Did you know that technology has an environmental impact? Well, many organisations do not know that, which is why Capgemini Research Institute's (Capgemini) latest research revealed the environmental impacts of IT and detailed how organisations can adopt a sustainable approach.
According to Capgemini's new report, ‘Sustainable IT: Why it's time for a Green revolution for your organisation's IT,’ many organisations are still unaware of the benefits of implementing sustainable IT practices and addressing their enterprise-IT-related environmental impact, with 57% of respondents unaware of their organisation's IT carbon footprint, and only 6% of firms having achieved a high level of sustainable IT maturity.
Those that have built a comprehensive plan to implement sustainable IT reported improved ESG scores by 61% and customer satisfaction by 56% and reported 44% tax savings, the report revealed.
The report's authors stated that IT as a whole has a carbon footprint. However, organisations do not yet prioritise implementing sustainable IT practices, nor they do not view the practices as part of their sustainability agenda and journey to reduce their carbon footprint – with only 22% of the respondents stating that they plan to reduce over one-quarter of their carbon footprint through sustainable IT measures in the next three years.
Those in the banking and consumer product sectors showed the highest levels of awareness (52% and 51%, respectively), while the industrial manufacturing sector the lowest (28%). Only 34% know that mobile and laptop production has a higher carbon footprint than using these devices over their lifetime.
The authors explained that most organisations do not have adequate tools or shared standards to measure their IT's environmental impact, with only 29% of the respondents using carbon assessment tools, and only 35% said sustainable IT is part of their board-level agenda.
Using key performance indicators (KPIs) to track and measure progress for enterprise IT sustainability is also not widespread in the industry, with only 23% of organisations measuring greenhouse gas emissions. Overall, only 1% of the respondents achieved their targets.
The authors claimed that setting a carbon cost against IT operations can help organisations realise their IT footprint's impact. However, only 27% of organisations have standardised the practice.
Cyril Garcia, the chief executive officer of Capgemini Invent, group executive board member, and the executive sponsor of the group CSR program, emphasised the significance of putting sustainability at the core of the industry's global effort for post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery, and IT cannot be neglected.
“Organisations need to recognise and act on the carbon cost of our digital world by accelerating the move to business models which are supported by sustainable IT capabilities,” Garcia said.
Capgemini's report identified a three-stage roadmap to accelerate sustainable IT:
- Setting the foundations with a sustainable IT strategy that aligns with the organisational sustainability strategy;
- Creating a governance process with a dedicated sustainable IT team and support from leadership; and
- Operationalising sustainable IT initiatives with sustainability as a key pillar of software architecture.
“Organisations must have the diagnostic tools, strategies, and a roadmap in place to accelerate their journey towards decarbonisation,” Garcia said. “Endorsement from all stakeholders in the organisation will be critical for success along with sustainable software architecture and change in employee behaviour. Beyond the environmental imperative, the business benefits are compelling in terms of the bottom line, social status and customer satisfaction.”