The Cloud: A Solution for Environmental Sustainability?

FUJITSU I 9:00 am, 29th March

Environmental sustainability has become a crucial challenge of the 21st century. To ensure that future generations can thrive in a healthy environment, it is good practice for mankind to change the way it interacts with the planet. Daniel Sahler, Head of Multi-Cloud Services at Fujitsu Luxembourg, explains the challenges and benefits of cloud with respect to sustainability, and the role cloud computing may play on the sustainability journey.

What challenges do Luxembourg organizations face when adopting the Cloud?

Governance, specifically how to manage the Cloud, presents the biggest challenge to organizations in Luxembourg seeking to adopt cloud computing. Cloud adoption is not merely a technology-driven topic; it requires significant changes to the organization's processes, IT operating model, and workforce, requiring the acquisition of new skill sets and technologies. Therefore, it is essential for organizations to have a comprehensive view that considers the business and the IT organization. Additionally, Cloud Sustainability has become a crucial factor that must be taken into account from the beginning. Failure to do so may result in more complex issues later on that may be more difficult to resolve.

What's the origin of the concept of Cloud Sustainability?

Cloud sustainability is closely tied to optimization. The idea of virtualizing multiple servers on a single physical server to make more efficient use of hardware was acknowledged over two decades ago. Today, cloud computing represents the next logical step in this evolution, as we consolidate datacenters into virtual datacenters to better utilize available resources. This scale of economy is only achievable by leveraging the big hyperscalers like Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud, just to name a few.

Could you provide additional information on the environmental effects of cloud computing?

The adoption of cloud computing can yield numerous advantages for businesses, including minimizing their environmental footprint. With cloud computing, you optimize the usage of network equipment, housing, power and cooling which are needed. Cloud service providers have set ambitious objectives to decrease their resource utilization and achieve net-zero emissions. For instance, Microsoft aims to make Azure carbon neutral in the near future, running 100% on renewable energy by 2025, being water positive by 2030, etc… Furthermore, they are aiming to go beyond the reduction of their impact by actively contributing to the environment.

What steps can companies take to reduce the environmental impact of their cloud operations?

Companies may take action immediately rather than waiting. It's crucial to consider the environmental impact of activities, whether they're short-term or long-term.

Green IT should be incorporated into daily operations, and green architecture will play a significant role in the future. It's essential to assimilate this dimension as soon as possible. Today's cloud components not only allow us to calculate CO2 consumptions, but also how much are being saved. This demonstrates our ability to integrate the environmental aspect into each application design.

Even though cloud isn't designed solely to save money, if organizations make full use of its features, they can save resources and money. It's essential to use all of cloud's features to unlock the full value.

How do you see the future of cloud sustainability in the next 5 years?

In the next five years, I anticipate that governments will start implementing regulations and metrics to monitor the environmental impact of IT activities, similar to how they have started incentivizing the switch to electric vehicles. The recent introduction of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CRSD) by the EU is a step in that direction. This directive includes waste management and data reporting, requiring companies to disclose how they have reduced their waste production.

Can you elaborate on Fujitsu's efforts towards building a sustainable society?

Fujitsu has been committed to sustainability for several decades and has set strong targets in reducing its environmental impact. In addition to formulating its first Environmental Action Plan in 1993, the company has set ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting energy efficiency, and reducing waste.

Fujitsu is also actively working on developing sustainable products and solutions, including the Fujitsu Uvance portfolio, which focuses on creating a sustainable society. This portfolio includes various solutions aimed at helping customers achieve their sustainability goals, such as energy-efficient servers, smart water management systems, and smart transportation solutions.

Moreover, Fujitsu has also been actively involved in community engagement and supporting initiatives related to sustainability. The company participates in various programs and initiatives aimed at promoting environmental awareness and sustainability, such as the Fujitsu Environmental Management System, which encourages employees to think and act sustainably, and the Fujitsu Forest Project, which promotes reforestation and biodiversity conservation.

Overall, Fujitsu's commitment to sustainability is reflected in its various initiatives and efforts aimed at building a sustainable society, both through its own operations and by helping customers and communities achieve their sustainability goals.

Photo: ©Marie de Decker 

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