From ensuring business activity has a positive impact on the environment, to maintaining positive relationships with key stakeholders, it’s important all aspects are considered for SMEs looking to achieve a carbon-neutral operation. This includes the sustainability of supply chains, and in an age of information, where SMEs are storing their data.

In today’s world, all businesses should be thinking about their wider stakeholders from an environmental and sustainability point of view, whether it’s their customers, partners, or wider society. Business transparency is more important than ever and doesn’t just impact large-scale businesses. More and more SMEs are now expected to provide the same level of information around each area of their business.

From a sustainability point of view, it’s key they are delivering on their goals with end customers becoming more and more concerned with sustainability when choosing one business over another.

Green goals

It's also important SMEs commit to their sustainability and carbon neutrality goals from a social and environmental perspective. Data centers impact at least nine of the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs),

When we also consider the UK’s sustainability goals to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 and become climate neutral by 2050, it’s crucial that SMEs consider all avenues to ensure their own targets and wider environmental goals being met. We need to look after future generations, but business owners also need to be more conscious of environmental factors because the world is more conscious of them. People are increasingly making decisions about who to work with and who to buy products from based on whether they align with their commitment to sustainability.

One important area SMEs can look at to reduce their emissions is supply chains, but these are often forgotten about. This can easily be rectified by asking the right questions when choosing providers. When committing to being carbon neutral, SMEs can take steps to offset their carbon footprint, but the other way of managing this is by reducing their carbon footprint. Therefore, it is key to find a data center that allows SMEs to shrink their carbon footprint.

If an SME wants to be sustainable, they need to be looking at who they do business with to create an ecosystem around them of sustainable providers. It’s important to lead by example and for SMEs to demonstrate they are choosing their partners and providers based on environmental impact and sustainability. This only adds to their credibility in terms of how seriously they are taking the issue and what they are doing to help tackle it.

When it comes to supply chains, data is a large area and many data centers across the UK and beyond haven’t always been the most energy-efficient and environmentally friendly facilities. In an ideal world, a data center needs to be purpose-built to ensure maximum energy efficiency and security while also having strong sustainability credentials, from the materials used to build the facility to the energy used to run it. For SMEs however, there is another important factor that needs to be considered which is affordability and accessibility, something that many data centers across the UK can’t provide due to the sheer scale of their operations lending themselves to larger-scale businesses.

Take time to check

It’s not an easy task for SMEs to review the providers within their supply chains and evaluate whether they are aligned with the sustainability goals of the business. It’s an investment of time that is worth putting in, however, and it’s a crucial task as we move towards a more sustainable and carbon-neutral future.

My advice for an SME looking for a data center with strong green credentials is to opt for a partner that provides the maximum amount of transparency. That way a company will know from the get-go who they are going into business with and the extent to which their sustainability credentials match the requirements that both an SME and its customers are looking for. Both are equally important from a supply chain perspective and should be considered for SMEs looking to move towards a future where their business is shrinking its carbon footprint and striving for a greener future.

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