How can business leaders continue to leverage IT for innovation without hindering global efforts towards net zero? Rob Smith, CTO of Creative ITC, examines the road ahead.

Dependence on IT across all areas of modern business operations means today’s enterprises are carrying a hidden burden equal to half of the emissions from the aviation and shipping industries combined. But for modern CEOs, commitment to Net Zero isn’t just regulatory. It’s central to strategic leadership in the digital age.

Companies implementing robust sustainability operations outperform competitors on EBITDA and profitability. And Gartner  forecasts that customers will demand carbon management of tech as standard by 2025, merging ethics with business strategy. 79% of investors consider a company’s ESG strategies before making financing decisions; and the workforce is becoming more conscious of these issues, too. Half of millennials and Gen Z are pushing their employers to do more to combat climate change, and 2 in 5 have left companies due to environmental concerns.

All of which means that sustainable IT extends beyond mere infrastructure upgrades. It requires a holistic change in corporate culture and operations, with businesses rethinking the way they approach every aspect of IT. The shift isn’t just about investing in new tools and technologies. In fact, the first steps on your sustainable IT journey, are simply about making smart, conscious choices, rather than large investments.

Presenting: your six-step

roadmap to sustainable IT

1. Data centre decisions

With enterprise IT set to account for 14% of global carbon emissions by 2040, the shift towards greener data centres could hardly be more vital. Seek out data centres operating on renewable energy, and look closely at power usage effectiveness (PUE) – the measure of the energy that powers a server versus how much is used for activities like cooling. The closer to 1, the more energy-efficient it is.

2. Consider cloud services

Migrating to the cloud is a more effective at improving energy efficiency than optimising IT infrastructure. But it pays to look before you leap. Despite investment, public cloud hyperscalers are increasingly castigated for poor environmental controls. Consider smaller providers using 100% renewable energy at source and managing cloud solutions with techniques such as virtual machines, containers and machine learning.

3. Transition to Infrastructure-as-a-Service

Leaders can positively impact their organisation’s ESG aims by moving to a managed service provider under an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) model. As well as boosting agility and right-sizing for business needs, this approach reduces IT real estate, hardware refreshes, cooling costs and waste from decommissioned equipment.

In fact, the first steps on your sustainable IT journey, are simply about making smart, conscious choices, rather than large investments. 

ROB SMITH, CTO, Creative ITC

4. Transform end user IT

End user devices account for a huge proportion of tech carbon emissions and contribute significantly to electronic waste. Solutions that reduce hardware dependency not only enhance operational efficiency but also play a pivotal role in a sustainable technological future. Optimising the number of end user devices and extending their lifespan are practical steps leaders can take to reduce environmental impacts and running costs without additional investment.

5. Empower remote workers

Adopting remote working has the immediate benefit of slashing both commuting and power usage. For example, transferring to virtual desktops running on purpose-built VDIPOD delivers high performance for even the most demanding apps, while reducing power consumption by 81.7% and making 89% better use of renewable energy at source.

6. Sustainable supply chains

For most companies, decarbonizing supply chains has the potential to drive the greatest impact on their emissions. However, complexity of global supply chains makes surfacing data, delivering actionable insights and implementing change a tremendous challenge. But by implementing tools to enhance secure data sharing and real-time collaboration, organisations can facilitate more responsible supply chain partnerships that make use of sustainable IT infrastructure.

In conclusion

Integrating sustainable practices into business operations is not just a trend; it’s an essential evolution. By taking practical steps now to adopt more sustainable working practices, companies can dramatically reduce their carbon footprint. Moreover, there is a clear connection between sustainability aims and business value.

As regulatory frameworks around sustainability tighten, companies proactively adopting green IT are better positioned to comply, avoiding penalties and managing risks effectively. Those embedding sustainability into what they do and how they do it also boost brand reputation, customer loyalty and talent retention.

For forward-thinking leaders, implementing sustainable IT is a strategic move that will propel their company forward, and set the stage for future growth.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As Chief Technology Officer of sustainable computing experts Creative ITC, Rob matches the strategic focus and progressive ambitions of the business with the market’s best breakthrough technologies.

Rob Smith
CTO, Creative ITC