The progress of humanity in recent years owes much to digital technologies. IT has enabled global communications, medical advancements, economic and business growth, and so much more.
But there’s a flip side: technology has a significant impact on our environment. As an industry, we have a responsibility to change this. That’s why FX is taking clear and definitive steps to support IT sustainability – with a particular focus on standardized measurement to better understand and address the issue.
Consider these facts about IT and the environment
- If the web were a country, it would rank fifth in terms of energy consumed.
- The share of global energy consumed by data centers stands at 3% – with a forecast of 8% by 2030. Data centers alone have a greater energy impact than transportation.
- Last year, we produced the equivalent of 125,000 jumbo jets in e-waste. This represents more than all jumbo jets put into service to date.
- Only 17,4% of the e-waste produced last year was recycled effectively.
We need concrete data and tools to reduce IT’s environmental footprint.
The internet is the biggest machine in the world and it runs mostly on fossil fuels. But the scope of IT sustainability goes far beyond that to also include e-waste, the resources required to build and maintain data centers, large amounts of water required to cool data centers, and much more.
Large cloud providers are all showing a willingness to contribute to IT sustainability, but there is a significant gap between what they report and the current situation. There are no standardized tools to measure the extent of the problem. Without that, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to establish rules, policies, norms, standards and best practices
It is also nearly impossible to get a global picture of the environment and how to measure the real impact of an organization's sustainable development.
The data we currently have does not reflect reality.
FX is working collaboratively to drive IT sustainability.
Among the organizations trying to position and reframe IT sustainable development is CODES (Coalition for Digital Environmental Sustainability), a group of nine intergovernmental initiatives developed by the UN. CODES has flagged that there are no common, harmonized and transparent foundations for measuring the environmental impact of IT.
There are also no standards in the sustainability reports of large organizations. This creates an illusion of trust in the public and does not allow for effective decision-making.
FX is working to change this. We have begun a collaboration with the Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance (SDIA), a European organization, as well as the Standards Council of Canada (SCC). Our goal is to find more effective ways to measure IT sustainability.
Gaining a broader view of technology’s impact can enable environmental change.
Sophisticated models developed by the largest universities, including Berkeley, MIT, Princeton, Cambridge and Oxford, make it possible to quantify at a high level the environmental impact of certain materials and energies.
Let’s work together to support IT sustainability for a better world.
IT’s impact on the environment is a major issue that is accelerating, in part because we do not yet have a global picture of the situation. The good news is that this is not an insurmountable problem. FX is working in partnership with leading organizations to improve how our industry measures and interprets environmental impact.
We’re starting to see change. More and more organizations are incorporating environmental resilience into their strategic planning, including how they design their solution architectures. As this work continues, alongside the development of standardized tools for measuring impact, we are collectively moving toward IT sustainability.
At FX, we believe that sustainable technology in the hands of passionate, expert people can lead to valuable innovation for a better world.