Responsible Technology: Sustainability Considerations of Cloud Computing

Local Authorities will play an essential role in enabling the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. The sustainability benefits of cloud computing make it a key tenet of a responsible technology strategy that will enable your Local Authority to reach net zero.

In 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050. The UK is aiming to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, as Energy and Clean Growth Minister Chris Skidmore said “We’re pioneering the way for other countries to follow in our footsteps driving prosperity by seizing the economic opportunities of becoming a greener economy.”

Local Authorities will play an essential role in enabling the UK to meet its net zero target. While Local Authorities are directly responsible for up to 5% of local emissions, through their policies and partnerships they have strong influence over more than a third of emissions in their area.

Local Authorities can also impact their carbon emissions positively through the technology decisions they make. In this blog we’ll take you through the sustainability considerations of cloud computing, and explain how a digital transformation strategy created with sustainability in mind can help your Local Authority – and the UK as a whole – meet its net zero target.

Where is Your Local Authority Now?

Whether your long-term goal is to reduce your carbon emissions, become carbon neutral, or even go carbon negative, you need to evaluate where you stand at the moment. A good place to start in this journey is understanding your sustainability impact.

Microsoft’s Sustainability Calculator enables you to understand and reduce your organisation’s environmental impact. Using the Sustainability Calculator, you can increase emissions transparency, simplify environmental reporting, reduce your carbon footprint, and take a significant step towards achieving your climate-related goals.

Responsible Technology: Steps You Can Take

A good way to start sifting through your footprint is by categorising your emissions into different groups. By breaking down the different types of emissions you’re producing, you can focus your energy on making the biggest impact:

  • Direct emissions created by your activities. This is the exhaust that comes from the vehicles you manage, natural gas that your buildings directly consume, and the generators you might run.
  • Indirect emissions from the production of the electricity or heat you use. This type of emission comes from the traditional energy sources that power your buildings.
  • Indirect emissions from all other activities in which you’re engaged. These emission sources can be extensive. They cover all parts of your supply chain, from materials in buildings, travel for your people, and product lifecycle all the way to the electricity your residents consume.

Another action your Local Authority can take is to review who you’re working with and receiving services from. Partner with other organisations that share your goals, and use this as a way to learn from them. You can even see what steps they’re taking or what renewable resources they’re investing in.

And finally, you should consider transitioning your on-premises workloads to the cloud. A Microsoft study in 2018 found significant energy efficiency improvements – from 22 to 93% – when switching from traditional enterprise data centres to the Microsoft Cloud.

The greatest relative savings from the study were realised when smaller deployments – like those used by Local Authorities – transition to the cloud. You can learn more about Microsoft’s sustainability approach here.

Springboard Your Cloud Transformation

So, what’s the first step for your Local Authority to begin reaping the sustainability benefits of the cloud? We recommend kickstarting your cloud transformation with a Cloud Readiness Assessment.

At Six Degrees, we work with you to understand your cloud motivations and objectives. This enables us to design a scalable and flexible cloud solution that fits your evolving operating requirements. The Cloud Readiness Assessment is designed to help you understand your infrastructure and potential cloud adoption workloads. It follows the same Cloud Adoption Framework best practices we have used to help over 300 organisations with their cloud transformation strategies to date.

To enhance resident services and achieve sustainability benefits through cloud, schedule a call with our secure cloud experts by clicking here.

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