Offering huge savings on hardware and access to technologies like AI, ML, automation and big data, companies have flocked to the cloud over the last decade. There is, however, yet another reason to adopt cloud technology: it can make your company more sustainable. Here we look at the benefits of being more sustainable and how the cloud helps your business achieve this.
The benefits of sustainability
The most obvious and important benefit of making your business more sustainable is that you are playing your part in helping to make the world a better place. By cutting greenhouse gas emissions, recycling, reducing plastic and other pollution, and procuring sustainably resourced products, materials and services, the positive impact you have on the environment can be significant.
Another factor, growing in importance, is that consumers are wanting to reduce their own impact by buying sustainable products and services from eco-friendly brands. According to separate Gartner and KMPG reports, 87% of consumers have a more positive view of companies that support environmental issues, 56% take sustainability into account when looking for products and services and, since the pandemic, 37% are now prioritising sustainability when they shop. This is a trend that goes beyond consumer purchasing decisions; businesses increasingly want greener supply chains and partners, while employees want to work for sustainable companies. Becoming greener, therefore, can increase sales, loyalty and make it easier to employ the best talent.
If corporate responsibility and market forces don’t drive sustainability improvements, then regulations will. Governments across the globe are setting ambitious targets for the achievement of net-zero emissions and businesses will be compelled to comply. Though this will require a significant amount of effort over the next few decades, governments will expect to see progress towards their targets and legal measures are already being put into place to achieve these. In the UK, for example, firms will have to complete sustainability disclosures and the sale of gas-powered boilers and combustible engine vehicles will cease. Companies that fail to comply face a double whammy of fines and reputational damage.
How cloud improves sustainability
As businesses grow more reliant on IT, their IT-related carbon footprint increases. Today, this accounts for 4% of the world’s electricity use and 1.4% of global carbon emissions. This trend is moving upwards and as IT use becomes more prolific, predictions estimate that emissions will rise ten-fold to 14% in the next twenty years.
Adopting cloud services can help businesses reduce their environmental impact. One of the chief reasons is that, compared to in-house data centres, cloud vendors invest heavily in tools that help them manage and continuously optimise energy usage. Operating on such a large scale and with significant energy bills resulting, even before sustainability became such a priority, economic forces have driven improvements in energy efficiency in power conditioning, cooling and lighting.
What’s more, the economies of scale of the cloud enable vendors to operate more efficiently. Indeed, some cloud datacentres can be over three times more efficient and generate almost 90% fewer carbon emissions than in-house datacentres. This can be achieved through the adoption of more efficient technologies, like SSD drives, and via dynamic provisioning, where server capacity is matched with real-time demand to minimise overprovisioning and energy waste. At the same time, a cloud vendor is better able to utilise servers, so that fewer are needed. – Read more
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