By ET Bureau - September 29, 2022 4 Mins Read
Most IT organizations are aware of the environmental benefits of cloud service offerings to achieve sustainability objectives, but few include sustainability as a criterion when selecting a cloud service provider
Environmental sustainability is quickly becoming a top business priority. Businesses that are committed to minimizing their environmental impact must concentrate on making their IT initiatives, including their cloud and edge infrastructure, more sustainable.
According to a recent Gartner survey on Carbon Emissions, sustainability was among CEOs’ top 10 priorities for 2022. The majority of IT organizations are aware of the advantages that cloud service offerings have for the environment in terms of achieving sustainability goals, but few use sustainability as a criterion when choosing a cloud service provider. The carbon emissions strategies of hyper scale cloud providers, however, are expected to rank among the top three factors in cloud purchase decisions by 2025, according to Gartner.
It takes time, effort, and money to change cloud service providers.
To avoid being forced to work with the wrong sustainability partner, organizations must immediately conduct a thorough analysis of providers’ current environmental sustainability efforts and roadmap.
IT leaders need to be aware of their company’s sustainability goals and timelines before interacting with any service providers on the subject. This will make it possible for the organization to find cloud service providers who share its objectives. How and by how much will cloud service providers reduce emissions related to services the enterprise will use, is the most important question IT leaders must ask. The answer should touch on the operations of the service provider as a whole, those of its supply chain, as well as how the provider can assist the enterprise in using and configuring the services it consumes. Inquire about the environmental sustainability commitments and objectives of potential cloud service providers, as well as the anticipated deadlines and level of accomplishment. In an ideal scenario, providers would collaborate with a sustainability organization to audit these objectives and certify the data given.
Consider metrics in light of various factors when evaluating the sustainability of cloud service providers. Consider a cloud data center’s power usage effectiveness (PUE). IT executives should also check to see if cloud service providers have received third-party certifications for energy efficiency. This can show how capable and dedicated a provider is to sustainability objectives. Check the use of renewable energy by the providers. Inquire of cloud service providers what proportion of energy is derived from renewable sources in the regions that are relevant to the enterprise’s use of cloud services. The majority of hyperscalers have plans to include this data in upcoming ESG reports but are not currently disclosing it to the general public. Recycling certifications show a dedication to circular economy principles in asset disposal, refurbishing, and energy use management.
IT executives need to be familiar with how cloud service providers track and control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The GHG Protocol, which categorizes emissions into three scopes, is the global norm for reporting greenhouse gas emissions. When viewed in the context of cloud services, these are:
Scope 1: Direct emissions from equipment that the business owns and uses to emit greenhouse gases. That usually only includes standby diesel generators for IT.
Scope 2. Grid electricity generation emissions related to power distribution and air conditioning in data centers.
Scope 3. A broad classification of emissions under indirect management by the enterprise. These include the packaging and outside network services, as well as the embodied carbon of all the tangible goods and services that were purchased. These can account for up to 50% of the provider’s overall greenhouse gas emissions for cloud service providers.
This includes the methods they use to design platforms in order to maximize circular outcomes, such as extending the life of platforms and recycling and reusing their components.
The primary focus of any company’s GHG emissions strategy should be on reducing overall emissions. A cloud service provider will invest in voluntary carbon offsets as it gets closer to its target date if it is aiming for objectives like net zero, carbon neutrality, or carbon positive.
It is essential that organizations undertake a careful analysis of providers’ current environmental sustainability efforts and roadmap now, to avoid getting stuck with the wrong sustainability partner.
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