IT and tech can help organizations reduce carbon footprints and maximize sustainability. Yet, technologies themselves are carbon-intensive, so goes the conundrum.

In today’s digital economy, every industry is being enabled and transformed by technology. However, even though technologies are a source of efficiency and productivity, they are also a key consumer of resources, which makes them a natural focal point for sustainability innovation. 

Given their direct and indirect impact on sustainability factors, organizations need to review their IT operations to determine how best to collectively support the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions. Already, 140 countries have announced or are considering net zero targets, covering close to 90% of global emissions.  

For example, reducing the carbon footprint of data centers can GHGs and mitigate climate change. Improving the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) of IT staff can enhance social equity and innovation. Implementing ethical and transparent IT policies and practices can strengthen governance and accountability.

A lot can be done to drive sustainable IT operations from energy-efficient data centers, and software development can be tuned to reduce power consumption; and big data can be leveraged to reduce carbon emissions. How?

Andrew Lim, Managing Director, Kyndryl ASEAN

Five strategies for sustainable IT

Companies can start by gaining a better understanding of their IT state and implement best practices.

Here are some of the ideas being used in our own internal planning:

    • Establishing a clear sustainability strategy: Develop a sustainability strategy that defines your organization’s social and environmental priorities, and how you will align these with your IT operations.
    • Identifying sustainable products and services: Identify sustainable alternatives to your products and services, where possible. This could include shifting to renewable energy sources, reducing waste through reusing materials or end-of-life recycling of hardware.
    • Engaging suppliers and partners: This is done with the aim of encouraging more sustainable practices throughout your supply chain, and involves setting sustainability targets and working together to achieve them.
    • Measuring and monitoring progress: Set up an internal tracking system to report on your sustainability performance over time. This will help identify areas for improvement and ensure you are staying on track to meet corporate sustainability goals.
    • Innovate and embrace new technologies: Embrace new technologies and innovation to find new ways to make your operations more sustainable. For instance, there are now AI-powered solutions to help organizations to evaluate sustainability intelligence and carbon footprint metrics of their IT infrastructure and proactively measure and improve their energy efficiency to meet net zero goals.

Note that there is no silver bullet for meeting sustainability standards that will fit organizations’ unique circumstances. It is incumbent on all leaders to demonstrate that we can be focused on measurable sustainability initiatives, while still maintaining market pace with innovation.