability goals.

Looking for the win-win in sustainability

Increasingly, organizations of all sizes will be asked to provide insight into their ESG efforts. Yet, sustainability can’t reside in a vacuum outside the physics of business. It must provide a win-win for its suppliers and the companies using the solutions. The solutions mentioned above demonstrate that you can purchase technology that supports sustainability and profitability for both sides. If you’re serious about building an ESG strategy, leading technology vendors are providing a range of methods for you to understand and control your ESG goals today.