Three case studies show that CSPs are helping their customers meet ESG and sustainability targets, they walk the talk too.

Rising regulatory pressure, customer demand, and the push for carbon neutrality among early adopters pose significant challenges for companies, especially those still struggling to calculate their baseline carbon emissions.

In one example, securities and stock exchange commissions in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand have been struggling to report respective carbon emissions. They needed a solution to help proactively monitor approximately 500,000 tons of carbon emissions and quantify reduction strategies with precision and efficacy.

A second example involves a Singapore-based startup that developed a cloud-based solution that digitalizes and simplifies ESG self-assessment.

A third example involves a Vietnam-based group that manages numerous farms, animal feed facilities and food production factories across South-east Asia. Although the firm was already on a digital transformation journey, it has been struggling to gain better visibility into daily operations due to data siloes — leading to challenges in monitoring the myriad carbon emissions in its daily operations.

Three cases, one common factor

In all the scenarios above, one common enabler of solutions was the use of the public cloud and extended services offered on cloud service providers — in this case, Amazon Web Services (AWS).

In the first instance, through the use of scalable GPUs on AWS, a firm called Pantas created, trained, and deployed machine learning models for the complex emission calculations required to help the securities and stock exchange commissions in the region derive critical emissions insights and AI-powered decarbonization strategies through analytics and real-time interactive AI-powered dashboards. Through the access of such important real-time data, the firm’s clients in Malaysia and Thailand have successfully formulated a carbon reduction blueprint, setting them on a path to carbon neutrality by 2050.

For the case of the cloud-based platform that simplifies the process of ESG self-assessment, Singapore-based startup STACS drew on AWS to build the ESBN Asia-Pacific Green Deal for Businesses, aggregating large volumes of sustainability data, powered by the public cloud’s scalable, reliable and secure infrastructure. Recognizing the data-intensive nature of carbon accounting, STACS’ solution can process large data sets, particularly for supply chain emissions; and the automation mitigates human errors from manual data entry.

Finally, in the case of the firm GREENFEED handling agricultural and food production operations, consultants from Renova leveraged AWS to build a data lake and data warehouse that consolidates updated emissions and other reports daily, feed  company-wide performance metrics in real time and enable data-driven decisions to be made by management to achieve an integrated supply chain and accurate sales planning. 

With improved data accessibility, GREENFEED’s factory and farm managers gain more granular visibility into electricity consumption, production timelines, and other factors that impact daily operations.

– Ken Haig, Head of Energy and Sustainability Policy (APJ), AWS

A renewable cloud in itself

While public cloud services are intensive carbon emission operations in themselves, Haig stressed that AWS is heavily focused on key sustainability strategies for energy efficiency, renewable energy, water stewardship, and waste reduction. In particular:

    • In ASEAN, AWS is involved in two utility-scale solar projects in Singapore, and four utility-scale solar projects in Indonesia.
    • Aside from renewable-energy initiatives, the firm has started using lower carbon materials for data center construction, and lower-carbon concrete that can reduce carbon emissions by nearly 40%.
    • The firm uses a fleet of electric delivery vans for its data center operations. For its actual servers, the firm continues to use custom-built Graviton2 processors — offered exclusively to AWS customers — that can provide better performance per watt than any other Amazon EC2 processor.
    • AWS is also aiming to be “water positive” by 2030. “One of the ways that we’re trying to decarbonize our energy use is trying to make sure that we are responsible stewards of water resources as well. And so we’ve pledged that we’re not only going to be efficient and neutralize our water use, we’re actually going to be returning more water than we use to the communities in which we operate. And that’s a 2030 goal,” Haig said, noting that liquid cooling remains the predominant method in AWS’s massive data centers across the globe.
    • The firm has recorded a 24% improvement in its water use since 2021, and 20 AWS data centers globally use recycled water for cooling. Overall, 2.4bn liters of water have been returned to communities since last year.
    • Lastly, the firm is also focusing on waste reduction and is embracing “circular economy principles” for its server racks. In 2022 the firm was able to extend server equipment life from four years to five years, and networking equipment life from five years to six years.
    • Promoting cloud technology and ESG-friendly services also helps the firm’s customers to hit sustainability targets. For example, the AWS Open Data Program offers customers 100 petabytes of data with support from the Open Data Sponsorship Program; the Amazon Sustainability Data Initiative provides publicly available, free access to important scientific data that can otherwise be hard for researchers to access or analyze.

Finally the AWS Data Exchange is a marketplace for commercial data of all types, and includes many data sets of potential relevance to sustainability research and implementation.