Climate change is already showing its impact across the globe, with extreme weather patterns and rising waters posing risks to people, animals, and all other life forms. And these dangers are only increasing in pace and scope. By 2026, climate-related weather events are expected to cost businesses 1.3 trillion dollars.
When it comes to the technology industry, is there anything we can do to lower the carbon footprint and reach net-zero? That’s why the Sustainable Enterprise Technology Council was formed.
Founded by BWG Connect and World Wide Technology, the Sustainable Enterprise Technology Council (SETC) is an organization on a mission to promote sustainability and reduce the carbon footprint of the enterprise technology industry.
The SETC aims to be a collaborative organization, bringing in various voices from companies big and small, creating a community to participate in building initiatives. The SETC preliminary topics include more efficient computing, data center design and retrofitting, site selection, efficient cooling, managing carbon credits, and renewable energy. According to Founding Partners Greg Irwin and Brendan Walsh, they want issues to be driven primarily by the community.
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives play an important part in lowering the carbon footprint. The objective is to recognize the effect companies have on the environment and society as a whole.
In terms of ESG, the current main focus is on the environmental side. Much of it comes down to greenhouse gas emissions and reporting. These emissions are measured in scope across three categories. Scope one is what you generate yourself or what your individual organization generates. Scope two is what you purchase from the grid. And scope three is the entire value chain of your organization's business. Most Fortune 1000 companies have only been required to report scopes one and two. In many cases, scope three was not a regulatory requirement — and still isn’t today. However, to get a science-based net-zero target approved, an organization has to report and disclose its scope three emissions. Clearly, this is a critical factor as the SETC looks to help organizations reach their net-zero targets.
But it’s not just about the companies. On the consumer side, Brendan says that “more than half of consumers are willing to change their purchasing habits to have a strong, credible environmental impact. And almost 80% of them believe that it's important for brands to offer an environmentally clean product.”
There’s an urgency to be carbon neutral, but facing this goal is daunting — especially in the tech space. How do you take a data center that’s driving petabytes and consuming tremendous amounts of power and get to carbon neutral?
Fortunately, there are actionable steps you can take in the right direction. With a focus on sustainable technology, strategy consulting, and data and AI, the SETC is helping organizations chart a path to net-zero.
Under sustainable technology, the SETC will have offerings such as quantum simulation as a service (essentially executing processes faster), sustainable digital infrastructure, and a sustainability lab for both testing and optimization. In terms of strategy consulting, the SETC is well placed to help progressive organizations and those just starting out in a sustainability journey by providing baseline metrics and target settings. In regard to data and AI, there are opportunities for sustainable AI-based data centers, and the SETC has some of these offerings already in place.
Whether you believe carbon neutrality is possible or not, the important thing is to take steps toward this goal. Because lowering the carbon footprint by 10% is better than nothing, and if everyone takes part, we’ll see a massive shift in the right direction.