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Wakefield Research Sees Critical Impact of IT on Environmental Sustainability

December 14, 2022

Wakefield Research released a new report identifying the critical impact of IT on environmental sustainability and the challenges present in addressing the urgent and growing demands for IT to be accountable drivers of change.

The new report, "Drivers of Change: Pure Storage IT Sustainability Impact Survey 2022," examines the opportunities for IT professionals to collaborate with enterprise sustainability directors to navigate reductions in the environmental footprint of their organizations.

Ajay Singh, Chief Product Officer, Pure Storage said, "As data workloads increase, mitigating the environmental impact of data infrastructure is critical. This inaugural report on the central role that IT can play in overall sustainability can be an important tool to help IT leaders improve their data storage strategies and decrease their organization's carbon footprint as they advance their digital transformation."

Survey Highlights:

The "Drivers of Change" survey, fielded among 1,000 sustainability program directors, saw consistent results across global markets, including the U.S., U.K., France, and Germany. Report highlights include:

  • Half of Sustainability Managers Are Behind on Sustainability Goals: Most sustainability managers 78% say their company's leadership is treating sustainability initiatives as a priority, with the majority planning to meet sustainability goals within three to seven years (56%). However, only about half (51%) of those surveyed say they are on track with their goals.

     
  • Technology Plays a Critical, Growing Role in Driving Sustainability Initiatives: An overwhelming 86% of sustainability program managers agree that companies cannot reach their sustainability goals without significantly reducing their technology infrastructure energy usage. This problem will grow more dire as 81% predict the impact of technology infrastructure on a company's carbon footprint will increase in the next 12 months.

     
  • Misalignment of IT and Sustainability Teams in Purchasing Decisions: Even as tech's carbon footprint grows, 59% of respondents say vendors' sustainability is likely to be overlooked during the vendor selection process. This could be allayed by getting sustainability managers' input earlier, but nearly 2 in 3 (64%) say they only become involved after the technology purchasing process has already begun.

     
  • IT Team Support of Company Sustainability Initiatives is Dire: More than any other function (i.e. finance, leadership, operations), IT was identified as not taking the necessary steps to support their company's sustainability goals (34%). Only about half (51%) say their IT team is taking proper considerations about sustainability when making decisions about technology purchases.
Industry Significance:

Data centers currently account for 1% of global electricity consumption today. The World Economic Forum estimates that digitization generated 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 alone, however, if brought to scale digital technologies could reduce emissions by 20% by 2050.

Data centers and digitization play an undeniably important part in any corporate sustainability strategy. While sustainability managers are working towards meeting critical environmental goals, they can't do so without more sustainable IT infrastructure marked by high efficiency, scalability, and simplicity.

As a result, there is a tremendous opportunity for IT professionals to help their organizations make strides in reducing their environmental footprint. By building and adopting sustainable technology infrastructure, supported by innovative, efficient, and scalable IT vendors, IT teams have the potential to make a significant and immediate impact through technology engineered to use significantly lower power, lower cooling, and far less waste.

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