IT Sustainability Think Tank: Green IT resolutions for the year ahead

A new report from the United Nations Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) finds national climate action plans remain insufficient to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees celsius and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

 The latest science from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut 43% by 2030, compared to 2019 levels. The UNFCCC has outlined four themes for COP28: technology and innovation, inclusion, frontline communities, and finance. So, in 2024, we are going to see a shift in focus to technological solutions for sustainability issues. 

Economic growth

In knowledge gained over the last seven years, organisations from all over the world have recalibrated their strategies to match changing sustainability expectations. This shows that businesses have realised that they are being observed by consumers, governments, investors, and regulators while striving to achieve sustainability. It’s likely that the economy will slow down in 2024, and its vital that IT decision makers continue to put sustainable growth above a strategy of growth at all costs. Consumer confidence, spending, and demand are key parts of a healthy investment climate, which the energy transition will require.

Technology growth

With every step we take closer to 2024, technology and innovation become increasingly powerful means for organisations to address sustainability issues precisely and effectively. Decision makers need to be taking full advantage of this capability in 2024, using modern algorithms to reveal the hidden patterns of usage, streamline processes and prepare for the outcomes of various sustainability policies.

The projected 20.4% increase in global spending on the public cloud in 2024 shows that migration to the cloud continues to grow. The demand for rapid capacity increases to support artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) will haunt cloud providers, and there will be calls for more sustainable practices as more and more companies start to use the cloud.

Re-skill for sustainability

There is a notable surge in the demand for specialist sustainability personnel which has triggered a revolution in the labour market as more companies commit to sustainability.

The expansion does not only include the creation of new roles such as chief sustainability officers; it also means rewiring traditional roles. To stay ahead of the curve IT decision makers should look at revaluating the sustainability skills on their teams, and where necessary undergo re-skilling in order to cope with changing priorities and language.

Supply-chain transparency

Sustainability has driven companies to more keenly scrutinise their own business and that of their suppliers and trading partners. The scope 3 emissions, that arise as a consequence of the indirect activities in the supply-chain, are being paid attention to like never before. These emissions often far exceed company’s direct emissions and are therefore a major area for carbon abatements. Nevertheless, dealing with the scope three emissions poses some challenges. Third-party tech and digital infrastructure suppliers can be big culprits for high scope three emissions. Leaders need to be proactive about measuring and analysing these emissions and, where necessary, implementing changes.

In summary, we expect to see responsibility and innovation associated with emerging trends in a changing business environment in 2024. Such businesses will not only survive the expected future challenges, but they will lead the expanding consciousness-oriented market.

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