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A new report by Nexthink found that organizations have the potential to reduce their CO2 emissions by a minimum of 695 kilograms of CO2 per week simply by educating workers about smart computing habits and by eliminating applications that are heavy emitters.

Creating a more sustainable work environment is a top priority for enterprises today, but while many CSR initiatives focus on reducing single-use plastic and eliminating paper waste, they overlook the massive emissions output their IT hardware and digital activities are producing every day. For example, of the 3.5 million computers analyzed, 34% averaged over five minutes to fully load. This wait time equates to about 450 tons of CO2 emissions per year. Simple acts such as ensuring software is kept up-to-date, turning off laptops when not in use and removing non-essential applications can go a long way in cutting back emissions and saving organizations money.

The report calls attention to a common trend among enterprises of replacing hardware every few years, regardless of useability. The research found that 20% of the devices analyzed were still performing and didn’t require replacement. And of the 80% that did have a low performance score, only 2% were unsalvageable, while the remaining 98% were fixable with a simple RAM upgrade or by optimizing startup performance. Companies that are opting to focus on these small fixes are saving millions and helping to address the global e-waste problem.

Graphic. 450 tons of emissions. Of the 3.5 million computers we analyzed, 34% averaged over 5 minutes to fully load. This wait time equates to about 450 tons of CO2 emissions per year.

Computers’ start up time is also a major factor that needs to be considered. Shockingly, devices that take longer than five minutes to load produce more than 450 tons of CO2 emissions per year — that’s the equivalent of 50,636 gallons of gasoline. This waste can be prevented with better visibility into the health of employee devices, a clear understanding of user habits and by taking a more proactive approach to common IT issues.

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Overall, a lack of understanding of employee computing habits leads to a higher emissions output and slower computing speeds. The research exposed that collectively, gaming, personal communication and media streaming apps generate 33 tons of CO2 emissions per year. To put that in perspective, it would take 300 trees a full year to absorb those emissions.

The report focused on data collected from 3.5 million anonymized devices to study how IT leaders everywhere can reduce their organization’s environmental footprint and costs while improving employee experience.

Read the full report by Nexthink. 

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