Public cloud migrations can slash CO2 by 60 tons per year – Accenture

Migration to the public cloud can achieve carbon reductions equivalent to taking 22 million cars off the road.
22 September 2020

Here are the biggest barrier to public cloud adoption in the UK. Source: Shutterstock

  • Accenture’s Green Behind the Cloud report argues that public cloud migrations could slash CO2 emissions by 60 million tons per year

Migration to the public cloud can achieve carbon reductions equivalent to taking 22 million cars off the road, according to new research by Accenture. 

The firm said that public cloud migration could decrease total IT emissions by 5.9%, or 60 million tonnes of CO2 globally per year. The report, entitled The Green Behind the Cloud argues that companies can improve their impact on the environment through the consumption of cloud services, regardless of the stage of their cloud journey. 

Accenture said that 59% of CEOs say they’re deploying low-carbon and renewable energy across their operations today, while 44% see a net-zero, carbon neutral future for their company. 

That comes in light of Google becoming the first major company to reduce its lifetime carbon net carbon footprint, and pledges by other tech leaders like Microsoft and Apple, as the technology industry faces rising scrutiny over its environmental impact. 

Two-thirds of business leaders view technologies like cloud as critical factors for accelerating change and making their commitments a reality.

“Sustainable cloud can deliver a double helix effect of shareholder and stakeholder value by simultaneously reducing costs and carbon emissions,” said Peter Lacy, a senior managing director and global sustainability lead at Accenture. 

“Further, the magnitude of carbon reduction achieved through cloud migrations can go a long way in meeting climate change commitments and driving new levels of innovation, ultimately leading to a greener balance sheet and a greener planet.”

Sustainable cloud solutions also deliver financial benefits. According to managed services firm’s analysis of clients, up to 30% – 40% total cost of ownership savings from public cloud, driven by greater workload flexibility, better server utilisation rates and more energy-efficient infrastructure. 

However, the sustainability and financial benefits from cloud migration will vary based on the cloud provider selected, the ambition level for cloud optimization, and the level of cloud-enabled sustainability innovations.

“Companies are rapidly moving to the cloud for innovation and cost-savings, and sustainability must also be considered as a primary driver,” said Accenture CTO, Paul Daugherty. 

“However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to sustainable cloud journeys — companies must understand the migration, design, and engineering decisions that will directly determine how sustainable their solutions are and the benefits they drive.”