A global pandemic threw many businesses a curveball in 2020. Companies had to get creative as establishments closed and the world seemingly stopped moving, with people being forced to stay home and press pause on their usual routines. As a result, COVID-19 revamped the way we do business. While technological advances have introduced us to many new ways to perform online business operations, e-commerce and remote processes have skyrocketed since 2020, as people and corporations have been pushed to go virtual.
The silver lining is that many benefits came with the compulsory shift to heightened online services and business functions, not just for corporations but for the environment as well. After the initial shock of the abrupt halt to people’s daily lives, many businesses and employees quickly adapted as they were able, and employers saw an increase in productivity and overall well-being among their newly remote staff. Additionally, candidate pools and audience reaches expanded, offering companies opportunities and resources never before acquirable. Globally, scientists began witnessing a shift in our ecosystem, where nature was thriving in the midst of our human plight. It was as though a balance was restored among the earth and those inhabiting it, and all were benefitting from the newfound equilibrium.
With such recognition, the rapid progression to digital initiatives isn’t likely to ease any time soon.
But even prime solutions to unexpected or unforeseen ordeals can lead to new problems or concerns. Cloud technology can help alleviate your modern business’s most glaring IT issues by providing cost savings, increased scalability, mobility, and heightened security. Among its many beneficial qualities, implementing cloud technology into your IT operations is also helpful in creating a “greener” tomorrow, similar to what researchers documented at the height of the pandemic.
Utilizing the cloud for data storage, information sharing, increased insight and collaboration, accessibility, and transmission speed may benefit the earth long term. Cloud technology can promote increased energy efficiency and availability of remote operations, thereby reducing commute times and your business’s and employees’ overall contribution to the carbon footprint.
Tech and the Environment
Environmental damage resulting in “waste” or pollution can take many different forms. Technology can both mitigate and contribute to this damage. In other words, the ecological impact of technology is dual in nature, both helpful and harmful.
Since 1980, the United States has seen a 42% improvement in the air quality index, per an article published by Brookings, a nonprofit public policy organization in Washington, DC, researching to solve societal problems. Technological innovations can account for much of that, with processes focused on reducing pollution by introducing manufacturing and other profession-specific solutions and products for cleaner operations.
However, how we use technology can be toxic to our world. Twenty years ago, in the U.S., emissions from transportation alone made up 46% of the nation’s primary pollutants released into the atmosphere. When the pandemic happened, slowing and, in some cases, entirely shutting down the economy worldwide, research indicated a significant improvement in air quality across the globe. Emissions were reduced, water pollution decreased, and our ecological system was restored.
There’s always another side, though. For example, the world also saw increased medical waste due to COVID-19, including hazardous waste, disposal of disinfectants, and other medical waste product disposals, such as masks and gloves. This and other studies show that technology is thereby two-fold, enhancing human capabilities and having the potential to promote sustainability while also demanding significant amounts of energy and resources to power it.
In short, technology’s impact on our earth, whether positive or negative, is dependent mainly on what technologies are used and how individuals use them in response to human social, cultural, political, and economic priorities.
The Sustainability of Cloud Technology Explained
Today, more than ever, businesses have a moral obligation to address wastefulness within all areas of their operations. If you’re wondering how cloud technology plays into all of this, a Pike Research report forecasted a 31% decrease in data center energy consumption from 2010 to 2020 based on the adoption of cloud computing and other virtual data services.
Another study found that server shipments to data centers dropped from a 15% increase each year from 2005 to 2010 to a 3% increase after 2010. Total server counts directly correlate to the power demanded for each server. Server power requirements steadily increased from 2000 to 2005 but remained static since 2005. Efficiency improvements are primarily responsible for the reduced power draw. Still, other best practices combined with improved operations could potentially yield a 45% reduction in electricity demand, saving up to 33 billion kWh in energy consumption annually in U.S. data centers alone.
One way to achieve such drastic, energy-efficient solutions or “carbon-neutral IT operations” is by moving your company’s data-related functions to the cloud. The environmental proactivity supported by utilizing the cloud is undeniable. In addition, cloud infrastructures afford us heightened energy efficiency and can also reduce the use of physical products, hardware, and paper waste by hosting everything in a virtual realm.
Additionally, since employees are given instant access to information from basically anywhere in the world that’s “plugged in,” companies opting into the cloud could promote a highly productive remote workplace, thereby reducing emissions related to daily commutes and saving on fuel consumption.
Amazon Web Services™ (AWS), one of our current partners, has committed to reaching 100% renewable energy usage by 2025. Companies moving from on-premises infrastructure to the AWS Cloud typically see an 88% reduction in carbon emissions, with approximately 77% fewer servers needed to conduct business, resulting in 84% less power consumption and the use of 28% cleaner solar and wind power offered by AWS data centers.
Furthermore, Amazon is one of over 300 businesses to sign The Climate Pledge, committing to reach net-zero carbon by 2040.
Partner with an Industry Expert to Take Advantage of Cloud Technologies
Are you considering cloud technologies to propel your business forward into a more efficient and “greener” future? If you’re ready to make the change, consider partnering with an expert in all things pertaining to the cloud, digital solutions, and cybersecurity.
You don’t have to be tech-savvy to care about the earth. Those deciding whether to do business with you, partake of your services or purchase your products, don’t have to know what cloud technology is or understand how it works to appreciate your company taking strides to go “green” and endeavoring to do what you can to protect our globe.
When deciding to make any changes within your business that can have an impact on your day-to-day operations — even a positive one — it’s important that the transition is smooth and seamless, presenting minimal inconvenience within the workplace and to your employees. Having a trusted partner to guide your organization will allow you to make the best choice to meet both your technological and ecological goals while maximizing the efficiency of your initiative. Also, you will minimize the likelihood of any missteps — thereby avoiding additional unexpected costs. A knowledgeable partner will know how to exact the process with the necessary ease and speed to keep your company thriving, now on the cloud.