For enterprises of all sizes across nearly every industry, two goals are likely to appear at the top of their priority lists:
- Elevating their practice through digital transformation.
- Creating a viable environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy.
Fortunately, when companies consider a cloud-first digital transformation strategy, it becomes easy to achieve both.
When companies begin the process of assessing what steps make the most sense for their digital transformation journey, one solution they can’t escape is the cloud. Leaders looking for lowered risk, decreased costs, and a way to address complexity while achieving greater flexibility to respond to challenges will turn to the cloud to provide those benefits. One other major benefit of putting the cloud first is the fact that it is driving a more sustainable and environmentally responsible path forward.
Decarbonization Made Possible
According to global leaders, decarbonization is the only way to avoid climate change, and cloud computing can play a big role in helping companies achieve ambitious net-zero and carbon-negative goals.
To put things into perspective, continued adoption of cloud computing was predicted to prevent the emission of more than one billion metric tons of carbon dioxide between 2021 and 2024, according to IDC. What’s more, a case study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that moving software, such as email and CRM, to the cloud can save enough electricity to power Los Angeles for a year.
Many companies are currently taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint, and bold action will be required now to ensure a net-zero future is possible. Cloud-based services make it possible for companies to lean on new renewable energy sources on their way to decarbonization. According to a recent study about how the cloud enables utility decarbonization and flexibility, the move to decarbonization requires new monitoring systems to evaluate batteries, solar energy systems, and electric vehicle charging. Moving to the cloud allows the scale, flexibility, and agility needed to manage those systems while unlocking cost and power savings in the process.
For more interesting stats, check out our 10 fast facts on how cloud adoption can reduce your business’s carbon footprint.
Greening Your Supply Chain
When we talk about a company’s “green-ness,” there’s an increasing need to not only examine the direct impact companies have through their carbon emissions but the broader greening of their supply chain.
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol, a global standardized framework introduced in the ‘90s, is one of the companies that 9 out of 10 Fortune 500 companies look to when measuring and managing greenhouse gas emissions from operations, supply chains, and mitigation efforts. GHG protocol explains different scopes of emissions:
- Scope 1 is the direct emissions from a company’s operations.
- Scope 2 is the indirect emissions associated with electricity, steam, heat, and cooling.
- Scope 3 emissions go beyond your company’s direct impact and look at everything a company might be responsible for outside its walls — from goods purchased to disposal of products sold and the footprint of the data centers used for cloud computing.
Scope 3 is emerging as one of the most talked about pieces of the puzzle and the area companies can do the most to green their footprint. One way companies can green their supply chain is by partnering with companies that are also doing their part to lessen their environmental impact. Many public cloud providers have plans in place to meet aggressive ESG targets, making them eco-friendly partners that can help companies realize better Scope 3 emissions ratings. Here’s a brief look at what major public clouds are doing to be green:
- Google Cloud: Today, Google’s operations are carbon neutral and their latest goal is to run on carbon-free energy 24/7 at all of their data centers by 2030. To encourage others to take similar steps, Google makes all its technology, methodology, and even funding available to organizations around the world in the hopes of helping them transition to carbon-free systems.
- AWS: By 2025, AWS has committed to powering operations with 100% renewable energy and is also committed to achieving Amazon’s goal of net-zero carbon by 2040.
- Microsoft Azure: In 2020, Microsoft doubled down on its sustainability commitment by announcing plans to shift to 100% renewable energy by 2025. By 2030, they plan to take steps to remove more carbon than they emit, reduce carbon emissions by more than 50% and employ electric vehicles across their global fleet. By 2050, they plan to take steps to rectify their historic carbon footprint as well.
Smaller Data Center Impacts
Investing in the cloud presents a reduced need for companies to maintain their own on-premises IT infrastructure and there are fewer wasted resources when customers pay only for what they need in the cloud.
Therefore, thanks to the cloud, data centers are not the energy hogs they were originally predicted to be. According to a Science Journal study highlighted in the New York Times, data center output increased sixfold between 2010 and 2018. However, energy consumption only grew by 6%, due largely to cloud computing. In 2010, an estimated 79% of computing was done in traditional data centers, but by 2018, 89% of computing happened in cloud data centers.
Once again using the primary public clouds as examples, studies have shown that Microsoft Azure can be up to 93% more energy efficient than on-premises data center solutions, as well as 98% more carbon efficient. AWS’ infrastructure is shown to be 3.6 times more energy efficient than the median of U.S. enterprise data centers in a survey overseen by 451 Research. Google data centers are reportedly twice as energy efficient as a typical enterprise data center, on average. Compared with five years ago, Google’s data centers now deliver five times as much computing power for the same amount of electrical energy used – another example of how leading your digital transformation journey by looking to the cloud puts the environment first.
Atos OneCloud is a ground-breaking initiative that helps businesses create a custom cloud plan that is backed by Atos’ cloud advisory consulting services, expertise in application digital transformation, and prebuilt cloud accelerators. We can help you leverage the cloud most effectively, assessing your current technology footprint to plan a digital transformation that creates real value for your business.
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