A good sustainability strategy balances technology and use cases

Technology is not always the answer when it comes to reducing a company’s carbon footprint, which is why IT leaders must be wise in using new and emerging technologies as part of their sustainability strategies.

That’s according to Abjit Sunil, senior analyst at Forrester Research, who said the contribution of ICT to an organization’s carbon footprint is “large and growing.” Sunil spoke on a panel during Forrester Research Technology and Innovation Forum on September 30th.

Sunil said emerging technologies such as blockchain, edge computing, and data centers are consuming large amounts of energy. He noted that data centers consumed 1% of the total global demand for electricity in 2020.

This is why files are so important IT leaders He said looking at specific use cases for emerging technologies when it comes to the company’s plan to reduce carbon emissions.

“Using emerging technologies for sustainability is really close to the right use case and the right scale,” Sunil said. “Thinking about that is the true strength of a technology leader and how emerging technologies will be beneficial or risky for an organization’s sustainability journey.”

Focus on sustainability strategy

Internal actions on the Sustainability Roadmap begin with procurement, including green energy and energy-saving devices. The companies can then improve internal processes, including data centers and the value chain, which Sunil said often enter emerging technologies.

Blockchain technologies can help measure and monitor supply chain emissions, ensuring data accuracy through smart contracts that certify real-time data on carbon emissions. In addition, cutting edge computing and Internet of Things technologies are improving transportation and logistics operations.

However, companies should tread carefully as technologies such as IoT and blockchain generate their own carbon footprint, he said. He noted that Blockchain technology consumed 0.3% of global electricity demand in 2020.

Using emerging technologies for sustainability really comes close to the right use case and the right scale.

Abhijit SunilSenior Analyst, Forrester Research

Sukumaran Nair, associate dean of research at Southern Methodist University, said that using blockchain to manage sustainability efforts can often wipe out benefits gained due to higher energy consumption. Nair spoke on the board with Sunil.

However, technologies such as data centers, blockchain and edge computing, which Nair described as “complementary,” should not be ruled out because of their potential to create an additional carbon footprint. He said it’s up business leaders To balance the use of technologies as part of the company’s efforts to reduce carbon.

“This is where innovation has to come in,” Nair said.

Technology addressing carbon footprints

It’s about being able to measure the negative and positive impacts of ICTs and reduce negative impacts, said lecturer Bhushan Joshi, Head of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson North America. Ericsson is a multinational communications technology provider.

Joshi said Ericsson has set targets to reach net-zero carbon emissions for its 5G technology portfolio by 2040. He said the company is also planning to evaluate individual sites to see which areas can create “smart sites” to improve energy consumption.

In addition, using techniques such as Artificial intelligence And machine learning is helping the company find patterns to improve energy efficiency as networks become “more and more complex,” he said.

Running them efficiently will require these technologies,” Joshi said.

Mackenzie Holland is a news writer covering big tech and federal regulations. Prior to joining TechTarget, she was a general correspondent for wilmington star news And crime and education reporter at Wabash is a normal merchant.

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