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The route to net-zero: How reducing environmental impact and lowering IT costs go hand in hand

Recent months have seen the topic of sustainability shift into sharper focus. Speaking at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), the UK Government announced that it was launching an international plan to deliver clean and affordable technology by 2030.

Now the latest news suggests that under proposed Treasury rules, most big firms and financial institutions will be forced to show how they intend to hit climate change targets.

In response to this news, Ragnar Agnell, Partner at Centigo and Sanjiv Sachdev, Director, Strategic Business Value Consulting at Serviceware, a leading provider of software solutions for digitizing and automating service processes, discuss how CTOs and CIOs can lead the charge against climate change in their companies whilst also balancing the urgent need to optimise business costs amid a turbulent financial climate.

Although economic recovery continues to take precedence, the race against climate change demands immediate and effective action to save our planet – before it’s too late. Luckily, with the right insights, businesses needn’t sacrifice one for the other.

Balancing cost-cutting with sustainability

As countries try to recover from the pandemic, organizations are looking to re-organize their workforce, restructure their operations, reduce costs. They’re also looking to release working capital so they can “do more with less”, accelerate their way back to market with digital techniques and equip and empower their leadership for the challenges ahead. But now it’s more noticeable that business leaders are under increasing pressure to not only deliver financial value but also ensure that sustainability is top of the corporate and social agenda. The major themes that emerged from the talks at COP26 all reflect this reality. There will be new requirements for UK financial institutions and listed companies to publish net-zero transition plans that detail how they will adapt and decarbonise as the UK moves towards a net-zero economy by 2050.

Sanjiv Sachdev, Director, Strategic Business Value Consulting at Serviceware, commented, “Many business leaders are worried that sustainability will not be prioritized as societies and businesses recover from the effects of the pandemic. These concerns are based on the observation that companies, as well as consumers, are still struggling to survive and that any investments whatsoever in sustainability will be considered a non-affordable luxury.”

Leading the charge in bridging digital technology and sustainability, Ragnar Agnell, Partner at Centigo explains the importance for organizations to gain complete transparency and control over their IT and facilities costs and align themselves with the benefits of the green IT agenda. “We believe that sustainability will be of utmost importance for businesses to position themselves successfully and add to their competitive advantage. Actions and investments such as moving to cloud services, or working with partners who share your sustainability values can actually reduce climate impact while also reducing cost,” Agnell commented.

Migrating to a greener cloud

In today’s challenging business landscape, never has it been more crucial for organizations to consider and successfully implement a hybrid cloud strategy. Accenture’s ‘The green behind the cloud’ report has found that migrations to the public cloud can reduce CO2 emissions by 59 million tons per year which equates to taking 22 million cars off the road.

Sachdev commented, “Companies are under more pressure than ever to successfully migrate to the cloud – not only to improve flexibility and scalability, but to curb carbon emissions and tackle climate change. However, rather than rushing to invest – because it is the right thing to do – businesses must first ensure a cloud strategy is rooted in the actual business need, is affordable, and drives value to ensure long-term success.

“To get value from the cloud, you need effective governance, financial transparency and agile budgeting processes. Under a collective banner, this calls for a single source of truth – data-driven evidence of the right investments to make, and when. This is where IT financial management (ITFM) tools come in. Armed with more accurate data and comparable insights from suitable and business-specific use cases, the benefits of a cloud strategy can be laid out in clear projections and ROI – stripping away the hidden costs to reveal the true value. And more importantly, the steps and investments needed to reach that ultimate value,” adds Sachdev.

Agreeing with Sachdev’s sentiment, Agnell comments, “For companies in pursuit of a green IT approach, whether it be reducing energy consumption by modernization of IT infrastructure, or reducing travel and freight, it is important that the value of such actions is clear. With the right insights and cost intelligence, businesses can map and communicate cost vs environmental impact drivers.

“After all, the introduction of re-use and recycle initiatives and reducing inefficiency also has a positive impact on cost reduction,” Agnell adds.

Centigo and Serviceware are uniquely positioned to offer a service to organizations that enables them to take control of their IT Services by simultaneously reducing their carbon footprint and costs. Helping them to meet their sustainability goals quicker and continue to optimise crucial investments in digital initiatives. Centigo has also partnered with organisations such as  Swedish Red Cross, helping them to gain complete transparency and control over their IT costs, whilst also aligning themselves with the benefits of the Green IT agenda.

“With the Green IT reviews, we established our footprint and measured improvement work. IT set an example in the whole organization, and enabled other areas to become greener,” concluded Red Cross.