IT sustainability implications from COP26

IT sustainability implications from COP26

Posted by HTG

“If working apart, we are a force powerful enough to destabilise our planet. Surely, working together, we are powerful enough to save it.” - Sir David Attenborough at the COP26 summit

The 26th Conference of Parties (COP) was the most important climate summit since the Paris Agreement’s conception at COP21.

The overall mood of the event was one of urgency but also, mingled between the worrying statistics, hope. As Sir David Attenborough so rightly put it, together, we are powerful enough.

While you may not have the authority to make big political policy changes, you do have power over your own business and its IT sustainability efforts.

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Reaching for net-zero: 3 radical implications

Across the world, governments, climate alliances and industries are setting a firm target for climate neutrality by 2050. This is in an effort to accelerate the goals set out in the legally binding Paris Agreement and UN Framework Convention.

Arguably, this is the biggest challenge from COP26 for businesses. And it won’t be an easy feat.

To make a dent in this goal, you’ll need to make effective and consistent changes to the way you plan, manage and decommission your IT. With that in mind, here are three implications to consider now:

1. Incorporating sustainability into your plans

If you want to cut down on your emissions, you must prepare a tangible plan and commit to complete transparency.

If you have no idea where to start, we recommend following sustainable frameworks, such as:

  • ISO 50001 - energy management. This standard helps you to manage your energy consumption and conservation.
  • ISO 14001:2015 - environmental management systems. If you’d like to improve your IT performance and standardise your eco goals, this framework is for you.
  • PAS 2060:2014 - carbon neutrality management. Purchasing this framework will enable you to meet industry regulations, quantify your net carbon emissions, and work towards the goal of net-zero.

2. Lowering your greenhouse emissions

UK businesses were responsible for 18.2 percent of the country’s CO2 emissions in 2020. While this number is lower than previous years (due partly to nationwide lockdowns), there’s still a long way to go.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can cut down on harmful emissions in your IT department. These include:

  • Prioritising cloud computing services and applications over physical on-premise hardware that can rack up your energy bills.
  • Optimising your environments, whether it be culling duplicated data sets or limiting large multimedia files.
  • Turning off machines when you’re not using them.
  • Managing your cloud spending.
  • Tracking the amount of data you’re storing and querying what’s worth keeping (and what isn’t).

3. Recycling or refurbishing your equipment

E-waste not only negatively impacts our environment but can affect our health, too. So, when you’re ready to discard physical hardware, consider your options.

If possible, try to support the circular economy. Beyond making your hardware last as long as possible, vet the waste suppliers you use. Do they recycle your equipment responsibly, or at the very least extract valuable materials from them? Or do they throw it all in a landfill?

In addition to this, when purchasing new IT, prioritise refurbished equipment or hardware that’s made sustainably.

Your IT sustainability journey begins here

In the Paris Agreement, parties across the world pledged to lessen the impact of global warming on our planet. Now, it’s time to turn those words into actions.

If your business wishes to meet the global net-zero goal, you’ll need to change how you manage your IT. By following credible frameworks, optimising your environments, and participating in the circular economy, you can make a difference.

That said, if you need some expert advice, we’re here to help. Our IT sustainability services will get you on track to a cleaner, brighter future.

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