Jun 17, 2024

Why sustainability matters in the tech business

Tech companies have the power to drive sustainability beyond their own operations. Our Director of Sustainability and Procurement, Alexander Guehrer, explains how. 

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  • You know that sustainability is important to your customers, your investors, and your business.  

    But where do you start? How do you raise awareness among employees? And how do you get buy-in from senior leaders? 

    From my work as Director of Sustainability and Procurement at TeamViewer, I’ve encountered these questions more than a few times. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way.  

    Why tech companies (should) care about sustainability

    Clearly, it’s in the best interest of any business to preserve the planet it’s operating on. That’s why there are government regulations in place that require companies to set sustainability goals and report on their progress. 

    But in the technology sector, the motivation to improve environmental sustainability should go beyond meeting regulations. Our industry should lead the charge when it comes to sustainability because it has the unique power to improve sustainability for everyone else.  

    After all, tech companies can leverage their innate innovative capabilities to develop more sustainable products and processes. And by offering technology that helps others avoid emissions, e.g., by reducing travel, they can make an impact beyond their own operations.   

    That means the tech industry is in a powerful position to drive positive change.

    Why sustainability makes good financial sense

    Although most businesses understand that sustainability initiatives are necessary, many still see them as a threat to their profits.   

    In many cases, that’s simply not true. Working toward sustainability targets can go hand in hand with cost savings. For instance, renewable energy is sometimes even less expensive than fossil fuels. And traveling less by using remote software to solve technological problems helps you avoid both costs and emissions.

    Government regulations can even make it more expensive to ignore sustainability concerns. Germany’s CO2 tax, for example, penalizes individuals and companies that don’t meet their emission reduction targets.

    And that’s not all.

    Many investment funds account for ESG (environment, social, governance) criteria when selecting assets. And 50% of professional investors worldwide plan to increase their ESG investments over the course of this year. This means that companies that prioritize sustainability will secure access to more funding than those that don’t.

    And that was just the financial perspective. There are plenty more reasons to invest in sustainability, like enhancing your brand image and attracting skilled talent.

    How to get started with sustainability

    Many managers want to improve sustainability in their business but don’t know where to begin. 

    If you’re focusing on environmental sustainability, it all starts with calculating your carbon footprint. 

    Other than that, improving sustainability depends on the size of your company, the industry, and the region you’re in. You need to ask yourself which topics are most relevant to your business and people. 

    Then, it’s good to start with the low-hanging fruit. TeamViewer, for instance, was already a sustainable company at its core, even before we started structured sustainability work.

    TeamViewer’s products have always enabled people to reduce travel and avoid carbon emissions. And our extremely diverse workforce, with more than 80 nationalities, brings a wide range of perspectives to develop more sustainable solutions. 

    Whatever your business, the people around you might already have the right mindset. It’s just a matter of communicating, creating engagement, and developing a structure.

    Strategies to drive sustainability in a business

    To become more sustainable as a business, it’s vital to get everyone on the same page.   

    We’ve learned that this is a give and take. You can sit in your office working on targets, measures, and reporting. But that won’t create the momentum you need to really drive sustainability across your organization. 

    My advice is to be visible and give employees the opportunity to be part of the change. Many people are already passionate about sustainability topics, so you just need to give them a voice, a stage, or both.

    At TeamViewer, we have five (soon to be six) C-A-R-E working groups where employees actively contribute towards achieving sustainability goals. They also work together to define their own targets for the company, which my team reviews and takes back to the board. 

    Fortunately, the other senior leaders at TeamViewer share this sustainability mindset. However, in other companies, it can be difficult to talk about sustainability with top management. 

    In this case, it always helps to relate sustainability directly to your business's success. Discuss the consequences of not being sustainable — for your company, your industry, and your customers. 

    The risk of regulatory fines, decreased demand, and loss of talent are valid arguments that can get the conversation started. From there, you can start talking about the opportunities and how you plan to realize them. 

    Overcoming challenges in driving sustainability

    Establishing a sustainability strategy isn’t exactly an easy task. One of the biggest challenges is simply getting started. 

    Since sustainability as a corporate function is still quite new, this often means assembling a new team without being able to build on existing structures and best practices. 

    Another common challenge is allocating available resources. When your team’s scope covers everything from driving awareness and mitigating risks to seizing new opportunities, you don’t always have the resources to do it all. 

    The constantly shifting regulatory environment presents a further challenge. Every time a new regulation appears, you have to focus most of your resources on ensuring regulatory compliance. 

    The key to tackling these challenges is prioritization. That means assessing risks and opportunities with your team and the senior management. Find out what’s most important for your leaders and your organization and allocate people and resources accordingly.

    TeamViewer and sustainability

    Sustainability isn’t only part of TeamViewer’s corporate culture. It’s also central to our business model. By developing technology that empowers people to solve problems without traveling, we prevent carbon emissions every day. 

    This idea plays out in theory, but we wanted to prove that it’s more than that. So, we worked with Five Glaciers Consulting to quantify the amount of CO2 avoided using TeamViewer products. 

    To do this, a research team collected usage data, surveyed users, and had conversations with customers. They then calculated the amount of CO2 people avoided by using TeamViewer products in 2022, corrected by the emissions caused by the software itself. 

    And the results are impressive: By enabling people to solve problems remotely instead of needing to travel, TeamViewer helped avoid 41 million tons of CO2. 

    Looking into the future, we aim to continue driving environmental sustainability through innovation. 

    I should point out that it’s not about achieving a certain number. What’s more important is finding new and better ways to help our customers meet their sustainability goals. 

    That’s why we’re speaking with customers to learn how they use our software to reduce travel and emissions. We can share this information with our research and development teams so they can create even better products and features.


    Tech companies are in a particularly powerful position to advance environmental sustainability. We have the ability to improve our own processes while also empowering others to do the same. 

    This is beneficial for our planet and everyone on it. And since consumers and capital markets are rewarding corporate sustainability initiatives, it also makes complete financial sense.

    The time for businesses to start driving sustainability is now. From my experience, involving employees in this process is key to creating the right mindset. And discussing (non-) financial risks and opportunities will help get senior leadership on board. 

    The path to becoming a more sustainable business is never without obstacles. But whether you look at it from an ethical, strategic, or financial perspective, it will always be worth it. 

    Alexander Guehrer

    Director of Sustainability and Procurement at TeamViewer

    Alexander Guehrer is the driving force behind Teamviewer's commitment to sustainable development. As Director of Sustainability and Procurement at TeamViewer, he heads up the Sustainability and Corporate operations teams, enabling positive change across TeamViewer's strategy and operations. Before joining TeamViewer in 2017, Alexander worked as a consultant at KPMG and SYNLAB, where he supported other organizations in driving efficiency and growth.

    See how TeamViewer champions sustainability

    Through collaboration, access, reduction, and equity.