We all do our bit to try and recover our environment. Whether you recycle, take the train, or just simply reuse your carrier bags at the supermarket, you’re making a change when it comes to the environment. But sadly, when it comes to the bigger picture, this just may not be enough.
Earth Day, which falls on April 22 each year, aims to raise awareness about the effect our actions have on the planet, and how we can go about changing attitudes and behaviours towards it. Like everyone else, the technology sector has a responsibility when it comes to counteracting climate change. Possibly more so, considering a previous Greenpeace report highlighted the fact that the cloud consumes so much energy, it would be classed as the world’s sixth largest country.
With this in mind, five IT experts share some tips and advice around the different ways that technology businesses can begin to shrink their ecological footprint.
Data is imperative when it comes to counteracting global warming
“On Earth Day 2018 we should all be thinking about protecting the natural world and combatting climate change – activists and tech companies alike,” believes Chris Powell, CMO at Commvault. “At the turn of the year, Robert Swan, founder of the 2041 Foundation, gathered a group of explorers (of which I was one), to take part in the South Pole Energy Challenge – the first ever mission to the South Pole that entirely relied on ‘clean energy’.
The expedition itself was a success, however, the 2041 Foundation would not have been able to continue to raise global awareness around climate change, if it were not for the data it collected during the mission. GPS, temperature, video footage, images; all of this data was vital to the success of the challenge. And, it is data that continues to hold the key to the long-term, successful pursuit of the 2041 Foundation’s core mission to combat climate change.”
Powell concludes, “Technology companies who are willing to partner with organisations like the 2041 Foundation and others doing similar work, are, in their own way, contributing to a globally important narrative that started with the heroic polar expeditions of Scott and Amundsen back in the early 1900s, and will hopefully continue long after 2041.”
Step back and take a look at the wider picture
“We’re constantly being made aware of the impact our human actions have on nature and the planet,” points out Tim Arnold, Head of Colocation at Six Degrees. “The IT sector is a contributing factor. Specifically, it is estimated that data centres have a faster-growing carbon footprint than any other area of the IT sector, which as a whole generates up to 2% of global CO2 emissions. In response, the European Code of Conduct for Data Centre Energy Efficiency programme was established in 2008 to improve understanding and awareness of energy demand within data centres, and recommend energy efficient best practices and targets.”
Arnold continues, “As a member of this programme since 2016, we are committed to reducing the environmental impact created by our data centres and aspire to lead the charge for other data centre owners to make this a priority. So this Earth Day, step back and look at the wider picture – at Six Degrees, we cannot emphasise enough the importance of protecting our planet.”
Marianne Calder, VP EMEA at Puppet agrees, saying that, “At Puppet, we strongly believe that it is essential to look at the bigger picture. By taking part and hosting a variety of activities that support the wider community and environment, the team is brought together in support of one unifying cause – taking care of the world we live in and making it greater for generations to come. This year, on April 22nd, many of our team members in EMEA will be focused on how to #EndPlasticPolution.
“Extending this ethos,” Calder believes, “there are always steps that can be taken when striving to give something back to the community, no matter how fast and in which part of the world we, as a company, grow. Whether this be done through volunteering, fundraising or organising an event, Puppet offers allemployees paid time for charitable activities and fundraising events that take place outside of the office.”
Strive for a paperless office
“A good eLearning programme – as well as boosting your organisation’s productivity – can have a positive impact on your organisation’s carbon footprint,” according to Steve Wainwright, Managing Director, EMEA, at eLearning company, Skillsoft. “Online resources significantly cut down on the amount of paper used in a learning programme. Classroom based-training, on the other hand, tends to rely on handouts and quizzes that use up a lot of paper.
“According to research conducted by Kyocera, the average office worker in the UK uses up to 45 pieces of paper per day, and a staggering two-thirds of that is considered waste. Striving to create a paperless office is one of the most eco-friendly tactics an organisation can use to help the environment, and learning programmes are a great place to start.”
Consider wireless networks
“Whilst a regular smart home might have a number of devices connected to the network across a relatively small space,” begins Hubert Da Costa, VP EMEA at Cradlepoint. “By
extending this across an entire city, or even an entire county, a huge wireless network of connected things could reach levels of efficiency, cost-effectiveness and convenience that are virtually limitless. For example, Gartner claims that smart lighting can reduce energy consumption by 90%.
“Connected streetlights acting as information networks around towns and cities will soon form a backbone of connectivity for other smart city services. These will update parking maps and guide traffic patterns in real time, minimising the impact of traffic and pollution. Environmental departments will have access to real-time readings of pollution levels and wildlife counts, and the ability to remotely collect and analyse water samples and predict usage patterns.
By connecting sensors and devices to wireless networks,” Da Costa concludes, public services have a greater level of control and a more in-depth method of data collection than ever before. This efficiency is rapidly generating a smarter, greener and more efficient world. With the advances in connectivity, the potential for continued improvement is huge.”