Tech & Sourcing @ Morgan Lewis


Many organizations have longstanding sustainability initiatives for reducing waste through efforts such as recycling or reductions in printing. However, organizations are now also looking to their use of technology to help improve the sustainability of their operations.

C-suite technology leaders predict sustainability to be the area where technology has the biggest impact in their organizations in the next three years, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, which cites a survey conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value. The survey polled 5,000 C-suite technology leaders, including chief information officers and chief technology officers, in 29 industries and 45 locations worldwide. The respondents ranked sustainability higher than areas such as process automation and security and risk.

Some specific measures that organizations are considering in order to bolster their sustainability efforts are as follows:

  • Moving to the cloud. In 2020, data centers accounted for 1% of global energy use. Moving an organization’s computing from data centers to the cloud can help reduce carbon-based emissions. Major cloud operators claim they are able to lower emissions through the use of renewable energy sources. In fact, one report cited by the Wall Street Journal article found average energy savings of 80% from running business applications in the cloud versus on-premises infrastructure. Further, an organization can flex its use of the cloud up and down based on the organization’s need.
  • Reducing consumption in existing data centers. Organizations are looking for ways to reduce energy consumption for operations that cannot move or have not yet moved to the cloud. For example, because data centers use energy and water for cooling purposes, organizations might elect to utilize data centers located in cooler climates, which require less energy to run their cooling systems.
  • Using “green coding.” Green coding refers to software code that is written to use as few processing instructions and as little memory as possible in order to reduce energy consumption. By incorporating green code into an organization’s apps, these apps can run more efficiently and use less energy.
  • Reviewing sourcing relationships. Organizations are also evaluating their sourcing and supply chain relationships to make sure they align with their sustainability efforts.

Organizations take into account many considerations when making information technology decisions, and sustainability is becoming one of those considerations in the decision-making process.