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3 ways tech teams can reduce their environmental impact

Which industry do you think has the biggest climate impact?

✈️ Aviation?

💻 Tech?

👗 Fashion?

If you said aviation or fashion, sorry - it's tech. In fact, our industry is set to account for almost 10% of global electricity demand by 2030 - and 6% of its carbon emissions.

We all know we have a responsibility to behave more sustainably, yet 88% of IT leaders say their organisations could do a better job. So, here's 3 ways to reduce tech's environmental impact (and 3 benefits for you, and for the planet).

3 ways to reduce tech's climate impact

1. Head for the cloud

Cloud migration can have a huge impact on your CO2 emissions - globally, cloud adoption is expected to shrink greenhouse gas emissions by 59 million tonnes

How? Hyperscale data centres save energy because they achieve extremely high virtualisation ratios (essentially taking one machine and making it act like multiple machines), typically use newer, more efficient equipment and cloud providers like AWS are committed to powering their operations (and therefore yours) with 100% renewable energy.

2. Code sustainably

Sustainability in the cloud, like security, is a partnership between consumer and provider. Cloud providers build you a more efficient and sustainable platform, but if you develop clunky applications with performance-hindering code you're going to be consuming way more resources that you need to. Modernising applications to be cloud-native can deliver a whopping 98% reduction in carbon emissions. 

Amazon practices what it preaches here - in 2018 it used AWS CodeGuru (a machine learning service) to identify and act on code which limited application performance, increasing application efficiency and driving a more than 300% increase in CPU utilisation. Ultimately this helped them to reduce the number of instances needed to manage Prime Day, the busiest day of the year. 

3. Optimise for efficiency 

As we've seen, a more sustainable cloud environment is also leaner, more efficient - and optimised for cost too. 

Over one third of cloud spend (and therefore resource) is wasted. There are some quick wins, like making sure test environments are switched off when not in use and making use of right-sizing and auto-scaling, but wouldn't it be better for your applications to be developed with these principles front of mind?

AWS recently introduced the Sustainability Pillar to their Well-Architected Framework, bringing a sustainability lens to best practices and recommendations from Well-Architected Framework Reviews (WAFR). A WAFR is a great first step to improving your cost efficiency and sustainability and can open the door to a broader programme of optimisation.


NetZero is a net positive - for you, and for the planet.


1. Net positive for your reputation

Making sustainability improvements and contributing to NetZero is the right thing to do. Sustainability is now part of the ethical landscape, and it holds increasing importance for stakeholders, investors, employees and customers. Decisions about where to invest time and money will be based on sustainability credentials.

>80% of consumers respect companies and brands that adopt eco-friendly practices.

– Forbes

2. Net positive for your business performance

Sustainability and cost efficiency often go hand-in-hand. On top of its carbon reduction benefits, cloud migration can also deliver up to 40% reduction in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). (Accenture)

An Accenture study found that between 2013 and 2019, companies with high ESG performance enjoyed 4.7x higher operating margins - and returned more than double to their shareholders - in comparison with low-performers.

3. Net positive for your resilience

With its power to boost performance, it's clear that sustainability (and ESG more broadly) is now a strategic imperative. Addressing climate impact will reduce the likelihood of service-impacting natural disasters, but by embedding ESG initiatives into your resilience strategy you will also be better able to withstand the impact of disruption.

Next steps

If you're interested in reducing your carbon footprint and developing a more sustainable tech environment, we're here to help!

AWS Badge (old one)

As an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, we can help you to access generous funding to assess your migration readiness, help you migrate to the cloud and to modernise your applications. Learn more here.

We also offer Well-Architected Framework Reviews, and cost and sustainability optimisation packages. Get in touch for a free consultation.



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