The National Assembly adopted on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 the 69 articles of the Climate and Resilience law. This text required 110 hours of discussion! A step forward for the climate and important and unprecedented changes to come for our country to achieve the national objective of reducing national greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030. On a scale. European Union, the EU’s objectives are ambitious: the objective is to achieve a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, with a carbon neutrality objective from 2050.
In this context, the share of digital is not negligible. A 2019 report from The Shift Project think tank reveals that digital technology is responsible for 4% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while air travel generates between 2.7% and 4.9% of GHG emissions . With an annual increase in energy consumption of 9%, digital technology could reach 8% of the total by 2025, which is the current share of car emissions.
Companies therefore have a deep transformation work to do because 75% of the efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must be carried out by the collective, on the digital level (source Syntec Numérique). The repeated confinements and the need to reorganize themselves to face the challenges posed by teleworking, have pushed companies, especially VSEs / SMEs, perhaps less well prepared for this challenge, to rethink their internal organization. More than ever, digital technology must be at the service of an eco-responsible economy and society.
State of play of the situation in France
First, let’s lay the foundations: Green IT is a set of techniques aimed at reducing the social, economic and environmental footprint of digital technology. Today, it is the problem of digital pollution that raises certain questions. Indeed, digital pollution due to video streaming alone represents 60% of data flows on the internet. On the business side, did you know that the office worker receives an average of 121 emails per day, with a carbon footprint of up to 50 grams for an email including an attachment?
Companies must equip themselves with tools to help them reduce their carbon footprint. The first step is to use tools such as EDM or archiving solutions allowing the dematerialization of documents. These meet the needs of sharing without sending an email, and sometimes include virtual post-it notes, documentary chats or even sharing links avoiding unnecessary or heavy emails with attachments.
Good practices should also be put in place internally: teleworking which reduces travel, electronic signature which eliminates multiple paper prints, dematerialization of customer invoices which reduces multiple paper reminders including postage costs but also the environmental cost of transport, the electronic archiving of documents with detection of duplicates, allowing a data retention policy which eliminates the multiplication of the same data, or even the digital payslip (BSE) allowing regulatory compliance while being responsible… Solutions exist!
The State intends to accelerate these processes
Indeed, while the crisis has hit very hard small businesses and SMEs this year, the government, in collaboration with France Num, recently unveiled a recovery plan entirely dedicated to them. The spearhead of this measure? Offer assistance to VSEs and SMEs to support them in their digital and ecological transition.
Syntec Numérique is also one of these very active French players proposing measures to fight effectively against digital pollution. The latest initiative, from October 2020, called Planet Tech’Care, is working to highlight digital solutions from partners, which come to respond to the problem of ecological transition. To all VSEs / SMEs keen to better understand the ecological impact of their activity, a first solution is recommended: carrying out a carbon balance, a method for evaluating greenhouse gas emissions. Although this is only mandatory for companies with more than 500 employees to date, it allows you to become aware, among other things, of the pollution released by the organization and to see how digital can help reduce it.
Support the digital and ecological transition of French VSEs and SMEs
Some avenues for reflection for VSEs / SMEs wishing to address their ecological impact while waiting to carry out an in-depth carbon footprint:
– Why the French cloud can be a good choice: The objective of the national energy transition is to bring share of renewable energies at least 40% in France by 2030. In the case of the dematerialization of documents in the cloud, for example, there are French hosts, with hydro-electronic data centers. This also addresses the issue of data protection for French companies, linked to the American Cloud Act! In addition, calling on the right service provider in terms of security and energy management (there are certifications related to the energy sobriety of data centers such as ISO 50001 certification), it also means reducing the number of servers within your company. and pool resources in the cloud.
– Distinguish between digital and paper: Zero paper, yes, but on types of documents that take up space or generate productivity problems (classification, research, processing time, links between documents, validation circuit, etc.). These documents (invoices, pay slips, etc.) or documentary processes (electronic signatures, retention periods, etc.) are typically administrative documents often subject to rules of legal compliance and it is advisable to distinguish between what may be ” digitized ”and what will remain in paper form.
– Asking the question of infobesity: why unnecessarily keep data you no longer need? Whether within your organization or through your service providers, pay particular attention to resources, data and archives which you no longer need, and which “lie dormant” in paper format, on disks or keys USB, on your servers (physical or virtual).
Your useful data and to keep also suffer from multiple forms of backup and therefore multiple copies. A first step towards digital cleanliness would it not be to bring everything together in an EDM or online archiving, benefiting from the assurance of availability, integrity and sharing of your information while being sure you always have access to the right version online?
As for destruction or online storage, it will be necessary to make a trade-off between security related to errors and notions of computer restoration, the sustainability of sensitive data, regulatory compliance of course and infobesity.
– Choose a partner with a tangible “Green” approach: French players propose the deployment of projects reconciling digital and sustainable solutions. Sages Informatique for example (editor of Zeendoc, EDM solution in SaaS mode) has joined forces with EcoTree, a French forestry startup, (specializing in the maintenance and management of French forests through tangible, geolocated projects and with a full traceability over time) by replanting 1 tree per day since January 2020 on the occasion of its 20th anniversary. The goal: to create long-term carbon sinks in France, a parallel with its dematerialization offer of course, but also a parallel with the security of archiving and long-term use of data.
More than ever, the ecological impact of companies must be at the heart of the concerns of organizations, both giants and very small and medium-sized enterprises. It is urgent to organize ourselves to face this challenge which affects us all: the preservation and safeguard of our planet.