How can IT departments can become greener in 2023?

Posted on 7 Sep 2022

We all know that if we are to try and stop, or at the very least, slow Climate Change, we all need to reduce our Carbon Footprint. And new figures being released daily show the importance of taking immediate and urgent action to address the carbon we consume. But, with one of the largest Carbon Footprints on the planet, how can the IT sector go green in 2023, and how will IT departments need to react in response?

IT Departments and the environment

When we think of reducing our carbon footprint, we may be inclined to think of the way we travel, such as reducing the number of flights we take per year or trying to travel by public transport. But what’s less obvious is the technology and IT we consume. However, a thorough guide by ClimateCare reports that global greenhouse gas emissions from the gadgets and internet we use, as well as the systems supporting them, amount to a total of 3.7% of global emissions – a similar figure to that of the airline industry.

Furthermore, the report details how, if the global demand for electricity produced by the IT sector was a country, it would be third on the list of countries with the highest emissions. And these current figures are only set to increase, with early numbers estimating that our technology emissions are set to double by 2025 as global demand for online services, both in our professional and personal lives, rises steeply in the coming decade. But what are the leading technology brands doing to ensure that we can all stay connected without the cost to the planet?

What steps are technology companies taking to go green?

Over the past few years, many companies have made pledges to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their sustainability as the impact and scale of climate change becomes more apparent. This includes the major technology brands Apple, who already use 100% renewable energy, and Microsoft, who have committed to becoming carbon negative by 2030. But are these just more examples of greenwashing?

At this moment, it looks as though technology companies are focusing on making their existing processes more efficient. For example, a report by Gartner details how cloud technologies, which have become increasingly important in the hybrid era of working, and cloud providers are looking to reduce their carbon emissions, as they estimate that their carbon offset and sustainability features will be in the top three criterion in cloud purchase decisions. This will require a greater transparency from cloud providers as currently their environmental impact is difficult to track.

5G is another existing, albeit developing, technology that could reduce carbon emissions. A report by Environment and Energy Leader details how switching to 5G should make businesses more efficient, as, in comparison to 4G, it can deliver 100-times faster bandwidth and support more devices. As Environment and Energy Leader discusses, this “enables greater connectivity of machine-to-machine communication, which is key to energy efficient technology such as smart and artificial intelligence systems”. In total, it’s hoped that 5G will reduce the US’s carbon emissions by 20% and could have a similar impact for other countries.

And what steps can IT Departments make?

As more and more companies create higher expectations of their IT Departments to deliver efficiency, reliability, and sustainability, this decade is likely to be one of significant change for the IT sector. It will be up to them to install and deliver new and emerging technologies, such as 5G connectivity, Artificial Intelligence, and carbon-reduced cloud technologies.

Becoming greener might also require IT Departments to alter their accustomed working habits. For example, there may now be a greater focus on fixing or repairing, as opposed to replacing, broken or damaged technology. As we become more aware of the processes required to construct just one aspect of a device, for example, computer chips made by intel, who’s factories require over 2.5 million gallons of water each per day, we become more aware of the need to reuse what has already been made. Recruiters may therefore need to look to employ IT staff who are trained in fixing both digital and physical technological issues.

IT Departments could also look to buy new equipment from companies who have made sustainability pledges, such as Logitech, who now make carbon-neutral products, or Razer, who recycle their own products.

Is your company committing to more sustainable practices in 2023? What steps are you taking? We’d be really interested to hear your story – get in touch and let us know the processes you’re putting in place.