How the IT sector can improve ESG performance

In joining the race to net zero, the counter-impact of powering data centres, manufacturing and maintaining machines, and coping with mushrooming data growth is well understood. Yet, the potential of enterprise technology in tackling environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals is often overlooked. This article discusses how IT departments can help lead the way to smarter working practices and ESG excellence.

What’s ESG all about?

ESG is a framework used to assess an organisation’s business practices and performance on sustainability and ethical issues. It also provides a way to measure business risks and opportunities. For example, some investors use ESG metrics to evaluate a company’s carbon footprint and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as the effect of their labour practices and how they impact the local community.

As awareness of climate change challenge continues to grow, pressure is mounting on organisations to provide indisputable evidence of the benefits of their ESG policies. In short, hard facts that go way beyond greenwashing tactics and carbon offsetting claims, which are increasingly now frowned upon as poor practices.

And IT leaders and their teams have a vital role to play.

How to enhance ESG in IT industries


Although progress has been made in areas such as energy consumption and recycling, power-hungry PCs that don’t maximise renewable energy sources still feature heavily in the workplace. Outdated IT infrastructure is a huge generator of CO₂ while enterprise technology accounts for about 1% of global emissions – the same amount produced by the whole of the UK and equal to half of all emissions from aviation and shipping worldwide.


However, a business case incurring large capital sums to build green on-prem data centres is unlikely to fly with CFOs, especially in the current financial climate. Meanwhile, public cloud hyperscalers have come under fire for underused resources and poor environmental controls.


Fortunately, there are still many practical steps IT leaders can take to accelerate their organisation’s ESG ambitions. Greener IT doesn’t just mean rationalising infrastructure to drive carbon reduction – it’s as much about adopting more efficient working methods and new attitudes and smart solutions to tackle climate change. Let’s look at a couple of examples.


Adopt virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)

Implementing VDI and Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solutions represent a big step towards those ESG goals. Quickly adopted by the world’s leading AEC companies, today VDIPOD powers remote workers and users of high-end apps and big data everywhere. While enabling IT to transform business continuity, workforce mobility, and global collaboration measures.

The platform’s hosted from Creative data centres. Green by design, they operate on 100% clean, renewable energy and are optimised to achieve an industry leading power usage effectiveness ratio (total energy used versus energy delivered to IT equipment) of circa 1.2 versus an industry average of 1.8.


Make the move to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IT teams can further reduce environmental impact by migrating to IaaS. Under a fully managed model infrastructure responsibility, power consumption and carbon footprint penalties move to the service provider. Released from the burden of maintaining on-prem technology, they’re able to reduce energy consumption, cooling costs, and waste from decommissioned equipment. Private cloud providers can also contribute to improving ESG scores by utilising virtual machines and containers to reduce data centre server numbers.


Achieving ESG goals with Creative ITC


Although adopting more sustainable business practices has in the past been viewed as a nice-to-have investment or a public relations exercise, there’s now clear evidence that corporate ESG initiatives create business value, profits, and opportunities.


Creative is proud to be a carbon neutral company strongly focused on reducing supply chain emissions. For example, Creative client machines deploying virtual desktops running on VDIPOD consume 81.7% less energy with 89% renewable power and CO₂eq reduction of up to 43%. They also benefit from an audit trail to simplify ESG reporting, and the use of such chosen metrics to influence both internal and external audiences.


One international architecture studio has achieved a 90% reduction in kilowatt hours per person and a three-fold increase in renewable power use since deploying VDIPOD to over 400 employees. In addition, global engineering company SNC-Lavalin is working with Creative ITC to consolidate its global data centres from 16 to three. Among the biggest benefits already seen are reductions in storage (69%), electricity (53%), and floorspace (45%).


Meeting ESG targets is fast becoming a business imperative. And IT leaders and practitioners are firmly there at the helm. Some are making a real difference and transforming operations, for the good of their organisations as well as our planet’s entire ecosystem.