Turning Sustainability Intentions Into Action

Convert your sustainability challenges into concrete commitments.


Sustainability has entered the mainstream of corporate objectives, with businesses in the Forbes Global 2000 and beyond pledging to become more sustainable. That implies diverse things to different businesses in different industries: anything from reducing employees’ usage of plastic bottles to achieving carbon neutrality through offsets, to our own recent promise to run fully on carbon-free energy 24 hours a day, seven days a week by 2030.

However, there is an increasingly prevalent issue: corporations acknowledge the importance of environmental initiatives but are sluggish to adopt meaningful objectives. In a study done in collaboration with IDG, 90 per cent of global information technology (IT) leaders identified sustainability as a priority, but only 67 per cent had a sustainability objective in place for their business.

As a technology company, we believe that technology teams can be centres of long-term innovation, even when they confront difficulties in identifying their greatest possibilities for optimization. When businesses initially begin their sustainability programmes, there are a number of issues that must be addressed before they can begin to make headway.

Pressures From Rivals

Beyond sustainability, today’s business and technology executives must address a plethora of factors. They must guarantee that their apps and infrastructure are both quick and powerful for their users. They must emphasize resilience and reduce downtime, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 epidemic, when the whole corporate sector was forced to go digital overnight. As their client base grows, they must also ensure that their products are both safe and cost-effective.

Then there’s the issue of sustainability, with products and infrastructure under growing pressure to be ecologically friendly. Organizations must also deal with the issue of carbon reduction, which may be perplexing on its own. It’s no surprise, then, that progress on sustainability has stalled. There are several elements clamouring for attention, all of which can contribute to cognitive overload and result in decision-making paralysis or delays.

Solving For Longevity

Since the company’s inception in 1998, we have incorporated sustainability into all we do. In the case of Google Cloud, this entails working with clients all around the world to help them utilise our technology to make their own operations more sustainable. Here are some of the most frequent ways we’ve discovered for assisting clients in making significant progress toward their sustainability goals.

Bring Together Technical And Sustainability Teams

Creating a place for collaboration between sustainability and technical teams can result in new sustainable breakthroughs. At Google, our sustainability team’s aim to develop technology that enables people to do more for the environment informs our strategy, infrastructure, and product initiatives that enable us to run the cleanest cloud in the industry. Furthermore, a collaboration between Google’s sustainability and engineering teams has resulted in game-changing breakthroughs such as optimising our data centres to work harder when renewable energy is plentiful.

Similarly, including technical and sustainability teams at all levels of decision-making may help your firm develop a more sustainable business. Etsy is a fantastic example of a Google Cloud client that has done this, with tight coordination between technical and sustainability teams assisting in reducing Etsy’s energy use and powering their marketplace with 100 per cent renewable electricity.

Don’t Incur Any More Unsustainable Technological Debt

It is critical to emphasise sustainability early in the project design process. When we include sustainability issues from the start, the downstream effects in design and implementation add to our total carbon reduction efforts.

We recently investigated how offering lower carbon location alternatives to Google Cloud users could affect their decision about where to execute their application. While all users were 19% more likely to pick a low-carbon location, new users were more than 50% more likely to go green. They weren’t constrained by past geographical selections and were able to minimise their carbon footprint even further.

Incorporate Sustainability Into All You Do

Sustainability is not a one-time event; every activity must be seen through the lens of sustainability. Sustainability signals may benefit various audiences if they are presented at the correct time and in the proper context to assist them to take action or make a decision.

We recently introduced a region picker for potential Google Cloud app developers that lets you analyse critical criteria like pricing, latency, and carbon footprint when deciding which Google Cloud area to operate on. Individual users will see a green leaf symbol next to Google Cloud regions that use the greatest proportion of carbon-free energy in the console.

Assisting You In Taking Action

It is not always simple to move from sustainable aspiration to action. We at Google Cloud aim to assist you in meeting your unique sustainability objectives. You may finally help your business contribute to a greener world for everybody by implementing improvements to its leadership, infrastructure, and product creation processes.

Written by Kusuma Nara |The Entrepreneurs Diaries is now available on Telegram. Join our telegram channel to get instant updates from TED.

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