Over the past few years, more and more companies have been taking steps to reduce their environmental impact. These steps include recycling, using energy-efficient products, and renewable energy sources. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of going green and why businesses should invest in being more sustainable.
Recycling and eco-friendly products are already quite common, and countries are increasingly investing in renewable energy. But there is still a lot to do, and the world is constantly looking for new ways to reduce the harmful effects of human activities.
One unlikely hero in this battle to save the planet is extended reality (XR). XR is a term that describes virtual, augmented and mixed reality and any of their combinations. But before we get into that, let’s see why businesses should go green.
Four reasons why businesses should go green
Improve brand image and attract green customers
More and more people understand how our actions impact the environment, and many have decided they want to do something about it. This influences various areas of their lives, including purchase decisions.
A group of environmentally conscious buyers we call green customers is rising in numbers. Companies should want to attract them because they are willing to pay more for products and services which are considered eco-friendly. According to the 2021 Global Sustainability Study by Simon-Kucher, 42% of consumers in the U.S. are willing to pay more money for sustainable products.
The same study shows that 78% of global consumers think it’s important to be sustainable and want to live in a more sustainable way. So we could argue that 78% of customers will choose your business over your competitors if you offer the same quality but are more eco-friendly. Finally, green customers tend to be very loyal to brands that they perceive to be environmentally responsible.
Reduce operational costs with efficient technology
Devices and systems created with the natural environment in mind are almost always aimed at reducing power and fuel consumption. And using less energy is beneficial not only for our planet but also for our wallets.
One new eco-friendly trend is the transition to remote work. This, too, can be beneficial from both an environmental and business perspective. After all, the more employees working from home, the fewer office spaces and infrastructure you need. You will also pay lower electricity bills if fewer people work from the office.
Finally, you can reduce training costs by switching to a remote mode. Modern technology, like virtual and augmented reality, facilitates remote training very well. Of course, there are times when it’s best or necessary to meet with the trainees in person. Even under such circumstances, training in VR can help lower the amount of resources you need to complete it.
Positively impact the employees’ morale
Besides green customers, many of your employees and co-workers are also environmentally conscious. They will surely appreciate a workplace that goes about its business with consideration for the planet.
Make the world a better place
Finally, it’s important to go green and save the earth because it’s our only home. It is the only place we have to live, and it is the only place we can get the resources we need to live. If we don’t take care of our planet, future generations won’t have anywhere to go.
We, too, can feel the negative effects of years of negligence. It takes more than just the efforts of individuals worldwide to make real changes. We need whole organizations to make the right decisions and take steps toward more sustainable practices.
Benefits of going green with VR & AR
Virtual and augmented reality technologies can help businesses that want to go green in:
- reducing energy consumption
- decreasing their carbon footprint
- decreasing the amount of created waste
- educating their employees and customers
- improve their brand image in an interactive way
Remote work and training
First, XR technologies can help your business save energy and reduce emissions through remote work solutions. Virtual reality enables the creation of virtual office spaces where employees can collaborate on projects and communicate in real time, no matter where they are. There is no need to commute to the office; they only need a good VR headset.
The same applies to corporate training and meetings with clients and partners. No cars and planes that pollute the atmosphere are involved.
Training is particularly simple to transfer to virtual reality. And it’s being done by hundreds of companies all around the world. In fact, VR training is one of the most requested project types among our clients. One such project 4Experience has worked on in the past is this VR Training for Flight Deck Officers.
If you think about it, VR training programs are not only great because they can be conducted from anywhere in the world. They’re also safer and can simulate hazardous, even life-threatening conditions. And you don’t need to use additional resources for training, like fuel for the helicopter in this case.
Finally, XR can be used to create virtual or augmented reality customer service experiences, allowing employees to assist customers from anywhere. We’ve also worked on an AR Remote Support Application in the past.
The app we created enables audiovisual connection between two people. Both users see the same image in real-time. Technicians and consultants on one side can draw information overlapping the live stream with instructions for the client. This way, they can provide comprehensive support without the need to travel to a specific location.
Using AR, you can get full ROI after 21 minutes and 30 seconds – at least we had it at Struers using AR4Vision solution.
Paweł Kotelon, Country Manager at Struers
All in all, switching to full-remote or hybrid work means not only fewer emissions and lower energy consumption, but it also translates into money saved on renting office space or electricity bills.
Less waste from designing, manufacturing & storage
XR solutions can help companies reduce waste from designing and manufacturing products by providing a virtual environment in which products can be designed and tested. This way, fewer physical prototypes need to be created and disposed of.
Augmented reality, in particular, is a great tool for improving the customer experience in e-commerce. And XR is playing the leading role in a newly emerging type of shopping – immersive commerce. Both of these approaches can potentially benefit our natural environment.
If we do our shopping remotely, we can lower emissions, just like with remote work. Moreover, e-commerce sales models enable better optimization of a company’s operations, further reducing waste and energy consumption.
For example, it’s easier for online brands to sell made-to-order products instead of keeping a large stock. Stock that would have to be kept in a large warehouse that uses up lots of energy for things like lighting, heating or cooling the products. Stock that would potentially have to be thrown out if it isn’t sold on time.
Lower return rates
But some people would argue that e-commerce is nevertheless wasteful. Why? Many companies offer a free return policy, especially when it comes to clothes. So consumers often order items to try them on and send back the ones that don’t fit, or they don’t like. This creates an excessive amount of back-and-forth deliveries.
Once again, XR technology can change this with AR try-ons and virtual fitting rooms. One of the most prominent reasons for high return rates is the inability to see how a product will look once it arrives. These applications enable customers to try on articles before ordering them, so they make more informed decisions and are less likely to return their purchases.
Promoting eco-friendly habits among employees
An organization or company can also save money and the environment if its employees are committed to an eco-friendly lifestyle. What role does XR play here? First, it can be used to create immersive educational experiences that teach employees about the importance of sustainability and how their choices can impact the environment.
Additionally, extended reality can be used to create gamified experiences that incentivize employees to make environmentally-friendly choices in their everyday lives. Businesses can use AR to provide employees with real-time energy-saving tips, such as turning off lights when they leave a room.
Finally, businesses can use AR to give employees real-time feedback on their environmental performance and potentially reward the right decisions and initiatives.
Improving brand image with XR
We said that one more benefit of going green for a company is improving its image. Most people appreciate environmentally responsible brands, so this is in fact a good selling point and basis for marketing activities.
So what does this have to do with XR? Virtual and augmented reality apps are great marketing tools and can be used to build an eco-friendly brand image. For example, businesses can use VR & AR to create virtual tours of their facilities. These tours can show potential customers or employees how the business works to reduce its environmental impact.
Is VR & AR eco-friendly in principle?
Someone might argue that manufacturing a VR headset and maintaining the infrastructure needed for its proper functioning also creates waste and uses up energy. And that’s true, no doubt.
But a well-built headset should easily last for years. Additionally, we are getting closer to using clean energy sources on a global scale. So in the near future, using electricity may not necessarily be related to producing pollution. And we strongly believe that the ecological opportunities XR opens outweigh any minor downsides.
Make your company and the planet benefit from XR
As you can see, there are many benefits of going green, and businesses should take advantage of these opportunities. XR technology can help you achieve your sustainability goals by reducing energy consumption, waste, and emissions.
Additionally, extended reality can be used to educate your employees and customers about eco-friendly practices. Finally, you can use it to improve their brand image and attract green customers.
Drop us a line if you’re looking for a partner to develop a virtual or augmented reality application for your company. One of our experts will contact you within 24 hours. Let’s create something exceptional together!
Marketing specialist with four years of experience. Having spent part of his childhood in Ireland, he's fascinated with its culture and language. Loves history, football and any form of writing.