Sustainability

The Latest

2 August  2022: The Australian Government will formally collaborate with the United States to start launching projects that will promote each country’s climate targets and reduce emissions. The US-Australia Net Zero Technology Acceleration Partnership will focus on long term energy storage technology, digital electricity grids, carbon dioxide reduction, plastics research, and renewable energy. Australia possesses large amounts of mineral reserves such as nickel, cobalt and lithium, which are essential resources used in zero emissions technology.

Why it’s Important

Government initiatives that promote zero net technology have a strong influence in private organisations operational practices. For instance, the intention in demonstrating that Cloud savings have occurred is to rationalise the need for a process of migration and change. Enterprises, however, must learn to realise the purported savings similar to how government agencies and the education sector are doing, by following common requirements when they share many services. 

IBRS explored the tangible costs associated with migrating to the Cloud, with both IaaS and SaaS journeys investigated in the 'IBRS Cloud Migration Case Study' advisory. The report is aimed at policymakers and strategists looking at the macroeconomic impact of technology, it also details the costs and benefits of Cloud adoption by industry sectors, providing IT strategists with realistic benchmarks. 

Who’s impacted

  • CEO
  • Procurement teams
  • IT teams

What’s Next?

For users of Cloud (and other IT services), it is necessary to examine any proposals to check their validity. Ask vendors to understand how their offers work because in most, if not all cases, what they propose in terms of savings through clean energy may not fit your enterprise requirements.

Additional Reading

The Latest

In late January, Google presented a detailed report entitled “Operating the cleanest cloud in the industry” to analysts. The private briefing detailed Google’s current status as a ‘net zero-carbon emitter’ (meaning it offsets any carbon emissions from its current operations with other programs). It also outlined its plans to be running entirely on carbon-free energy by 2030. 

Why it’s Important

All of the hyperscale Cloud vendors - Google, AWS, Microsoft, Oracle and Alibaba - have well-documented strategies to reduce their reliance on carbon-based fuel sources. Their strategies are all similar and simple: reduce energy consumption (with accompanying higher computing density) and development of renewable energy sources as part of data centre planning. Their efforts in this area are not just for environmental reasons, there are significant cost benefits in the immediate term to being free of fossil energy supply chains. All also see competitive advantages, not just against each other, but against on-premises data centres.

As these Cloud vendors announce not only net zero-carbon emission targets as being met, but zero carbon energy targets, the issue of sustainable ICT will once again start to emerge as a serial consideration for CIOs and data centre architects.  

IBRS and BIAP (via the IT Leaders Summits) have tracked CIOs interests in the topic of green IT. An IBRS study in 2008 had sustainable ICT being rated as “very important” for 25% of CIOs and “somewhat important” for 59% of CIOs. Since then, interest in sustainable computing has plummeted year-on-year. The IBRS / BIAP data for 2016 had 6% of CIOs rating sustainable ICT as a priority. By 2020, less than 0.5% of CIOs rated sustainable ICT as a priority.

With the growing call for action on climate change and the economic advantages the hyperscale Cloud vendors will have by moving to carbon-free energy sources, the pressure to provide sustainable ICT metrics will re-emerge.

Who’s impacted

  • CIO
  • CFO
  • Data centre leads
  • Infrastructure architects

What’s Next?

CIOs and infrastructure leads for organisations running on-premises services / data centres should expect a swing back to discussions of sustainability. However, unlike the 2000’s, the benchmarks for sustainability will be set by the hyperscale Cloud providers. By 2025, all Cloud vendors will start using their leadership in sustainable ICT as a selling point for policy-makers to mandate Cloud computing, or possibly even place unattainable goals for architects of on-premises data centres.

Rather than waiting, CIOs should review previous strategies for sustainable ICT, with the expectation that these will need to be updated and reinstated within the next 3-5 years.

Related IBRS Advisory

  1. The Status of Green IT in Australian and New Zealand (2008)
  2. Building your Green IT strategy
  3. Think green IT: Think saving money
  4. Forget Green; think sustainable computing in 2009