In the shadow of COP26, it has become all too apparent that enterprises have to make a more concerted effort to reduce their impact on the environment – and do so at a time when they are driven by market forces to make greater use of technology. How then, is it possible to expand technologically while becoming net-zero? While there is no panacea for such a dilemma, the cloud does offer organisations the potential to become more sustainable. Here, we examine the benefits of sustainability and how cloud IT can help bring this about.
How sustainability benefits enterprises
The chief beneficiary of sustainability is the planet itself. By reducing carbon emissions, pollution and the destruction of natural environments, enterprises are helping to save the world from being uninhabitable. Unfortunately, the chain of events that may lead to such a catastrophe is already starting to happen and action needs to be brisk, robust and comprehensive.
This understanding hasn’t gone unnoticed by the general public and consumers worldwide are becoming increasingly conscious of the impact of their own purchasing decisions. As a result, the demand for eco-friendly products and services has increased dramatically and sustainability is now considered a key part of a brand’s customer experience.
This has been evidenced by both Gartner and KMPG who, in separate studies, found that 87% of consumers hold more positive views of brands that support environmental issues and that 56% now consider sustainability before making a purchase. It is not just the consumer making such choices; so too are workers and businesses. Companies want greener partners and workers want jobs with sustainable employers. Enterprises that improve sustainability, therefore, become more attractive to customers, talent, corporate partners and investors. Indeed, these benefits have played a vital part in making executives more receptive to investing in sustainability.
Besides the carrot, of course, there is always the stick. Enterprises resistant to sustainable development will be compelled to move forward by regulation. As COP26 demonstrated, governments are committing themselves to more ambitious targets that will directly affect every sector of the global economy. Not only will new regulations place a duty on enterprises to reduce their environmental impact; they will be required to report on their progress. UK organisations, for instance, will have to submit sustainability disclosures. Failure to comply or meet targets will result in stiff penalties and, perhaps even more damaging, see green credentials get tarnished.
Improving sustainability with cloud
The huge adoption of digital technologies means IT is now responsible for 4% of global electricity consumption and 1.4% of carbon emissions. If this seems shocking, it’s nothing compared to what it will be in 2040, when ongoing growth in IT usage means it is predicted to account for 14% of the global carbon footprint – a ten-fold rise.
Shifting from in-house IT systems to cloud-based solutions can, however, help enterprises reduce the environmental impact of their operations. One of the key reasons for this is that cloud service providers are better able to manage and optimise their energy use. With such vast facilities, economic necessity has driven service providers to seek the most efficient ways to power, cool and light their data centre operations.
Cloud data centres also have more efficient technologies, such as SSDs, and make use of dynamic provisioning, matching server capacity with demand to reduce the energy being wasted through overprovisioning. What’s more, the virtualisation used in cloud data centres means physical servers can be better utilised so that fewer of them are required. As a result, cloud service providers can run their operations three times as efficiently as enterprises with on-site systems and can reduce like-for-like emissions by a staggering 90%.
The sustainability of cloud service providers doesn’t end here. The international standards they have to comply with, such as ISO 14000 and ISO 50001, ensure that progress is ongoing. At Hyperslice, ISO 14001 directs our choice of energy-efficient infrastructure, our use of power, cooling and lighting and the way infrastructure is monitored and maintained. Under ISO 50001, we are committed to implementing, maintaining and continually improving our energy management systems to ensure sustained improvements in energy efficiency and reductions in consumption.
Other sustainability accreditations achieved at Hyperslice include ESOS, SECR & REGO. ESOS is the Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme and SECR are the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting regulations. The REGO certification (Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin) demonstrates our commitment to procuring green energy.
Improving sustainability is a necessity for enterprises, driven by the urgent need to address the environmental issues that, unfixed, will result in global catastrophe. In addition, there are a growing raft of regulations and increasing demands from consumers, employees, investors and business partners to become environmentally friendly. For enterprises needing to find a pathway to sustainability, cloud adoption not only offers a greener route; it also serves up a smorgasbord of IT-related and cost-savings benefits. For more information, visit Hyperslice.com.