Sustainability has been thrust into the spotlight in recent years due to the rise in climate change-related events around the world and fossil fuel price hikes.

According to the OCBC Climate Index, Singapore has obtained a national average awareness score of 8.1 in 2022. Having made strides in sustainability awareness, we are entering a new stage in the sustainability race as the focus shifts towards driving climate action. Governments, consumers, investors, and the general public are now holding organisations in Singapore more accountable than ever for their sustainability efforts.

Given the direct impact of technology infrastructure on an organisation’s carbon footprint, we are seeing more collaborations between IT and functions tasked with enterprise sustainability when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. Today, a number of organisations already have plans to meet sustainability targets within set timeframes. However, achieving sustainability KPIs still hinge on an organisation’s ability to address issues including the misalignment of purchasing decisions between IT and sustainability.

Make The Right Technology Choices To Meet Sustainability Targets

Data consumption is only seen to grow further in the next few years, driven by the rise of the digitally savvy consumer and greater demand for digital products and services. This, however, comes at a cost: data centres require significant amounts of energy in their operations to compute, store and transfer the data especially when power-intensive applications like artificial intelligence (AI) and business analytics are used.

Data centres and digitisation play an undeniably critical role in an organisation’s corporate sustainability strategy. Amid anticipated growth in data creation and replication, data centre providers and IT and corporate leaders in Singapore need to take advantage of technologies that can help them increase their data and computing capacity without compromising on sustainability targets. In the critical aspect of storage, it means rethinking the way data is stored. By simply changing storage infrastructure and switching to an all-flash systems, organisations can significantly impact carbon emissions.

All-flash storage promises energy efficiency, lower physical storage costs, and a reduced data footprint, offering a sustainable alternative to high-energy consuming hybrid systems. Additionally, the all-flash model allows organisations to better curtail fully burdened costs of ownership, including rack space, cooling, and repair.

Presently, storage technological advancements, particularly in QLC flash storage are significantly lowering the cost and increasing density in flash-making implementation suitable even for backup workloads which currently run on legacy non-flash storage. (QLC flash memory is a capacity optimised NAND memory technology that delivers a per-terabyte costs that matches or beats hard disk drives.)

Given increasing scrutiny on environmental sustainability, the significant energy and space savings derived from QLC flash storage are an impetus for organisations to shift gears.

Reduce, Reuse, And Recycle

Rejigging software development and product engineering processes can also go a long way towards realising environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals. Reusing and repurposing standard components prevents duplicated efforts in the software development lifecycle, enabling organisations to save significant time and energy. It also allows organisations to leverage resources and power from past applications for new projects, translating to reduced expenses overall. As an added benefit, reusing standard parts offers organisations greater flexibility to complete projects in the face of supply chain disruptions.

Fostering ESG Integrity

ESG is no longer nice-to-have strategy, but a must-have critical component of an organisation’s business strategy. With stakeholders increasingly considering ESG factors in their engagement decisions, organisations need to re-evaluate their existing processes and see how they can implement changes to be more eco-friendly.  Amid greenwashing concerns, stakeholders are looking at authenticity and integrity, necessitating organisations to step up and deliver responsible ESG measurement and reporting.

Beyond just proving that organisations are walking the ESG talk, increasing end-to-end visibility on environmental impact across supply chains also allows organisations to better gauge how they are doing on the ESG front and assess how they further reduce energy consumption. Having an accurate snapshot of ESG performance, including high-level metrics such as company-wide energy and carbon usage and consumption both at data centre site and individual array levels can foster greater transparency across the business ecosystem.

Modern solutions today provide an analysis of power savings and help in accurately monitoring greenhouse emissions, empowering organisations to step closer to achieving their environmental and energy reduction goals. With the right ESG performance tracking tools, organisations can better discover carbon-saving opportunities and benefit from actionable insights on upgrades and workload management to drive increased efficiency across the value chain.

Climate Action: A Great Opportunity For IT

Data centres currently account for 1% of global electricity consumption today. As data workloads increase, the onus is on IT teams to work towards building and adopting sustainable technology infrastructure marked by high efficiency, scalability, and simplicity.

The World Economic Forum estimates that digital technologies have the potential to reduce emissions by 20% by 2050 when scaled up. Today, organisations cannot reach their sustainability goals without significantly reducing their technology infrastructure energy usage. More than ever, organisations need to consider modular storage architectures that offer flexible consumption choices, while simultaneously optimising energy resources. These solutions should also allow the independent scaling of capacity and performance over time, based on growth and demand projections.

By choosing innovative, efficient, and scalable IT vendors, IT teams have the potential to make a significant and immediate impact in the wider community through technology engineered to use significantly lower power, lower cooling, and far less waste.

Matthew Oostveen is the CTO and VP for Asia Pacific & Japan at Pure Storage