What is Sustainable Technology, and its Benefits?AboitizEyes
Today’s technological innovations do not necessarily rid the world of environmental risks that affect individuals and organizations alike. These risks include the depletion of natural resources, e-waste generation, and poor air and water quality, among others.
Did you know that the Philippines alone hit 139.2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2020? And this continues to grow at an average annual rate of 3.64%. That’s enough to worry anyone, even big conglomerates such as the Aboitiz Group, which is constantly on the lookout for solutions to address this problem. One solution is the use of sustainable technology.
What is Sustainable Technology?
Sustainable technology is an umbrella term that describes innovations that take into consideration their impacts on natural resources while fostering economic and social development.
The goal of these technologies is one (or both) of the following:
- To mitigate an existing environmental issue
- To produce a solution created with sustainability principles in mind
These two goals may overlap, but more often than not, it can be difficult for organizations to achieve both at the same time. There are usually ethical implications involved and no perfect solutions.
Take, for example, the batteries in electric vehicles. Older versions of this supposedly sustainable technology are particularly problematic, as they are composed of finite, hazardous materials such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt.
In this context, technology that we can truly call sustainable must meet these end goals through three steps:
- Substitution: when applicable, the technology fosters a shift from non-biodegradable to biodegradable materials in its production. It also replaces non-renewable with renewable resources.
- Prevention: the technology reduces deterioration, contamination, and other negative environmental impacts through its use or production.
- Efficiency: the technology is, to the best of its ability, efficient in terms of its use of energy and resources.
Through these steps, developers and manufacturers may create technology with conscious attempts to limit the environmental and ethical consequences of their production, use, and disposal.
While sustainable technology may seem like an insurmountable challenge for many organizations, the movement towards eco-positive measures is the solution our country needs to transition from. Unfortunately, unsustainable industry practices and consumer culture have become intertwined with modern-day society.
Sustainability in technology has already made its way into various instances of public use. Common examples include eco-friendly construction materials, self-sufficient, LEED-certified buildings, solar power, other renewable energy sources, and much more.
What are the Benefits of Sustainable Technology?
Why should we care about sustainable technology? The answer lies in the role that technology plays today in addressing environmental and ethical issues. From production, right through consumption and disposal, the impacts of technology are vast and far-reaching.
In a typical scenario for your everyday technological products, the sourcing of raw materials — particularly metals — can be problematic. This is because most mining takes place in emergent nations, where laborers often work without the necessary environmental protection, human rights, or health and safety measures in place. –
Manufacturing also uses up far more non-renewable resources than one may think, including fossil fuel and water. Depending on the location of the factories, there may also be more human rights violations at play — such as long working hours, inadequate compensation, and even child labor.
These problems continue onto shipping, up until the end of the supply chain wherein “redundant” or “outdated” technologies are disposed of in landfills, exposing our environment to toxic wastes. Furthermore, these supply chains are often long, complex, and lacking in transparency, which makes the issue of greenwashing possible and ubiquitous for many unscrupulous businesses.
Sustainable technology, therefore, carries the potential to revolutionize every link in the supply chain, lowering adverse environmental or social impacts at every step. This produces a list of benefits such as (but not limited to):
Better Business Output
Renewable energy sources ensure the effective continuity of your daily industrial operations while promising better results. In addition, this shows your business is environmentally aware and is concerned with its ESG impacts. By incorporating sustainable technology, your business will not only be more production-efficient but will also manifest credibility to potential investors and stakeholders.
Improve Your Bottom Line
Sustainable technology empowers your organization to utilize your resources most effectively and efficiently, which in turn enables you to improve your triple bottom line. Therefore, employing sustainable technology not only helps your business stay competitive but also improves your brand image, as well as your impact on your host communities and the environment.
Attract Top Talent
Younger generations are increasingly becoming environmentally- and socially aware of how their choices affect the planet. As such, they make conscious efforts to align themselves with organizations that reflect their values. Bringing about positive change by incorporating sustainable technologies will highlight your future-ready vision, and may attract talent that will promote the prospects of your enterprise.
Our Innovations in Sustainable Technology
As a techglomerate in the Philippines, Sustainability is at the heart of everything that we do in the Aboitiz Group and it is echoed by each of our subsidiaries. To pursue this and continue our contributions to a more sustainable Philippines, we have fostered and adopted innovations in sustainable technology.
One such example is our partnership with Nestle Philippines in its commitment toward a net zero future. A key step in this journey is the adoption of clean and renewable energy (RE) from AboitizPower’s MakBan geothermal power plant.
Today, we supply about 24.46 megawatts (MW) of geothermal energy to Nestle’s factories in Luzon as well as its head office in Makati City. Through these efforts, we are able to reduce Nestle’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) with the equivalent amount of 24,736 cars driven in a year.
This partnership is closely aligned with our 10-year strategy of significantly growing our “Cleanergy” portfolio, wherein we hope to achieve a 50:50 balance between our RE and thermal capacities by 2030. Our strategies are part of our overarching efforts in building the country’s renewable energy industry, as well as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Another recent example of our commitment to sustainable technology is our Plastic 3R Hacks Philippines, a nationwide hackathon organized by Aboitiz Construction, to source innovations to address the country’s prevalent plastic waste problem.
Through this event, we found inventive and impactful waste management proposals with the potential to address environmental issues. From a total of 10 team solutions, which all integrated mobile applications, waste management equipment, and monitoring tools into their proposal, we identified a clear winner: Team STP.
Team STP presented the “WeGarden” project — an offline-first, technology-enabled hydroponics community garden for implementation in Legazpi City, Albay. Its design intends to curb marine plastic litter by collecting and repurposing plastic products for its vertical farms. These farms, in turn, promote the food sustainability and economic growth of the community. This innovative project stands the chance to be adopted not just by Legazpi City but by various organizations and local government units.
Another event where we proved our dedication to sustainability was when the Aboitiz Group joined the launching of GEM: the Green EDSA Movement. Both private and public sector leaders declared their promise to transform EDSA into an iconic tree-lined Greenway. In this project, we hope to implement infrastructure changes that will allow us to prioritize low-carbon and sustainable mobility for people, and a greener environment to address climate change.
While the Metro Manila Development Authority, which is in charge of the area, will be a key player in EDSA’s transformation, the coalition under GEM will provide a sustainable green program for its implementation. This includes measurable targets and a timetable that the Aboitiz Group will wholly advocate for and support.
These are just a few of our recent endeavors to balance the interests of people, planet, and profit by leveraging frontier technologies within our business units. Read more about our efforts in sustainable technology here.
Sustainable technology is paramount for developers and industry players to incorporate sustainability at every level of their projects and become the catalyst of change that we need for the environment.
In the Aboitiz Group, we aim to bridge the gap between sustainability and progress in the most efficient and inclusive manner possible. In light of that goal, we continue our commitment to find new means to pave the way for the sustainable progress of our employees, partners, communities, and other stakeholders everywhere. For more information, visit our website here.