A sustainable approach to cloud

Posted on 26/06/2019

By Louise Öström, Vice President of Cloud EMEA

Enabling farmers to make more money from their crops; supporting hospitals to provide healthcare to vast, mountainous regions; opening access to teaching, irrespective of location; and helping provide surgical facilities to remote communities. All examples of how technology, and more specifically cloud, can improve people’s lives.

I’ve been taking a look at this as part of my belief (and indeed that of VMware’s) that we have a shared responsibility, to make sure technology is used as a force for good.

The stories I’ve covered previously all have the concept of cloud computing at their heart, yet it’s being deployed in a variety of manners to deliver different outcomes. With a unifying theme of changing things for the better.

One area we haven’t yet touched on is sustainability – how cloud computing can make the way we live more sustainable, and how the technology itself can be delivered in a more sustainable way.

With population numbers in urban areas on the rise (with 68% of us living in cities by 2050 according to the UN), and climate change continuing to be a global issue, technology has a crucial role to play to help deliver a sustainable future. Whether it’s smart energy and waste management, high-tech investments in public transportation or the creation of smart buildings and cities, technological innovation has the ability to drive the sustainability agenda.

Smart, connected…and sustainable

Take a look, for instance, at social housing. HSB is Sweden’s largest housing cooperative, with over 605,000 members across the country. It was set up in 1923 to provide good quality and comfortable housing, during a period when housing conditions in much of Sweden were poor. Today the cooperative develops, builds and manages housing for one million people, and continues to invest in ways to improve the quality of life for its residents.

To create a more sustainable standard of living, HSB needed to update its infrastructure to support innovation around smart and connected home solutions. Working with Tieto and using VMware solutions, it has moved its IT to the cloud. The result is a platform on which it can build more sustainable, smarter housing – enhancing the quality of living for Sweden’s residents now and in the future.

VMware’s role in a sustainable future

Elsewhere our virtualization technologies make IT infrastructure dramatically more efficient, helping customers use less hardware more intelligently. Data centers are responsible for two percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Through our technologies, we’ve helped customers avoid putting 540 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—equivalent to the population of Spain, Germany and Switzerland for one year.

It’s not just about supporting sustainable initiatives, however. The whole value chain has to be considered, which is why at VMware we’re committed to using renewable energy, limiting our carbon footprint and generally being as sustainable as possible. The amount of energy required to support cloud infrastructure is significant, so it’s critical that we’re doing all we can to be as efficient as possible.

To that end, in 2018, we announced we are a certified CarbonNeutral® company two years ahead of our scheduled goal.

It’s a great achievement, but as Nicola Acutt, Ph.D., vice president for our sustainability strategy as part of VMware’s Office of the CTO, said in the article above “reaching carbon neutrality is a milestone, not our final destination. Ultimately, the goal is to not only slow down global warming, but to do what we can to reverse the trend.”

We need to be more sustainable in every aspect of life – it’s the only way anyone is going to be able to enjoy the future. Using technology to have less of an impact on the planet, and in turn ensuring that technology itself is delivered in as efficient a way as possible, is just one step in the grand scheme of things, but it’s important we take it all the same.


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