Having your cake and eating it. An eco-capitalist guide to everything.

These days it seems everybody’s saying you should be responsible and go green. I couldn’t agree more, but as a dyed-in-the-wool capitalist I want to not only save the planet, but also earn a good income. As it happens, I’m also committed to supporting my staff and community in what matters to them.

So I have an alternative to being responsible and going green. It’ called being selfish, and green, and responsible. All at the same time. A kind of eco-sustainable-community minded-capitalist approach, if you like.

Besides saving the planet, sustainable IT can also save you a lot of money, mainly on paper and energy (especially costly energy for heating and cooling). All it takes is four simple, painless steps. Here they are:

 

Step 1. Choose Server Virtualisation

Physical servers are how businesses used to house their data. Problem is, whether they’re at capacity or not (and they’re almost always not), they still chew up the same amount of power.

Virtual servers mean you use fewer servers. Ergo, less power needed. Not only that, they allow you to run multiple operating systems and applications at the same time with less hardware. They’re also easier to manager – another cost saving – more secure as a rule, and allow for better disaster recovery.

 

Step 2: Go for a hosted environment

Ditch your in-house servers and switch to a hosting plan. As with server virtualisation, this will cut your power bill because you won’t have any redundant disc space. Obviously, trusting your data with someone else is a big step, and you should choose a reputable provider. Fisheye can help you here.

 

Step 3: Switch to Software as a Service

The days of buying all your software are disappearing fast. It’s expensive and inefficient. These days, businesses are switching to web-based software which they pay for by subscription.

 

You might be wondering how this saves the planet and your bottom line. Good question! First, it greatly increases flexibility in how your people work – working from home may become as easy as being at the office. Second, it can increase the life of your computers because they’re not running software.  And it may  reduce your capital costs by reducing or even eliminating the need for servers and spaces to house them.

As with server virtualisation, talk to us before making the switch or choosing a provider.

 

Step 4: Stop dumb printing habits

You print way too more documents and use way paper than you need to. I promise.

I know how hard it is to go paperless – and it’s probably an impossible goal. But I’ll bet you could reduce the amount of paper you use by 50% without trying that hard. The benefit? Well, have you checked the price of paper and toner lately?

You’ve heard these tips for reducing paper and toner consumption before, but I’m going to repeat them. They make sense:

  • Read documents online as much as possible
  • Use the duplex function on your printer. It’s easy. Really.
  • When non-enlightened clients and suppliers send you documents printed on one side, recycle the paper by using the other side to print non-critical documents. (Unless they’re sensitive or confidential, naturally).
  • Encourage your suppliers to email documents or use duplex printing if they must send hard copies.
  • Print in black and white where possible. Colour printing is expensive.

I don’t recommend recycling toner and ink cartridges, as this can raise quality issues – and in my view, sustainability is about adopting practices that are good for the business, as well as for the environment and the community.

Finally, recycle paper. It won’t save you money, but it doesn’t cost you anything to do the right thing here. In fact, it’ll be good for staff morale.

 

See, told you it was easy. So don’t hang around. Sharpen up your business, and make not only your bank manager happy, but also the DOC ranger who lives next door to you. What could be more joyous than that!


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