Is your organization part of the Green Economy?
This term, as described by the World Resources Institute, describes a model that simultaneously promotes both economic growth and sustainability. The Green Economy champions a “triple bottom line” – sustaining and advancing economic, environmental and social well-being. Achieving this vision requires effort, but it’s something that no business or public agency today can ignore.
Organizations large and small are ramping up their sustainability efforts, including ours. Recently, Panasonic was ranked number four on Interbrand’s list of the 2013 Best Global Green Brands, up two spots from last year and the highest ranked electronics brand in the report. The distinction marks a milestone in Panasonic’s quest to become the number one green innovation company in the electronics industry by our one-hundredth anniversary in 2018. We’re accomplishing this in a number of ways, including preparing to open our new North American headquarters in New Jersey that will be LEED Platinum Certified, the highest standard for environmental design.
We urge others to join us as we embrace this Green Economy. Many of the choices a business or public agency regularly makes present an opportunity to go greener. One such choice comes in the form of technology investment. Here are a few things to consider as you select new technology, to help ensure you’re a part of the Green Economy.
Energy-efficiency. Reducing energy use is cited as one of the most important, but easiest to accomplish, ways to be environmentally responsible. By doing so, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, use fewer energy resources like oil and coal, and save money to boot. Look for technology marked with an Energy Star seal, which notes that it is independently certified to save energy without sacrificing features or functionality. Today, more than 300 Panasonic models across nine product categories carry the Energy Star seal, including all of our Toughbook mobile computers, fax machines, multi-function office machines and scanners. Many other models have features such as power-saving and eco modes.
Waste reduction. Avoid cheaply made, “disposable” electronics, and choose technology built to last. Devices with long lifecycles are inherently less wasteful. For some organizations, this may include choosing a rugged mobile computer built to withstand the elements, while for other organizations it may be as simple as purchasing a projector with lamps and filters that provide long service lives. Waste reduction also can be achieved by going paperless whenever possible through the use of scanners, interactive whiteboards or digital signage. It’s estimated that an average office employee uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year – that’s a lot of trees.
When a piece of technology is at the end of its lifespan, ensure you dispose of it appropriately. Look for an e-cycling program in your community that will recycle your electronic waste, allowing it to be reused in a different form and preventing hazardous materials from entering the waste stream. Another option may be a program like Panasonic’s Toughbook Redeployment Services, which at no charge collects used computers for recycling, donation to a nonprofit group or as a trade-in for credit toward the purchase of new units.
Choose the right technology partner. With each dollar you spend, you’re supporting a company’s business decisions – make sure they align with your green values. Take some time to look into the company’s sustainability efforts and practices. Many large companies issue an annual Corporate Social Responsibility report, which will detail its priorities, activities and sustainability performance data – ours can be found here.
But don’t just take their words for it, look for companies that are willing to allow third-party organizations to evaluate their efforts. For example, our Toughbook mobile computers are certified by an environmental impact scoring system known as the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT). This program is overseen by a board of eco-advocates, electronics recyclers and others to help purchasers compare and evaluate computer desktops, laptops and monitors based on their environmental attributes. EPEAT grades factors such as elimination of environmentally-sensitive materials and energy conservation.
For virtually every business or public agency, sustainability has gone from being a buzzword to a serious consideration that influences the way business is done. By making smart technology choices, you can ensure your organization has a place in the Green Economy.