Renewable Energy in the Tech Industry: Why it’s a Smart Business Decision

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undefinedIn the weeks leading up to Earth Day, Apple announced that all of its facilities across the globe are now powered by 100% renewable energy. This commitment spans across the entirety of its operations, from its US-based retail stores to the manufacturing relationships it has overseas.

Investing in a Worthwhile Cause

Apple's firm stance on environmental protection is causing a ripple effect. More than 20 of Apple’s suppliers have made a commitment to follow in the same eco friendly footprint. Apple claimed that in 2017, these suppliers contributed to projects that collectively removed emissions comparable to 300,000 cars on the road.  This pure, renewable energy is coming from a variety of sources, including wind farms and the full implementation of solar rooftops.

In addition to its ongoing pledge to use renewable energy, Apple launched the Apple GiveBack program just in time for Earth Day to give its consumers more incentive to recycle. Through the end of April, Apple will donate a portion of devices that are recycled or traded-in to Conservation International, a global nonprofit focused on the protection of land, marine and coastal areas. Apple even has its own robot to help pull apart these devices and salvage what it can.

Consumer Loyalty & Brand Reputation

What consumer wouldn’t want the satisfaction of knowing their purchase is making a difference for the future of mankind? Apple’s decision to fully invest in an eco friendly lifestyle is about more than taking the moral high ground. It’s good for business. Its competitors over at Amazon and Google are working just as diligently to become world renowned clean-energy developers.

Loyalty to a brand goes beyond product pricing and quality, it is also heavily based on reputation. One bad business decision can do catastrophic damage to a company’s public image. Monsanto, a not-so-farmer-friendly agricultural company, has been under wrap for decades for its questionable chemical products, which have allegedly been responsible for birth defects, the onset of cancer, and fatalities around the world.

That being said, Amazon and Google know just how important protecting a brand’s reputation is. And both companies are finding ways to stay in the game. To some, Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Food’s last year was merely a ploy to dominate another sector. But it was also a strategic move to target exactly the right client base: wealthy grocery shoppers willing to pay premium for animal-friendly, health-conscious products. And once Amazon started to build trust in this community of premium shoppers, it started to see a notable return on its investment.

undefinedFunny (but very real) evidence of this came last year on Cyber Monday, when Whole Food’s surpassed its record of turkeys sold at Thanksgiving under the new umbrella of Amazon. At the same time, sales reached an all-time high for individuals and businesses selling on Amazon’s website. Was this a coincidence, or are more and more consumers growing a conscious?

Google, like Apple, has also reached its goal of using 100% renewable energy for internal operations. Additionally, it has made good on a promise it made in 2017 to purchase the same amount of renewable energy as it consumed. In early April, Google employee Urs Hölzle wrote a blog post stating, “Google’s total purchase of energy from sources like wind and solar exceeded the amount of electricity used by our operations around the world, including offices and data centers.”

Regardless of the motive behind it, these companies are leading a noble cause for others to follow. If more global brands are willing to jump on the bandwagon, all of us stand to reap the benefits – whether they are economic or social. With these tech giants leading the charge, it might just be possible to combine technology and policy in a way that promotes healthier business practices all over the world.

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