There are any number of good reasons for a company like WiseTech Global to go carbon neutral. Many of these are valid and noble and have to do with the community obligation we have to ensure we minimize the damage we do as we operate. But they’re insufficient reasons for most corporations to justify putting time and effort into tracking their carbon footprint, and they’re definitely insufficient reasons for a company to undergo substantial pain and cost in order to adjust its operations and reduce emissions.
While I recognize the community obligation, and it’s a worthy starting place, the only reason a rational commercial venture like WiseTech Global would be strongly driven to take this step is because it feeds back into every other aspect of the business and results in better performance and stronger business. True environmental sustainability needs to enhance the business at the same time as it tracks and reduces carbon emissions. It needs to make us economically stronger and operationally agile, because that’s when it becomes a truly sustainable business solution and not just a “feel good idea”.
Today we announced that for the last 12 months we have tracked our carbon emissions, purchased carbon offsets to make the company’s global operations carbon neutral, and identified 10 activities which will significantly reduce emissions over the next 12 months.
For this first period we bought carbon offsets for the 766 tonnes of carbon dioxide produced in order to run our cars, lighting, personal computers mobile devices and data centers. However, we also learned how to track our emissions, centralized certain data operations so it would be easier to track in future and began to look for further ways to minimize our emissions over the next 12 months whilst driving down costs at the same time. That’s when we began to realize how much we were wasting by not tracking our emissions. When we took a closer look we realized how inefficient many of our processes were; big things - like the way our data centers are put together - through to smaller issues, like the way we track petrol expenditure for company cars.
When we finally went through it all we realized there were a dozen different areas where we could reduce our electricity consumption and thus our carbon emissions; but more importantly we discovered that by doing so we’d reduce our overall costs, and become more profitable as a result. We discovered that it wasn’t a choice between behaving in an environmentally responsible way or being profitable, but that we could grow quickly and produce less carbon at the same time.
We have outlined ten measures which will ultimately not only dramatically cut our emissions, but improve our operations. We’re tracking our fuel usage, and making sure to use the lowest emission options available, replacing standard lighting with energy efficient LED lighting in our offices, and we’ve redesigned our data centers, making them run cooler and more efficiently. These changes in the data center will result in an 85 percent savings in terms of power usage.
We’re replacing many of the desktop computers with laptops, which use much less electricity, and changing the settings on company computers to make greater use of standby and sleep modes. What’s really exciting is that we’re developing a new building management system which will track and control our staff access and electricity usage not in a single office, but across every one of our offices, in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the US, the UK and in all our new offices as we expand into new countries.
We want to build technology that leads the world in any area we can have significant influence, so we’re taking these measures not to keep up with the market, or to make ourselves feel good, but to make sure we and our customers, and our customers’ customers stay way ahead of the curve, and to make the tough choices to force our own business to operate in the most efficient manner possible.
Ultimately we will use what we’ve learned through this process to integrate tools which calculate, report, plan, reduce and offset greenhouse gases consumed in the supply chain, into our software suite to allow our customers, their customers and the supply chain in general to boost their own efficiency.
Now that we have the baseline metrics established, carbon emissions will become part of the company’s annual reporting. From now on we will establish ourselves as leaders in this field, where we innovate constantly to make our systems more effective and less polluting.
Tracking and reducing our emissions is not just the right thing to do for the environment, but because it will make our whole business more sustainable, more profitable, and ultimately more successful as well.
Read more about WiseTech Global's carbon neutral initiatives
Richard White is CEO and Founder of CargoWise®
Media Contact: Lisa Tree, email@example.com