By Archelle Thelemaque, Spring 2020 Intern, PR (Earned) – RPG Boston

The technology industry evolves in a moment’s notice, and a noticeable innovation is forthcoming: sustainable technology. Global tech powerhouses are making the push to maximize product efficiency while creating the least amount of waste, reducing greenhouse emissions, and increasing their use of renewable energy. Recent calls from scientists and environmental thought leaders have transformed thinking on sustainable tech from “green-thumb” tips into industry norms. The surge to adopt environmentally savvy practices stems from a behavioral change among consumers who now more than ever search for companies and products that fit their moral values.

Our CEO and Chairman Larry Weber said in a recent Q&A that corporate social responsibility is no longer about one-off donations to one cause or group but rather about a commitment to exercising a company’s moral purpose that betters our world and planet. He says companies should examine their DNA and determine how that DNA can help attack global issues. For the tech industry, their moral purpose is evolving into how they continue to offer consumers innovative products while also decreasing their environmental footprint. For tech giants like Dell and Samsung, the answer does not stop at partnering with environmental groups. Rather, these companies have restructured their DNA to evolve in how they operate at every level.

Samsung is a global leader in using sustainable technology, recycling nearly 6.2 billion tons of e-waste with a commitment to recycle 30 billion tons by 2030. But Samsung’s efforts do not end here at their own efforts to produce sustainable products as they have also put in place a policy requiring 100 percent of their supply chain to comply with their sustainability standard. This compliance requirement is not an easy ask for companies, but it is a necessary call-to-action to completely align a company's DNA with its moral purpose. 

The change in companies’ adoption of sustainable technology is not only motivated by a commitment to their moral purpose but also to their consumers who look for ways they can foster a safer, cleaner, and better world as a 2018 Nielsen report showed an increasing trend in sustainable product purchase among millennials. Echoing Larry Weber’s thoughts, consumers are using their spending power to reflect their values and align themselves with companies who demonstrate sustainable best practices. The payback in being a socially responsible company comes from the loyalty built between the company and the consumer who not only buys their products but buys into the corporate mission. Now, building a reputation extends beyond philanthropy and falls into complete operational shifts in how corporations operate.

The value in moving toward sustainable technology speaks for itself in building a relationship with consumers who share a similar moral purpose with a company. But there are costs associated with shifts following the green energy wave. The monetary cost of renewable energy sources outweighs that of traditional energy sources, making green energy an investment a company needs to be willing to make. Not only that, tech industry leaders must also take the necessary initiative to restructure their DNA to coincide with their moral purpose if they are looking to implement changes that do not currently align with their work. Nonetheless, companies should be thinking more strategically about their long-term mission rather than setting their outlook on the short-term exchanges between their brand and their consumer in this day-in-age where consumers and clients look for more from the entities they support than just the products they purchase.

About the Author

Archelle Thelemaque

Archelle Thelemaque is a Spring 2020 Public Relations Intern at RPG Boston. She hails from metro-Atlanta, GA and is currently a third-year student at Boston University studying public relations and political science. Archelle has experience in social media, media relations, and research.