How Cloud Supports Sustainability 🌱 Part 1
Sustainability has been a popular word, and so owing to the accelerated global climate crisis.
Sustainability, as defined by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
The impacts of climate change provide a new perspective – evident in severe weather patterns, eroding beachfront, increased wildfires, and worldwide droughts – demand that corporations are held responsible for their efforts in doing their part to improve sustainability.
Corporations worldwide recognize the urgent need to act on climate change. Climate change is increasingly impacting the way businesses operate.
So what’s the solution? How can the cloud help sustainability?
Technology teams are under pressure to reduce the carbon footprint of power-hungry data centers and operate in more sustainable ways.
As the pace of innovation in the cloud and the availability of new tools and services continues to explode, Gartner® forecasts worldwide public cloud end-user spending to reach nearly $600 billion in 2023. The cloud plays an essential role in helping organizations become more sustainable. It can reduce carbon emissions and facilitate sustainable innovation and research through its architecture.
📝 Check out our blog post on corporate sustainability statistics and using artificial intelligence for sustainability. How Cloud Supports Sustainability 🌱 Part 2
Let’s take a look at how cloud systems affect sustainability!👇
The Cloud is Green
Cloud computing has positioned itself as a more sustainable option compared to traditional and native methods. But how exactly did it show that it’s more sustainable?1. Intelligent Infrastructure
Cloud computing enables centers to be managed centrally despite their geographical location. Data centers have smarter infrastructure that saves energy and are often located closer to electrical power facilities, helping to avoid significant transmission losses of electrical power.2. Reduced Climate Impact
Climate impact is greatly reduced by the cloud’s improvement in energy efficiency as a result of fewer carbon emissions.3. Lower Energy Consumption
Another key point of cloud computing that affects sustainability is lower electricity usage. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has researched that shifting software applications to the cloud reduces energy consumption by up to 87%.4. Smarter Energy Use
The cloud is flexible depending on usage, and there are no idle machines. This highly used infrastructure makes cloud computing several times more efficient than traditional data centers. Hardware with higher efficiency has significantly lower long-term energy consumption.5. Ambitious Sustainability Plans
Finally, major cloud providers have shown great promise in becoming net zero in the future. Many major cloud providers are ahead of other industries in their plans to reach the net zero target. For example, Google’s target is to match its energy consumption with carbon-free energy (CFE) every hour and in every region by 2030. The search giant has a long track record in clean energy, and in 2007, it became the first major company to become carbon neutral. Google is set to demonstrate that a carbon-free economy is possible while also setting an example for other cloud computing and technology businesses.
Power of Cloud Computing1. Faster time to market
Cloud computing supports new innovations by making it easy to test new ideas and design new applications without hardware limitations or slow procurement processes2. Scalability and flexibility
Cloud computing gives your business more flexibility. Likewise, they can quickly scale down if resources aren’t being used.3. Cost savings
Whatever cloud service model you choose, you only pay for the resources you actually use.4. Better collaboration
Cloud storage enables you to make data available anywhere you are, anytime you need it.5. Advanced security
Despite popular perceptions, cloud computing can actually strengthen your security posture because of the depth and breadth of security features, automatic maintenance, and centralized management.6. Data loss prevention
Cloud providers offer backup and disaster recovery features.
📝 Check out our blog post for more:Cloud Computing Benefits for Streamlining Software Development☁️
Net-Zero Solutions: Carbon Footprint and the Cloud
A carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an individual, event, organization, service, place, or product, expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).
Google’s carbon-free electricity
By 2030, Google wants to be (contractually) supplied with carbon-free electricity 24/7 to cover its own consumption.
Google defines ‘carbon-free’ as follows: ‘We define carbon-free power as any type of electricity generation that does not directly emit carbon dioxide. This includes renewables like solar, wind, geothermal, hydro and biomass, as well as nuclear power.’ However, these means of production emit GHGs, whether at the time of their construction, their installation, or their end of life. Rigorous accounting must consider the emissions induced by renewable energies. This makes it possible to really measure the physical impact of energy use.
For instance, in 2019, Google’s electricity consumption was approximately 12 TWh. Even if this electricity were to come from 100% solar photovoltaic energy via installations physically connected to Google’s servers, which is not the case, this consumption would represent 530 ktCO2e, or roughly the emissions of a country like the Seychelles in 2016.
Explore how to measure, report, and reduce the carbon footprint of your digital applications on Google Cloud 👉 Measure and reduce your IT carbon emissions
Google Cloud summarizes recommendations for reducing your carbon footprint:
Google Cloud Sustainability Success Stories
Google Cloud operates the cleanest cloud in the industry in order to help its customers achieve their own sustainability goals.
Helping Etsy achieve 100% renewable energy for their commerce platform
“Etsy is one of a number of organizations committed to environmental responsibility—many of whom focus on reducing the environmental impact of their operations by reaching 100% renewable energy. Google shares this commitment, and in 2017 we met our own goal of matching 100% of the energy we consume with renewable energy purchases. Reaching this milestone was very important to us, but it also mattered to many of our customers. Many organizations know that building and expanding on-premises data centers can use a lot of energy from local grids. Our own data centers are no exception, which is why we offset the impact through renewable energy purchases and high quality carbon offsets. So when a Google Cloud customer like Etsy uses our platform, they can rest assured that the net carbon emissions associated with that usage is zero.“ CTO of Etsy, Mike Fisher
SunPower partners with Google Cloud to make solar more accesible
By partnering with Google Cloud, SunPower significantly changed this timeline by developing Instant Design, a technology that allows homeowners and businesses to create their own design in seconds. Jacob Wachman, vice president of Digital Product and Engineering at SunPower, explained how Instant Design’s use of Google Cloud reflects the best of machine learning by providing applications that can improve the human condition and the health of our environment (see video here).
The cloud is evolving to meet the industry-specific needs of companies.
If your organization is working towards net zero, eliminating emissions from your own IT operations is an essential part of it.
The decisions companies make will directly determine how sustainable their solutions are and the benefits they provide. Those who choose wisely will gain unprecedented levels of innovation, leading to both a greener planet and a greener balance sheet.
Collaborating with a reliable cloud provider can grant you the advantage of having access to cutting-edge technologies and industry-leading methodologies, as well as the ability to scale your operations seamlessly and efficiently as your business grows. Furthermore, you can rest assured that your data and applications are protected with robust security measures. If your organization is considering further cloud adoption, please contact us to learn more about how we can help your business.
Kartaca is a Google Cloud Premier Partner with approved “Cloud Migration” and “Data Analytics” specializations.
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