IT infrastructure reduction is key to reaching net zero targets

IT infrastructure

IT infrastructure and reduction of its energy use is the key to meeting net zero targets, according to a new survey of sustainability managers.

IT infrastructure sustainability is the number one priority among sustainability program directors with 90 per cent agreeing that companies cannot reach their net zero goals without significantly reducing their technology infrastructure energy usage. This problem will grow worse as 76 per cent predict the impact of technology infrastructure on a company’s carbon footprint will increase in the next 12 months.

A new report by Pure Storage and Wakefield Research, ‘Drivers of Change: Pure Storage IT Sustainability Impact Survey 2022,’ examines the opportunities for IT professionals to collaborate with enterprise sustainability directors to navigate reductions in the environmental footprint of their organisations.

The survey of 1000 sustainability program directors, saw consistent results in all global markets surveyed including the US, UK, France and Germany.

Most sustainability managers in the UK, 73 per cent, say their company’s leadership is treating sustainability initiatives as a priority, with the majority planning to meet sustainability goals within three to seven years (55 per cent). However, only about half (51 per cent) of those surveyed in the UK say they are on track with their goals.

Misalignment of IT and sustainability teams in purchasing decisions: Even as tech’s carbon footprint grows, 63 per cent of respondents in the UK say vendors’ sustainability is likely to be overlooked during the vendor selection process. This could be allayed by getting sustainability managers’ input earlier, but nearly two in three (64 per cent) say they only become involved after the technology purchasing process has already begun.

IT team support of company sustainability initiatives is Dire: More than any other function (i.e. finance, leadership, operations), IT was identified as not taking the necessary steps to support their company’s sustainability goals (33 per cent). Less than half (46 per cent) say their IT team is taking proper considerations about sustainability when making decisions about technology purchases.

Data centres currently account for one per cent of global electricity consumption. The World Economic Forum estimates that digitisation generated four per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 alone. If brought to scale digital technologies could reduce emissions by 20 per cent by 2050.

Data centres and digitisation play a vital role in any corporate sustainability strategy. While sustainability managers are working towards meeting critical environmental goals, they can’t do so without more sustainable IT infrastructure marked by high efficiency, scalability, and simplicity.

As a result, there is a tremendous opportunity for IT professionals to help their organisations make strides in reducing their environmental footprint. By building and adopting sustainable technology infrastructure, supported by innovative, efficient, and scalable IT vendors, IT teams have the potential to make a significant and immediate impact through technology engineered to use significantly lower power, lower cooling, and far less waste.

“Businesses can drive the green transition by leveraging the right technology and partners to support sustainability initiatives,” said Wes Van Den Berg, regional vpt, UK & Ireland at Pure Storage. “Modern sustainable infrastructure that requires less power, less cooling, and generates far less waste can have a significant and immediate impact on reducing an organisation’s carbon footprint.”

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