IT leaders can vastly improve ESG performance with these three smart steps

The environmental impact of powering and heating buildings, manufacturing, and transportation is well understood, prompting many businesses to make more sustainable choices. But in the race towards net zero, the role of enterprise technology is often overlooked. Keith Ali, MD at Creative ITC, discusses how smarter working practices can help your business meet ESG targets.

Business leaders have a vital role to play as we tackle climate change and strive to create a lower carbon future. Companies in 166 countries have signed up to the UN Global Compact, calling on firms to act now in ensuring their strategies and operations are aligned with global goals. 

Over 60% of organisations claim they are under increasing pressure from customers to maintain ESG credentials, with 42% feeling the weight from shareholders. Companies failing to take ESG action are facing financial risk. 79% of investors said the way a company manages ESG risks was an important consideration, while almost half (49%) would divest from companies that weren’t taking sufficient action. 

Notably, customers, suppliers and shareholders are starting to see through greenwashing, calling time on organisations that hide behind carbon offsetting claims. There’s mounting pressure on firms to provide indisputable evidence of benefits from their environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies.  

In Europe, the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) is being extended to meet new EU sustainability standards. Likewise, two ESG disclosure laws became mandatory in the UK in 2022; ESG reporting is now required for all listed UK companies with over 500 employees or whose annual turnover exceeds £500 million. Reporting will be further formalised through new Sustainability Disclosure Requirements. Many other countries are following suit – the US Securities and Exchange Commission proposed climate-risk disclosure requirements last year to expand the annual reporting requirements of publicly traded companies. 

There’s a clear drive to accelerate change and take actions that make a tangible difference. 


Image credit: Shutterstock

IT teams hold the key

Although many organisations have improved environmental practices in areas such as energy consumption and recycling, working processes within firms themselves often lag behind. Power-hungry PCs that don’t maximise the use of renewable energy sources are still common. It’s not widely appreciated that outdated IT infrastructure is a huge generator of CO₂. Enterprise technology accounts for about 1% of global emissions – the same amount generated by the whole of the UK and equal to half of all emissions from aviation and shipping worldwide. 

Fortunately, there are a number of practical steps that IT teams can take to accelerate their organisation’s ESG aims. Greener IT doesn’t just mean rationalising infrastructure to drive carbon reduction – it’s equally about more efficient working methods, new attitudes, and smart solutions to tackling climate change. 

Step one: Choose a smart data centre

Although the cost of designing and implementing their own green data centre is unviable for most companies, IT teams can still make wise environmental choices about where to host their data and services. With public cloud hyperscalers increasingly castigated for underused resources and poor environmental controls, smaller cloud providers may be worth consideration. Creative ITC’s private cloud solutions are hosted from Equinix-powered data centres, which operate on 100% clean, renewable energy. These data centres are optimised to achieve a power usage effectiveness ratio (total energy used versus energy delivered to IT equipment) of c.1.2 versus an industry average of 1.8.  

Global engineering company SNC-Lavalin is working with Creative ITC to reduce its global data centres from 16 to just three. “One of the biggest benefits we’ve already seen in our carbon footprint is reducing storage by 69%, electricity by 53% and floorspace by 45%,” said Steve Capper, Group CIO of SNC-Lavalin. 

Step two: Transition to Infrastructure-as-a-Service

IT teams can also reduce their organisation’s environmental impact by migrating to an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) model. With fully managed IaaS, infrastructure responsibility, power consumption and carbon footprint move to the service provider. Shaking off the burden of maintaining on-premise technology, IT teams can reduce energy consumption, cooling costs and waste from decommissioned equipment. Private cloud providers can also further improve organisations’ ESG scores by utilising virtual machines and containers to reduce data centre servers. 

Step three: Adopt Virtual Desktop Infrastructure 

Adopting Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and employing a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution is another IT route to help organisations meet ESG targets. VDIPOD is one example of a purpose-built VDI platform hosted from data centres operating on 100% renewable energy. It provides firms with metrics and an audit trail to simplify ESG reporting. Companies using this solution use 81.7% less energy with an 89% renewable power model (one VDI server supporting 60 laptops/thin clients) at source and CO₂eq reduction of up to 43%1 compared to traditional CAD workstations.  

One international architecture studio has achieved a 90% reduction in kilowatt hours per person and a three-fold increase in renewable power use since deploying VDIPOD to over 400 employees. 

Greener IT doesn’t just mean rationalising infrastructure to drive carbon reduction – it’s equally about more efficient working methods, new attitudes, and smart solutions to tackling climate change.

Keith Ali
MD, Creative ITC 


Unlocking business benefits 

Although adopting more sustainable business practices has previously been viewed as a ‘nice-to-have’ investment or a PR exercise, there is now clear evidence that corporate ESG initiatives create business value, profits and opportunities.

In addition to meeting their own ESG targets and contributing to global environmental goals, business leaders adopting best practices can also expect operational and financial gains. With increasingly stringent ESG requirements, they’ll facilitate legally required reporting and face fewer regulatory interventions. Sustainable companies outperform their peers on EBITDA and profitability, and benefit from increased productivity, top-line growth and reduced costs. Publicly owned top performers are also more likely to see reduced downside risk, greater equity returns and higher credit ratings.

With environmental, social, and governmental concerns becoming increasingly urgent, business and IT leaders should keep these benefits front of mind when transforming their operations – for the good of their organisation and the planet.

[1] Calculations based on standard Dell high graphic workstations, Supermicro VDI servers and Dell XPS laptops. All calculations were accurate as of vendor technical specs 2023.


Keith Ali
MD, Creative ITC

As the Managing Director and co-owner of Creative Group, Keith Ali is ultimately responsible for the global growth and success of the company. His role is to design and execute the group’s strategic plan so that their clients can digitally transform IT into the agile service they need for continued growth and profitability. The strength of those relationships is what sets Creative apart and why the business is regularly recommended to others as a preferred IT partner.