Why? Simply put, the right hardware could save metric tons of greenhouse gasses.

The pressure on businesses across the economy to operate sustainably and ethically has grown significantly in recent years – and the retail industry is no exception.

Many businesses in this sector have clearly stated environmental, social and governance policies and targets. In the retail space, a lot of focus is placed on the supply chain, waste, packaging, product lifespan, materials use (and creation of) and recycling. But what about technology and the associated hardware?

Technology has profoundly shaped society, the economy and the environment. We can’t deny that it has caused many environmental and social problems, but it is also key to addressing environmental degradation, climate change, food scarcity, waste management, and other pressing global challenges.

We’re actively talking to retailers about how they can use technology to improve their performance in this area and reduce their carbon footprint.

Moving legacy systems to the cloud is a solid example. Although the impact and benefits of the cloud have been traditionally measured with financial and efficiency metrics, it’s become more common for customers to look at how the cloud can help them to achieve their sustainability and environmental goals.

Contrary to concerns about the environmental impact of cloud computing and the technology sector, migrating IT functions to the cloud can achieve reductions in total IT carbon emissions of 5.9% — nearly 60m tons of CO2 globally per year — that’s the equivalent to taking 22m cars off the road!

How do they do this? Well, cloud data centres are designed to be energy efficient. Most businesses won’t use the full capacity of their server, so there’s less chance of under-utilised hardware simply sitting there wasting energy. With the cloud, you’re ‘sharing’ your utilisation between businesses so there’s less overall energy wastage.

Fewer servers and virtual services mean less equipment and power, which saves energy. A win-win for the environment and your electric bill.

Refreshing hardware is another area that retailers are looking at in their quest to not only increase their efficiencies and provide modern customer centric experiences, but to reduce costs and carbon.

As by example, hardware vendor HP are sourcing one million pounds of ocean plastic each year to reuse in their product manufacturing. This is not only reducing their plastic usage, but with the way in which they are building products now can be on average 89% more power efficient than ‘legacy’ products.

We recently worked with a grocery retailer who switched out their legacy hardware at the till point to HP Engage and they found this dramatically reduces their CO2 emissions. The new hardware uses 80% less power than that of an average PC based till (which uses 775 KWh/year), that is about 180 kgs of CO2 emissions!

At WonderLane, we’re big advocates of Android. Our Android 'tablet based' tills use around 135 KWh / year which would generate around 31 kg of CO2. A conventional till would use around 180 kgs, that’s 149 kgs more!

If your estate had 10,000 tills, you could save 1,490 metric tons of greenhouse gas per year. It’s the equivalent of 442 average cars* car or the electricity needed for 1,202 homes* for a year.

Other benefits the grocery chain has was that they no longer needed their batch processing to run 24/7 which made their systems faster and more efficient. And, the switch cut their energy costs too from £0.34 per till, per day or a whopping £120,000 per year.

Retailers know the importance of sustainability, but they need the tools to properly channel their green ambitions. Hopefully, this has given you some food for thought – if you’re interested to know more about how some of our customers and partners are moving forward with a green focus, get in touch.

*Calculations based on average till using 775kwh/ year (180kg) vs WonderLane Android at 135KWh/ year (31kg). The difference being 505kwh (149kg).   With 10,000 devices, that’s 5,050,000kwh per year.

* UK average car @12,000 miles per year / 3.37 Co2 each via Carbonfootprint.com

* The average electricity usage per month in a UK household is about 350KWh per month or 4,200 KWh per annum via ukpower.co.uk

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