3 ways the technology industry is working to help tackle climate change

3 ways the technology industry is working to help tackle climate change

by

Oliver Clutterbuck
January 19, 2022
Oliver Clutterbuck. 3 ways the technology industry is working to help tackle climate change
Oliver Clutterbuck, Head of Product Architecture

In this piece we take a look at just 3 of the ways that the technology industry is working to help tackle climate change.

Every industry has its part to play in helping to fight climate change, and technology is no exception. In fact, the industry will instinctively be one of the leaders in supporting change. Through innovation, the industry will be influential in revolutionising how we work, communicate, and live our lives.

3 ways the technology industry is working to help tackle climate change

Enabling homeworking

Home and hybrid working has seen an undoubtable rise in the past two years. With homeworking comes a decrease in the daily commute and subsequent reduction in emissions.

Businesses operating in this space have an opportunity to level the playing field when it comes to home working, helping to make it accessible for as many as possible. Tools such as Teams have, and will continue to, play a big role in making homeworking a long-term option.

It is important to keep in mind that while there are positive benefits of working from home, we must also consider the impact that this change in behaviour has on the environment. As an example, those who have a short commute or commute by public transport who move to home working may end up increasing their total emissions through heating their homes and electricity consumption.

Sustainable smartphones

Over the past decade we have seen smartphones evolve to become faster and with ever expanding capabilities. Now we are starting to see the big players in the space come to the market with innovative ways of making our smartphones more sustainable.

Wireless charging is one of the ways tech companies are working towards more sustainable smartphones. Not only could wireless charging become the universal way to charge devices, but it could also eliminate the need for cables which often have a short lifespan and make their way to landfill. If all devices are charged wirelessly, this removes the need for multiple chargers and means less materials needed to produce them, and less broken chargers being thrown away.

Self-healing mobile screens are another example of how technology is evolving and trying to have less impact on the environment. A self-healing solution that involves containing linseed oil that fixes cracks in minutes could help to reduce repairs needed to devices*.

The rapid evolution of our smartphones in the past decade has been remarkable to see, however as the capabilities increase so do our expectations. As consumers we sometimes fall into fast consumption behaviours, wanting the newest versions as soon as they are released.

If we are to move towards a sustainable future for smartphones, we must work on moving away from the throw away culture – something we are slowly seeing be addressed through schemes such as the resale of refurbished phones. By making our devices longer lasting, could we perhaps be moving towards a future where we no longer need to replace them every 2-3 years?

AI and machine learning

Experts in the field believe that AI, and machine learning, will be key towards helping to tackle climate change. Its ability to provide insights into future predictions could help to ensure our systems have less of a damaging impact on the environment. The technology can play a role in helping to design more energy efficient solutions at varying scales: from helping households to minimise their energy consumption through automated systems, to monitoring deforestation in the Amazon.  

It certainly isn’t the definite answer to solving the climate crisis, but it is thought to certainly be a source that will make a meaningful contribution not only to helping us understand current trends and patterns, but how we can make changes to improve.

If the past two years have showed us anything, it is how businesses can shift their behaviours in a very short time frame. If we approach the climate crisis with the same mindset, could we help to reduce our environmental impact sooner?

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/artificial-intelligence-climate-change

https://mobile-magazine.com/technology-and-ai-7/korean-scientists-develop-self-healing-mobile-screens