Business and technology leaders are increasingly concerned with reducing their firms’ impact on this planet’s finite resources. Rising energy prices here in Europe help make a sometimes-abstract topic real, local, and immediate. While technologies such as automation, blockchain, and IoT feature in many sustainability initiatives, they also bring their own environmental impact.

No technology is unequivocally positive. Renewable energy, which is helping replace polluting fossil fuels; damages natural habitats, consumes finite resources in the equipment used to generate, store, and transmit power; and may contribute to landfill. IoT sensors that identify water leaks or monitor patient health consume power and other resources in their manufacture and use. Blockchains can support trusted data sharing, yet some have excessive electricity requirements.

But no one is seriously suggesting that we just stop. Instead, we must all find better ways to evaluate the pros and cons of each technological advance. With sufficient care, the environmental damage caused by new emerging technologies can be more than offset by the social — and environmental — benefits of putting these technologies to work.

Want to learn more about this topic? We’ll be speaking at Forrester’s Technology & Innovation EMEA this October. We’ll use examples from firms’ adoption of emerging technologies to highlight lessons that are broadly applicable to leaders in other industries. Join us to hear what we’ve learned, to ask questions, and to share your own experiences.