This Earth Day six industry experts come together to share knowledge and insight on how their organisations are striving to contribute to the welfare of the planet.
Today is Earth Day; the world’s largest movement for inciting change and improving the environment, with more than one billion people participating in activities each year.
Like everyone else, the technology sector has a responsibility when it comes to counteracting climate change.
The industry has significant influence and should trail-blaze and lead the way in green initiatives where possible.
Alan Conboy, office of the CTO at Scale Computing looks at how businesses can reduce their impact on the environment:
“There are a number of ways that technology is helping to reduce the impact businesses have on the environment.
“Data centres are used by almost all businesses in some way or another, however, some can require huge amounts of power just to keep them cool, not to mention their operational power consumption.
“New technologies, like edge computing, compress the footprint needed to run IT out in the field. By using a data centre in a box that is smaller than a single refrigerator, enterprises can build their green efficiencies by using less power for operation and cooling.
“It is important that organisations are not only making the most of the latest technology advancements for better business but are also taking advantage of technology that improves their environmental impact.
“If every business made a small change, together we would make a big change.”
Steve Wainwright, managing director EMEA at Skillsoft discusses how significant environmental improvements can be achieved through a paperless office:
“A good eLearning programme – as well as boosting your organisation’s productivity – can have a positive impact on your organisation’s carbon footprint.
“Online resources significantly cut down on the amount of paper used in a learning programme.
“Classroom based-training, on the other hand, tends to rely on handouts and quizzes that use up a lot of paper.
"According to research conducted by Kyocera, the average office worker in the UK uses up to 45 pieces of paper per day, and a staggering two-thirds of that is considered waste.
“Striving to create a paperless office is one of the most eco-friendly tactics an organisation can use to help the environment, and learning programmes are a great place to start."
Jason Wells, VP and GM EMEA at Cradlepoint, looks at how greater efficiency with wireless networks is rapidly generating a smarter and greener world:
“Smart devices enable a greater level of control and a more in-depth method of data collection than ever before and they have an important role to play in both new and existing office buildings.
“Fast mobile Internet connections are the backbone of this new Internet of Things (IoT) landscape.
“And while 4G is already supporting IoT development in office buildings, 5G will be the catalyst for even greater adoption.
“This efficiency can generate a smarter business world, and the pace of development is only going to continue to increase.
“Rather than traditional wired network infrastructures, wireless mobile connectivity is becoming the solution of choice for enterprises readying themselves for the requirements of the future workplace.
“Over the next few years, as we move down the pathway to 5G, we will see more organisations taking this approach to deliver an increasingly connected workplace.”
Matt Aldridge, CEO and co-founder at Mango Solutions considers how data analytics can help decelerate the process of climate change:
“While there is no single solution to the issue of climate change, there is a responsibility on all of us to take action, and an increased use of data analytics across various vertical sectors is one way in which the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.
“Think about the waste problem in supermarket fresh food sales, for example. Better analytics of weather patterns can help supermarkets ensure they have the right amount of seasonal produce to meet demand for a particular weather period without wastage.
“Better analytics of customer weekly shopping habits would mean the store could ensure it has met demand without having surplus fresh food. How do sales of fresh fruit and vegetables compare for a Sunday meal versus a week day meal?
“From a transport and supply chain perspective, how can data insights from telematics benefit fleet and delivery services to drive more efficiently, thereby conserving fuel and reducing overall CO2 emissions?
“And there are many, many more examples of data analytics applications that can play a small part in decelerating the process of climate change - the more focus that organisations place on this, the brighter the outlook for our planet.”
Christian Lang, vice president EMEA at Commvault recognises the role big business has to play:
“Some sections of society believe that climate change will be solved by advanced new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, or the Internet of Things.
“But on Earth Day 2019 it is important that we look a little closer to home when considering the challenge represented to our planet by climate change.
“If one person buys an electric car or cuts down their plastic consumption that is a good start, but imagine if three billion people actively make that kind of change.
“Ultimately, there is no ‘silver bullet’ to address the issue of climate change, but the more organisations and individuals can gather around the messages of organisations like Robert’s 2041 Foundation, the more positive the future of our planet will surely be.”
Rik Williams, head of data centre operations at Node4 highlights the need for eco-friendly technology:
“With climate change front of mind in recent times, this year’s Earth Day acts as a poignant reminder of humankind’s increasingly detrimental impact on our planet.
“While the IT industry is undoubtedly a contributing factor, many organisations are taking the initiative in using greener technology to make a difference.
“Data centre providers have a responsibility to follow sustainable principles and should be thinking about how to fulfil the requirements of businesses’ that are conscious of the need to deploy environmentally-friendly IT solutions.
“This means utilising the latest energy-saving technologies, such as cold aisle containment, free cooling chillers and adiabatic cooling systems in order to be more energy efficient.
“Using this technology is not only better for the environment, but could save data centres between 40% and 60% on air conditioning, reduce customer costs and, crucially, their impact on climate change.”