How can the Cloud Help You Create a Greener, Plastic-Free Workplace?

How can the Cloud Help You Create a Greener, Plastic-Free Workplace?

January 6, 2021 Off By Hoofer

Article Written by Sally Perkins

Migrating to the cloud can reduce CO2 emissions by 59 million tons per year, which is equal to removing 22 million cars from circulation – as per research compiled by Accenture. By meeting goals such as reducing the energy expended in on-premise data centers by around 65%, a company could reduce its carbon footprint by 84% and configuring applications to the cloud could take this reduction to 98%. In what ways is cloud tech helping companies reduce their energy needs and how it can also aid companies become more eco-friendly through lesser known means such as reduced reliance on plastics?

Reducing Energy Reliance

The cloud enables companies to run efficiently regardless of where workers are located and relying on serverless computing such as Google Cloud Functions enables development teams to execute computer code without managing servers. Thus, companies only pay for the computing time they actually use. Cloud providers such as IBM have invested in cutting-edge hardware technology to provide clients with improved performance while reducing power consumption. IBM’s Power 8, for instance, provides twice per core performance than the previous generation did, without consuming more energy. New technology has also led to more optimal design in data centers, which now have more efficient cooling systems that waste less energy.

Remote Work Teams and Dematerialization

It is estimated that around 22% of the workforce in the U.S. will be working remotely by 2025. Remote working structures dramatically reduce the number of vehicles on the road. The elimination of traditional office structures has the added effect of eliminating the need to store office supplies, food, and other products, which can help reduce a company’s reliance on plastics while also cutting its use of paper and other materials and equipment. In physical offices, steps are often taken to reduce plastics reliance – including recycling programs, working with eco-friendly suppliers, and the like. By working from home, however, employees can continue with individual efforts while avoiding the need to pack lunch, store office files, or undertake waste audits. The cloud can help reduce the impact of plastics in many additional ways. For instance, SAP UKI has piloted a ‘plastics cloud’ program that involves collecting existing, live data from across plastics supply chains to develop new ideas for waste reduction. 

Embracing Greener Energy

Many cloud providers (Amazon, Google, and Microsoft – to name just three) rely on green energy to power their servers, thus enabling companies to reach their sustainability goals more efficiently. Solar, hydro, and wind energy are already the norm in many countries when it comes to cloud computing. Google estimates that just one search on its engine utilizes as much energy as it takes to light up a 60-watt bulb for 17 seconds. It is easy to imagine how relying on solar energy can make a big difference both to an individual and a company’s carbon consumption.

Cloud computing is a greener choice for doing business in many ways. It enables companies to lower their reliance on physical equipment and storage equipment and space, it boosts efficiency via automation software, and it enables companies to pay as they go. With many providers also relying on green energies, cloud tech is a magnificent way for companies to passively reach their sustainability goals while also making significant cost savings.


About the Author

Sally Perkins is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.

Photo by Igor Son on Unsplash