We recently conducted a review of our office operations to see if there were places that we could improve our environmental impact. We discovered that most of our impacts come from our supply chain, so we took a deeper look. Here's how our IT service providers stack up.
For our email, calendar, and contact management, we use Google Apps. Google's App Engine gets amazing economy of scale by consolidating millions of users across its server platform. Google's multi-year focus on green data centers, energy efficiency, purchasing renewable energy, and carbon neutrality mean that switching to Google Apps has helped companies around the world reduce energy use, computing costs and carbon emissions by up to 90 percent.
Our website is designed and hosted on the Squarespace platform. Through purchasing renewable energy straight from the grid and supplementing their server electricity with Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) derived from wind power, 100% of the energy Squarespace buys is Green-e certified renewable.
Skype is our go-to solution for or our phone, voicemail, and video conferencing services. Skype is owned by Microsoft, which in 2012 launched an ambitious internal carbon tax on all of its activities. All business groups have built the price of carbon into their budgets. These groups will be able to limit their “carbon liability” by using less energy—either through efficiency or by directly sourcing renewable energy and reducing air travel. The groups will pay a carbon fee for each metric ton of carbon emissions associated with the operation of data centers, software development labs, office buildings and employee air travel. The carbon fee will be paid into a central fund at Microsoft that will be used to purchase renewable energy and carbon offsets in order to achieve net carbon neutrality.
We are ecstatic users of Norada's Solve360 platform for our CRM and project management needs. Solve360 is a cloud-based software and uses a Green Data Center award-winning partner for energy efficient services. But what we really love is that this company is a virtual one (just like most of our consultants!)--all staff work from home, eliminating the carbon emissions associated with a daily commute.
Of course, there are always a few weak spots in a sustainable supply chain initiative--and we're no exception. We use Dropbox for file storage and back-up. When we contacted Dropbox staff for information about their sustainability initiatives, we got a note back that said, "Unfortunately, Dropbox doesn't currently have any public information on our sustainability goals." Boo. UPDATE: Dropbox has announced that their new San Francisco office, which is LEED Platinum certified, will feature a solar energy system.
Overall, we're pretty pleased with our findings. And also debating about our use of Dropbox. We know that there are Dropbox alternatives like Greenqloud that have strong sustainability programs. But Dropbox is so convenient!
Have an opinion? Let us know in the comments, or tell SSC President Jennifer Woofter (@jenniferwoofter) on Twitter.