AWS Smart Business Blog

Top Technology Sustainability Use Cases for Small and Medium Businesses

If small and medium businesses (SMBs) want to remain competitive and responsive in an evolving landscape, I believe it’s time they adopt sustainability as a strategic priority. Imminent government regulations and growing consumer expectations for brands to be better stewards of the planet are driving companies across all sectors to design sustainable solutions. In fact, sustainability is no longer just a way for companies to manage regulatory and reputational risk, but a driver for growth across the industry.

Why sustainability is important for SMBs

Technology challenges for SMBs tend to be similar to those of larger enterprises. However, they may be less familiar with options for using IT strategically—due to working with tech vendors—and have less time and resources to spend researching. Such business owners will find cloud-based options compelling as it enables them to address their sustainability goals and compete with larger enterprises. After all, sustainability is more than just recycling products and reducing electricity consumption.

Adding sustainability to their list of business requirements can also result in more cost-effective, resource efficient, and innovative solutions—all while reducing a carbon footprint. SMBs employ more than half the global workforce and account for 90 percent of all businesses worldwide. With such a large workforce, these businesses are well-positioned to support a more sustainable future by improving their workloads using environmental best practices for cloud computing.

SMB sustainability customer stories and use cases

Sustainability is universally applicable to businesses of all sizes. SMBs span across multiple industry verticals and have aligned sustainability solutions to their unique domain specific challenges in creative ways. Need inspiration? Here’s how Amazon Web Services customers across several industries are making it a reality.

Financial services

The financial industry plays an important role in driving a net zero economy and the incentives it offers around the products and services can drive sustainable outcomes. Sustainability represents a commercial opportunity for financial institutions for competitive advantage. Assets in sustainable funds grew 53 percent in 2021 alongside a 71 percent increase in sustainable fund launches. Enfuce Financial Services worked with us to expand its business model by adding sustainability related services to its portfolio and now offers a carbon footprint calculator on AWS Marketplace.

Manufacturing

SMB manufacturers are challenged with increases in the cost of materials, energy, compliance, increasing stakeholder expectations, and more. This makes it difficult to achieve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and sustainability objectives. Seafloor Systems streamlined manufacturing operations and saved at least four hours of manual labor per robot built.

Energy

Greenko Group, a leading renewable energy solution provider is replacing fossil fuels with integrated decarbonized energy and grid assets. Greenko has joined The Climate Pledge and is uniquely positioned to mitigate carbon emissions and implement decarbonization with an operational portfolio of 7.5 GW and a pipeline of 15 GW of wind, solar, hydro, and energy storage assets. Greenko has so far removed an equivalent of over 17 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by powering over 6.3 million households with affordable and sustainable energy. They use AWS Cloud to host their data.

Textiles

The textile industry accounts for approximately 10 percent of all global carbon emissions. Bru Textiles, a leading global supplier of interior furnishing fabrics, developed an environmentally sustainable digital twin offering that is expected to reduce the carbon waste associated with physical samples by up to 80 percent.

How SMBs can work with AWS to address sustainability goals

AWS can provide affordable access to the latest tech advances to help businesses of all sizes address their sustainability goals. We are steadily making progress towards powering its operations with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025 and committed to achieving Amazon’s goal of net-zero carbon by 2040. Smart businesses can leverage various tools and resources to get started on their sustainability efforts on AWS. Here are few ideas for businesses to kick start their sustainability journey:

  • Achieve higher resource utilization and energy efficiency by migrating important workloads to the cloud: The results of a study by 451 Research shows that AWS infrastructure is 3.6 times more energy efficient than the median of U.S. enterprise data centers surveyed. SMBs can lower their carbon footprint by moving on-premises IT infrastructure to AWS through the “lift and shift” migration strategy.
  • Improve IT performance efficiency by using the latest generation processors: How your business manages and processes its data is a good place to start. In fact, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances powered by the latest AWS-designed processors use up to 60 percent less energy for the same performance as comparable EC2 instances.
  • Improve sustainability in the cloud: In the AWS Well-Architected Framework, the sustainability pillar focuses on minimizing the environmental impact of running cloud workloads and provides a way for customers to consistently measure their architectures against sustainability best practices. This will help smart businesses improve efficiency of their workloads and potentially reduce their energy consumption.
  • Efficiency reports: SMBs can leverage the AWS Carbon Footprint tool to view estimates of carbon emissions generated from their AWS usage. Another useful resource is the sustainability workshop lab outlining the importance of proxy metrics and provides guidance for building dashboards using AWS Cost and Usage Reports.
  • Accelerate sustainability research and innovation: The Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative (ASDI) seeks to minimize the cost, time and technical barriers required to acquire and analyze large sustainability datasets, regardless of an organization’s size or computing power. Smart businesses can leverage the publicly available ASDI datasets and request promotional credits for sustainability related projects. SMB customer terraPulse uses open satellite imagery hosted on the Registry of Open Data on AWS and provides a solution for scientists, businesses, and governments to monitor and analyze Earth’s surface for making effective sustainability decisions.

Smart Business Newsletter: Get cloud resources, expert insights, and peer perspectives you need to build a smarter business—delivered each month

Next steps

With the renewed focus on building sustainable businesses worldwide, there never has been a better time for enterprises of all sizes to successfully embark upon a sustainability program with easy access to various tools and resources highlighted in this blog post.

To learn more about how AWS can help you reach your sustainability goals or to submit your success story, contact your account team today to get started. Still want to learn more? Learn how to become a smart business, see how we work with different industries, read more use cases, watch customer stories, and more.