The Covid-19 pandemic is a cruel reminder that even on the 21st century, our world is just as vulnerable to crises as it was in the early days of human civilization. There is no crisis more serious than climate change. Anant Adya, Executive Vice President of Infosys Cobalt, says if we hope to stop the progression of environmental disasters, such as unprecedented heat waves, flash floods, tsunamis and wildfires, we must take action aggressive to decarbonize. From yesterday.
The fight against climate change is a collective battle of countries, governments, industries, institutions and individuals. Just consider the business impact. Climate change and environmental risks, such as deforestation, will cost companies revenues amounting to almost US$1.3 trillion by 2026.
Organizations are therefore adopting various sustainability measures to reduce non-renewable energy consumption, environmental pollution and waste generation. Key to this endeavor is the adoption of technology-driven sustainability solutions. This article focuses on how one particular technology, namely the cloud, enables companies to achieve their ESG objectives.
Reduce the energy footprint on the cloud
Moving workloads from their own data centers to the public cloud can significantly reduce the energy consumed by businesses. First, the workload migration is performed after streamlining and optimizing the current footprint. Second, the cloud model makes efficient use of resources by sharing them among customers, unlike private data centers which are built for a certain capacity that often goes unused.
In addition to this, cloud providers have energy-efficient data centers that use renewable energy sources, which greatly contributes to carbon neutrality. To put it in numbers, a cloud server serves 100 times the workload of a private server of the same capacity would normally handle. Additionally, hyperscalers, who are also trying to be more sustainable than they already are, are constantly striving to make their clouds even greener. Cumulatively, these measures enable client companies to reduce their IT carbon footprint by up to 88 percentaccording to a study.
Simplify ESG reporting
While companies know the importance of sustainability, many are challenged by the complexity and contradictions of ESG reporting, not to mention the difficulty in collecting financial and non-financial data of the required quality from internal and external sources. The cloud can really help their case by standardizing data and automating reporting processes. For example, a hyperscaler and a software giant offer a cloud-based SaaS offering for reporting carbon emissions and tracking progress against carbon targets.
There is an encouraging trend of leading global organizations leveraging cloud services to activate and assess their ESG initiatives, as well as for reporting purposes. In a Survey 2021 Of more than 500 US executives working at Fortune 1000 companies, 34% said their company was already using the cloud for ESG reporting, while 26% said they had plans that hadn’t been implemented yet. implemented.
Reduce emissions and e-waste faster
Instead of disparate efforts to reduce emissions, companies can move to the cloud to meet their carbon goals faster. Additionally, they can continue to make incremental improvements by using information from a sustainability dashboard offered by hyperscalers, showing the emissions associated with their cloud usage.
The cloud can kill two birds with one stone to reduce not only energy consumption but also electronic waste. Some cloud-based infrastructure and application-as-a-service providers help their customers retire their old servers and other equipment in a sustainable way. A number of vendors, including Amazon, Cisco, Dell and Google, are members of the Partnership for circular electronics (CEP), a sustainability forum to foster circularity in electronics. One of the objectives of the CEP is to promote the reuse and recycling of technological infrastructures.
Derive and act on Green Insights
The right data and analytics are important for making the right sustainability decisions. The cloud is imperative for technologies such as the Internet of Things, machine learning and edge computing, which enable companies to track ESG metrics such as energy and water consumption, usage other natural resources, pollution and waste creation, etc. computing, storage and agility to these technologies to collect, ingest and process massive volumes of structured and unstructured data into insights that can lead to sustainable actions.
An extremely important use case here is the development of green buildings and smart spaces. Buildings and built-up spaces are estimated to cause up to 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions. But using the cloud with other digital technologies, the construction industry can collect data, such as ambient conditions, occupancy, and equipment signals, and take informed action to optimize office and retail space for sustainability.
Bringing sustainability to product design and development
One industry that is already benefiting enormously from the cloud is manufacturing. Today, many progressive manufacturers are running advanced analytics on the cloud to design sustainable products and processes. A research study commissioned by Infosys found that the second most important reason for cloud adoption by discrete manufacturers in the wake of the pandemic was to pursue new product development.
For example, automakers are shifting their new product development activities from power-hungry data centers to power-efficient public clouds. Toyota has created a cloud-based virtual office infrastructure, allowing teams to collaborate remotely while reducing the number of workstations.
Cloud for a sustainable future
As the 2030 deadline approaches, the world must step up its actions to stop climate change. Organizations have a great responsibility in achieving our common sustainability goals. In addition to adopting environmentally responsible policies and practices, companies can leverage digital technologies to advance their ESG objectives. Among the various technological solutions, the cloud is the most important catalyst for a transition towards sustainability.
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