Paving the Way for a Greener Future Through IT

Companies all over the world are feeling the pressure to be more sustainable from investors, customers, and policymakers. Despite this, IT strategies are an untapped tool for reaching climate targets. By utilizing three strategies that make use of technology for both the planet and profit, companies can embrace the power of IT and find themselves at the forefront of climate action.
As we enter 2024, legal regulations and customer demands push companies toward more sustainable strategies. While direct emissions reduction strategies like transitioning to renewable energy or electrifying transportation are crucial, it is also imperative that companies utilize digital strategies to tackle some other difficult challenges, often at a financial gain.
Digitalization is often discussed as a climate solution, but grasping what it means in practice can be a challenge. In this article, we highlight three ways that digitalization can help a company’s climate strategy: aligning your IT strategy with sustainability, cutting emissions in the supply chain, and identifying inefficiencies in your operations.

Aligning your IT strategy with sustainability

Many companies plan to increase their use of IT tools like data storage, Generative AI, and more, leading to the predicted growth of data traffic by 700% globally by 2030. The energy consumption associated with this, and the following carbon emissions, might make it harder for companies to reach their climate goals harder to achieve unless they rethink their IT strategies.
As data traffic increases, data center efficiency will take the lead in reducing energy consumption. Companies can optimize server utilization, upgrade to energy-efficient hardware, and implement advanced cooling technologies in their data centers. But, reducing the carbon footprint of data storage might also require alternative options like renewable energy, or utilizing cloud-based computing environments.
Effectivizing the energy use of your data storage is a crucial climate initiative, and will be even more important in the near future
Effectivizing the energy use of your data storage is a crucial climate initiative, and will be even more important in the near future

While cloud technology has existed for years, companies have been transitioning to virtual cloud computing environments that allow them to consolidate infrastructure into larger data centers provided by external actors, and thereby reduce their hardware footprint. Data centers provided by cloud providers are typically highly efficient, leading to energy savings and lower carbon emissions compared to having those services on the premises. Embracing cloud-based solutions also supports scalability, flexibility, and resource optimization – a win for both planet and profit.

Cutting emissions in the supply chain

It is typical for most of a company’s emissions to sit in its supply chain. Therefore, we’ll see more and more companies working with key suppliers that prioritize their carbon footprints. By doing so, companies will aim to mitigate the environmental impact of their entire chain. This collaboration will emphasize the importance of transparency and accountability across the supply chain. Companies will be keen to demonstrate progress using credible data, as customers and investors want to see a clear-cut plan with measurable targets, creating a path to sustainability.
One aspect of supply chain emissions comes from shared digital infrastructures, enabling the cloud-based solutions mentioned earlier. Optimizing the digital infrastructure used for a company’s connectivity can significantly reduce its scope 3 emissions while increasing efficiency, reducing cost, and building a reputation among companies’ customers and stakeholders. It also wins the support of investors, who are keen to see strong environmental governance.

Identifying inefficiencies across your operations

Advancements in data analytics and artificial intelligence present new opportunities for companies to optimize their utilization of resources and reduce emissions. Businesses can use predictive analytics to optimize resource allocation, machine learning to identify inefficiencies and minimize waste generation, and utilize AI technology to monitor their performances in real time and create adaptive management strategies.
Artificial Intelligence can help identify inefficiencies and design new processes that reduce costs and emissions
Artificial Intelligence can help identify inefficiencies and design new processes that reduce costs and emissions

For example: If your company utilizes a fleet of vehicles, switching to low-carbon alternatives like electric vehicles is one way to reduce your carbon footprint. But think about how AI can use advanced algorithms to analyze data like traffic patterns, real-time traffic conditions, weather forecasts, and road infrastructure to optimize transportation and delivery routes. These AI-enhanced insights can minimize travel times, reduce fuel consumption, and minimize emissions, aligning with a number of sustainability efforts. As an example, BT works with Geotab to help business customers optimise their fleet operations and reduce fuel use lowering their carbon footprint.
These are only some of the ways IT can be used to boost a company’s sustainability performance. Moving forward, IT development will be defined by the imperative for more sustainability, and companies who want to be at the forefront of climate action will develop more and more efficient IT processes to help achieve this. Companies that embrace the intersection of technology and sustainability are paving the way for a greener, more sustainable future.
This text is based on an article written by Sarwar Khan, Global Head of Sustainability for BT, and published in The Fast Mode.
  • Chris Ndungu

    5 w

    Glad to receive knowledge on what you do. This will help to guide many as we fight climate crisis.

    • Rotich Kim

      6 w

      This is great this idea needs to be embraced by all means as it details and has a great impact on the fight for green energy

      • Ingmar Rentzhog

        6 w

        Thanks for what you do and for sharing your knowledge and guiding others!

        Welcome, let's solve the climate crisis together
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