Southeast Asia may have to play catch-up on sustainable IT. While the likes of China and the USA gear up to launch their green agendas, the ASEAN region has yet to address its eco woes despite its responsibility for 20% of the world’s biodiversity. Although the region has fallen behind, it can still see a $1 trillion USD economic opportunity by 2030 with sustained effort.

Currently, no Southeast Asian country ranks above 40 in the global Sustainable Development Goals rankings. For improvement to occur, the region must reduce its carbon footprint by utilising renewable energy and conserving resources or suffer the inevitable consequences. 

It should not be difficult for sustainable IT trends in Southeast Asia to take hold as the region already possesses great potential for green living. Accounting for 10% of the world’s population and 3% of the global landmass, Southeast Asia can leverage its resources to leap quickly ahead in the sustainability race. Demand for eco-friendly products has also shot up in the region, showing that the interest lies beneath the surface. 

We discuss digital transformation and sustainability in Southeast Asia

With COVID-19 accelerating the move to a global green economy, Sustainable IT will soon become the new normal for all. We look at the benefits of environmentally friendly practices in the economy as the world strives to preserve the planet and the financial ecosystem. 

What is sustainable IT?

Sustainable IT is the key to changing the way businesses and consumers handle technological materials. Also known as Green IT, it encompasses the management, manufacturing, use, and disposal of information technology devices to reduce their impact on the environment. As emissions increase and resources deplete, a more sustainable approach is urgent in Southeast Asia. 

This conversion aims to tackle energy waste within tech and other industries. As businesses are increasingly relying on technology, they will have to start doing so responsibly. However, the solution begins with the manufacturers. For example, a computer will use 81% of the energy dispelled during its lifetime in the building phase. Manufacturing companies must do a better job of creating more energy-efficient processes and products that require less toxic chemicals and materials to make.

Businesses in the region can decrease their energy consumption by buying better tech products and shifting their operation practices to address issues like overcooling and other matters. Not only will it save them money on their next energy bill, but it will also reduce their ecological footprint.

Green is gaining traction across the region

Consumers and companies recognise the need for the green movement and are considering purchases that will lead to a brighter future for the ecosystem. The numbers for the region don’t appear too optimistic as carbon emissions look likely to increase by 60% by 2040 and renewable energy shares less than 15% of the energy market space. The area will also produce more than half of the globe’s mismanaged plastic waste in 2025. Understanding the depth of these issues has pushed Southeast Asia to come out of its inaction. 

ASEAN nations have taken the initiative to increase their renewable energy use to 23% by 2025 and more than 30% by 2030. Tech companies have also joined the eco race. By making advancements and adopting green technology, they seek to decarbonise their business operations and create innovative digital solutions for sustainability. 

Sustainable investments are growing in popularity

Investors have also realised their role in creating a more sustainable economy. Companies with green strategies have seen a rise in investments. Eco-friendly investments made up 41% of all deal value in 2018, totaling more than $6 billion USD, while in 2010, this share was only  1%.

As shown, investors highly favour businesses with eco-friendly practices and operations. Singapore investor Temasek pledged to reduce its carbon emissions across the company and decrease pollution and waste at portfolio firms by 2030. Incorporating sustainability efforts helps increase competitive advantage and will only bolster a company’s success for the long term.  

Consumers are on board with sustainable products

With the public on their side, the load of implementing sustainable policies and shifting to eco-friendly products will lighten because of the market support. Green living will take root as everyone comes to understand their role in environmental damage. 

Consumers in Southeast Asia know the effects of harmful waste and mismanagement of materials. They are pushing back on plastic waste and addressing other ecological concerns. To conserve the planet, buyers have expressed their eagerness to buy sustainably sourced products with longer shelf lives and efficiency, even disregarding the price rise.

Sustainable IT trends in Southeast Asia are a growing concern with many opportunities ahead. If ASEAN countries push forward on sustainable IT, they will reap the benefits on many fronts. By using fewer materials and energy, they can save money through efficiencies while improving their competitiveness. New growth sectors will also open up, providing for greater revenue and return. Saving the environment and protecting society’s welfare is a definite win-win.