How Gaia Edge is proactively moving to a more sustainable Creating Shared Value (CSV) business model and what CSV means for modern progressive organisations.
The field of Corporate and Social responsibility has grown broadly and rapidly over the last two decades, with over 90% of the UK’s largest organisations publicly reporting and even broadcasting their CSR credentials annually. There is much to applaud from CSR programs which raise, highlight and transform organisations for the betterment of broader society. In fact more and more companies are recognising the benefits of shared value and rethinking economic models to address social development goals - driving not just accountability and responsibility but positive, progressive action at the heart of business.
Essentially moving from negative impact avoidance to positive impact creation, shifting away from a CSR (Corporate and Social Responsibility) model and embracing the new, more inclusive approach of CSV (Creating Shared Value)
Moving from negative impact avoidance to positive impact creation (CSV)
In the now landmark article “"Creating Shared Value: Redefining Capitalism and the Role of the Corporation in Society" by Porter and Kramer first published back in 2011 in Harvard Business Review. Porter and Kramer expanded on their original ideas in “Strategy & Society: The Link between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility” – directly linking the role of corporations large and small with solving the challenges we face in everyday society, problems like waste, energy use, poverty and inequality. Unlike traditional CSR models that are focussed on responsibilities CSV companies use business thinking to solve the problems that have traditionally been considered social issues. By creating products, services and/or solutions that tackle humanitarian or environmental issues as part of their core values CSV organisation grow financially as a result of creating better value for society at large.
Solving the challenges we face in everyday society
At Gaia Edge we are focussed and 100% committed to Creating Shared Value (CSV) for our society, whilst we create and maintain financial value to our investors and shareholders as a result of the value we create, our mission is to deliver on the sustainable development goals of industry, innovation and infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities and responsible consumption and production.
We do this through appropriate stakeholder engagement and initiatives to maintain our natural, social and financial capital. We are committed to reducing our own environmental impact as well as that of our customers, by exploiting new business opportunities to design and redesigning data centers and broader technology infrastructure and architecture, to limit negative externalities such as carbon emissions and improve returns on capital by developing and improving operations.
We know that progress and sustainability must go hand in hand and CSV is key to achieving that. Gaia Edge designs and builds sustainable technology programs, supporting organisations by driving measurable performance whilst reducing environmental impact.
In rethinking CSR models traditionally technology departments are left out of the conversation, despite the massive value and deep insight that technology teams represent it is rare (if ever) that a CTO/ CIO or otherwise would drive innovation at CSR level and we believe that has to change. Technology departments are enablers, allowing organisations to deliver their goods and services and accomplishing objectives, and are an integral component in the Creation of Shared Value (CSV). By delivering sustainable and environmentally better technical solutions together we can create real value to our customers and society, helping organisations align their internal operations to their societal responsibilities and longer term shareholder commitments.
In working with technology departments, sustainability departments and business leadership through a CSV framework we help define and uncover value by auditing and analysing existing technology infrastructure, enterprise architecture and supply chains in order to create baseline metrics for which the value can be measured, monitored and improved upon. Quantifying the value that innovative solution deployment can attain by focussing on those metrics most important to the organisation, whether that be profit per watt, PUE, WUE i/o per watt or requests per watt, thus helping to ensure that alignment of value is maintained throughout the engagement.
Driving impact from technology to wider society through a CSV framework means that instead of channelling action externally we have to relook at our existing infrastructure and architecture to “redefine productivity in the value chain”. In practical terms that’s a move away from traditional CSR that is reliant on proportionate “donations” and into real, commercial efficiencies and growth that sustain themselves. One example might be switching from air cooled to liquid cooled hardware, the cost saving on energy will deliver commercial efficiencies and improved competitiveness for growth but reusing any excess heat generated to power district heating systems (however small or large) represent both the solving of a societal problem but also an opportunity for competitive advantage.
It’s not just in the technology space though that CSV needs to create opportunities, far from it – to ensure that CSV is really creating value at all levels we need to raise awareness, drive progress and improve accessibility to innovation. At Gaia Edge we help to deliver value to the wider community by raising awareness in our schools across workforces and industries, peers and networks, educating and informing the implications of digital consumption, the environmental impact and encouraging more responsible use. Whilst this may look different in your organisation the goal of CSV is not just to take responsibility where needed but to actively seek out opportunities to drive positive change and add real value.
In delivering on CSV goals organisations need to take a longer term, more future thinking approach – taking bold, sometimes first steps to impact change, in some cases as Porter and Kramer discuss this can mean a balance of short term profits with long term opportunity and profitability. As one of our team eloquently puts it – evolution is hard but extinction is forever – a nod to some of the great names of the past that despite themselves just didn’t create enough value to survive. Great organisations of both the present and future will always evolve to ensure they provide value and value(s) at the heart of their operation so whilst CSV may be a shift from traditional models those that are brave enough to drive their own change are likely to reap the biggest rewards.
Bold steps for a brighter future
We’re proud of our commitment to CSV and to empowering business to take massive, practical action in reducing their own carbon emissions and energy use.
If you share our vision for a more sustainable, valuable future then get in touch, we’re ready to help you turn ambition into action.
Gaia Edge partner with organisations ready to start or accelerate their journey to Net Zero - across physical, system and architecture design our team of practical experts are here to help you transform to greener more sustainable technology.
If you’re looking for guidance on how your data center can achieve carbon neutrality, get in touch with Gaia Edge today where our team of experienced, highly knowledgeable experts will be able to help with your transformation into a greener, sustainable data center.
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