Digital Transformation

Sustainable Digitalization Can Help Facilitate a Green Transition

Sustainable Digitalization

The ability to use digital technology to improve sustainability is known as sustainable digitalization.

This involves using digital tools and processes to make sustainability improvements, such as reducing environmental impact or increasing resource efficiency. 

As explained by the European DIGITAL SME Alliance, the transformation must be lasting, ecological, and organic. The Alliance is the largest network of small and medium-sized ICT companies in Europe, representing more than 45,000 companies in total. 

It is therefore evident that digital sustainability must imply that digital technology is sustainable. The Report on Sustainability in Spain 2021 by Fundación Alternativas concludes that to achieve an ecological and just transition of the production system, it is necessary to rethink the model, taking advantage of the development of digital technologies in production processes. This conclusion can be extrapolated to the rest of the economies.

What are some things that a company can do to be more sustainable?

The impact of paper consumption on the environment. 

The paper industry has a significant environmental impact, both in terms of the resources used to produce paper and the waste generated by paper consumption. According to Greenpeace, nearly half of all wood harvested for industrial uses is used to produce paper. 

Much of this paper is used for issuing invoices. Specifically, the Billentis report entitled "The e-invoicing journey 2019-2025" estimates that the global market produces 550 billion invoices per year. This figure is expected to increase fourfold by 2035. According to a 2019 study, only around 10% of all invoices were exchanged electronically, totaling around 55 billion. 

E-invoicing solutions have a direct impact on reducing paper consumption, lower CO2 emissions, and reducing fossil fuel pollution by eliminating mail transportation.

At the same time, there are important benefits for companies due to increased system efficiency and reduced costs derived from:

  • Reduction of errors due to process automation.
  • Reduction of processing times.
  • Increased security and confidentiality of operations.

To reduce paper and toner consumption, digital signatures, digital storage, and digital preservation of documents can be implemented. The goal is to reduce reliance on paper and promote the use of electronic document generation and exchange throughout the management process. 

These solutions offer organizations a paperless perspective that, beyond the eco-friendly label, implies a new way of doing business. CO2 emissions are a major problem faced by society today. They are a leading cause of climate change and have a negative impact on human health and the environment. There is a need for concerted action to reduce emissions and mitigate their effects. 

According to estimates, digital technologies can contribute to reducing global CO2 emissions by around 15%. Cloud computing can help reduce emissions by providing a virtual environment for applications, platforms, and software. The adoption of cloud computing could help to avoid the emission of more than one billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) between 2021 and 2024, according to data from International Data Corporation (IDC).

Cloud computing benefits the company because of its added features:  

  • Accessibility to the virtual environment.
  • Updating of the solutions. 
  • Scalability of solutions. 
  • Cost savings. 

Corporate commitment to sustainability

The use of technologies in business production, applied in different areas of management and production, can address environmental, social, and governance issues. As awareness grows and legislation changes, companies are being forced to take measures to reduce their ecological footprint. This includes more moderate consumption of energy, water, and paper, as well as promoting the use of sustainable energy sources. 

The first step in setting targets for reducing waste and emissions is to measure the amount of waste and emissions produced. For example, Randstad, a leading human resources company, aims to achieve zero emissions by 2050 with the aim of reducing emissions from its operations and recovering them through corrective environmental actions. 

They are committed to accelerating decarbonization efforts by 2030, with a target of reducing Scope 1 and 2 CO2 emissions by 50% and Scope 3 emissions by 30% by 2019.

Benefits of sustainable digitization

Environmental benefits:

  • Environmental protection
  • Climate action
  • Nature conservation and circularity. 

Improvement of business management: 

  • Cost savings
  • Efficiency
  • Improved competitiveness

Social benefits:

  • Company transparency
  • Traceability
  • Improve production processes
  • Enables teleworking

Sustainable digitization begins by applying the appropriate digital technology to the company's sustainability objectives. EDICOM, a benchmark partner in the development and provision of EDI solutions, accompanies companies in their digital transformation process. EDICOMIPass solutions enable the integration of the digital ecosystem of business applications in the cloud.

EDICOM develops global solutions for electronic data interchange (EDI), compliant electronic invoicing and digital VAT reporting, electronic long-term archiving and the integration of applications based on efficient SaaS models.

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