During the past decade most enterprises started and advanced their digital transformation. It was the decade of the technology acceleration and the of the digital transformation of industrial enterprises. Nowadays, companies are prioritizing their sustainable development and their adaptation to the emerging climate change. In this direction, they leverage digital technologies to improve their sustainability and environmental performance. Hence, the current decade is characterized by the twin transformation of industrial enterprises, which includes digital and green aspects. In most cases, digital technologies are used to improve the economic performance and the eco-friendliness of business processes.
In this context, enterprises are seeking ways to improve the environmental performance of their IT operations. Hence, they integrate Green IT initiatives in their business processes. Green IT projects span hardware operations such as energy efficient data centers, and software operations such as green AI (Artificial Intelligence) libraries and software modules with optimized Input/Output cycles. Green IT initiatives and related sustainability solutions are usually part of a wider strategy for optimizing enterprise sustainability. This strategy includes IT and non-IT green practices, which are continually monitored based on tangible KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) such as carbon emissions indicators.
Green IT projects and other sustainability initiatives are driven by various factors. Many enterprises face tangible sustainability challenges, which put them under pressure to accelerate their green transformation. For instance, several manufacturers are striving to build a competitive advantage around the development of eco-friendly products. For instance, there are many cases where consumers prefer products that are manufactured based on sustainability best practices.
However, there is also a significant political push for improving enterprise sustainability. This political push is reflected on:
In quest for exceptional environmental performance, modern enterprises take a holistic, integrated approach to pursuing ambitious sustainability targets. For example, they specify sustainability strategies that comprise tens of sustainability activities, ranging from the use of a recycling bin and incentives for economizing on water consumption, to strategies for energy savings (e.g., smart lighting systems) and the provision of green incentives to their employees.
As part of their holistic strategy to sustainability optimization, modern enterprises strive to minimize the carbon emissions of their IT operations. In this direction, they employ Green IT initiatives including:
Alongside core Green IT practices, companies employ green technologies that enable Green IT operations. For instance, LED lighting is used in computer offices. LED lights provide substantial sustainability gains, as they obviate the need for incandescent lights like the conventional light bulbs. Likewise, they also use programmable thermostats, which save money and energy based on scheduling and automated adjustment of the ambient temperature. Recently, there is also a surge of interest in electric vehicles, which are increasingly comprising computers and connected devices. Similarly, Green IT deployments are used in conjunction with Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) deployments that reduce waste and improve the sustainability of production operations in settings like manufacturing shopfloors, energy plants and oil refineries.
Overall, modern CIOs must leverage their digital transformation as a primary vehicle for realizing the green transformation of their enterprise. In this context, they must deploy green IT products and related sustainable services (e.g., low energy servers, power efficient data centers), while at the same time engaging in sustainable supply chains. Twin transformation is set to ensure energy efficient operations, provide cost-savings, and improve a company’s brand image. Therefore, it is at the very top of the strategic agendas of modern enterprises and CIOs are obliged to deliver it.
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