Big Data ouTDo 7 min read 29 March 2024

Amplify Your Corporate Green Initiatives: Triumph in Sustainability and Reporting




Optimising Digital Efficiency: A Corporate Imperative

In today’s digital-driven corporate landscape, the environmental footprint of our online activities, which encompass cloud services, computing, and the broader internet infrastructure, often escapes scrutiny. These critical components of modern business operations are not merely sources of operational inefficiency and financial expenditure; they significantly contribute to environmental degradation. Therein lies a pivotal call to action for businesses globally: to reassess and refine their digital infrastructure, spanning from the intricacies of cloud storage systems to the depths  of computing processes. By elevating digital cleanliness to a strategic priority, organisations stand to not only meet emerging standards of digital sustainability reporting—an accolade in corporate environmental stewardship—but also unveil substantial avenues for cost savings. Diving deeper into the ethos of digital sustainability reveals its capacity to forge a future that is not only environmentally harmonious but also streamlined for greater efficiency and financial prudence.

It’s crucial to acknowledge that certain areas prone to digital wastefulness, including redundant data storage, inefficient computing practices, and overlooked aspects of cloud utilisation, may remain hidden beneath the surface of day-to-day operations. There are also those which are even less obvious such as less energy efficient programming languages. These undercurrents of inefficiency represent missed opportunities for optimisation and sustainability. Importantly, while digital sustainability reporting is not currently a mandated practice in triple reporting, it serves as a powerful testament to an organisation’s commitment to environmental stewardship and technological foresight. Embracing this proactive approach not only positions a company as a leader in ecological responsibility but also as a visionary in harnessing the potential for long-term cost-effectiveness through digital sustainability. Let’s explore how embedding these principles within your corporate ethos can catalyse a transition towards a more sustainable, efficient, and economically viable future.

The Environmental Impact of Our Digital World

In today’s interconnected landscape, every digital interaction—from a cloud storage retrieval to sophisticated computations and online streaming—plays a part in energy consumption and elevates CO2 emissions. Merely scaling back online activities is not a sufficient response; a comprehensive and strategic approach to #DigitalSustainability is essential. The surge in AI and ML technologies integration, such as ChatGPT, into the fabric of corporate strategies has underscored this urgency. Recent statistics reveal that as of 2023, approximately 49% of companies have already incorporated ChatGPT into their operations, with an additional 30% planning to embrace it. This trend is reflective of a broader embrace of artificial intelligence across industries, where a significant number of companies have adopted or plan to adopt AI technologies. Moreover, the AI market is poised for substantial growth, with projections indicating an annual growth rate (CAGR 2024-2030) of 15.83%. These figures not only highlight the rapid integration of AI into business processes but also emphasise the growing need for solutions that prioritise energy efficiency and sustainability in the digital domain. As AI and digital technologies become increasingly central to corporate operations, the push for environmentally conscious and sustainable digital infrastructures becomes critically important, urging companies to adopt practices that mitigate their digital environmental footprint.

Clarifying the Internet’s Broad Reach

The term “internet” extends far beyond browsing and email; it encompasses cloud services and computing, pivotal components of our digital ecosystem’s environmental impact. This vast infrastructure in 2020 was notably accountable for 1.4% of global emissions and consumes 4% of the world’s electricity, standing shoulder to shoulder with the aviation industry in terms of environmental impact. As we delve deeper into the digital age, the situation grows more pressing with digitalisation’s energy consumption marked at 10% of worldwide energy consumption in 2023. This figure is on an upward trajectory, especially with the proliferation of language learning models like ChatGPT, highlighting a concerning trend towards increasing energy demand. Further insights from a comprehensive analysis echo these sentiments, projecting a continuous rise in energy consumption fuelled by digitalisation.

In light of these developments, aligning with the Paris Agreement’s ambitious goals becomes even more critical. Specifically, the global ICT industry faces the daunting task of reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 45% from 2020 levels by 2030, a target that underscores the urgent need for sustainable practices across all sectors of digital infrastructure. This challenge, while formidable, presents an opportunity for organisations to lead by example, not just in adhering to but also in surpassing triple reporting standards, thereby demonstrating an unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable development in the digital age.

Why Digital Sustainability Matters for Your Business

In the past decade, sustainability has transformed from a niche interest into a core component of corporate strategy, reflecting not only business priorities but also growing consumer concerns. However, the swift pace at which technology evolves, alongside slow-moving regulatory frameworks, has left many businesses scrambling to keep up. The expanding environmental footprint of big data, cloud computing, and AI technologies has become impossible to ignore, compelling companies to proactively adopt sustainable digital practices.

Adding to the urgency is the heightened public and corporate awareness brought about by innovations like ChatGPT and most recently Gemini, which have thrust the topic of big data into mainstream discussions. This visibility is likely to attract increased scrutiny from regulatory bodies and could result in sustainability metrics being incorporated into triple reporting standards in the near future. By taking the initiative to audit and refine your data management practices now, your company can not only stay ahead of potential regulatory changes but also demonstrate leadership in digital sustainability.

With Earth Day approaching, there’s a timely and compelling opportunity to position your company at the forefront of sustainable digital operations. This moment serves as a reminder of the importance of integrating environmental considerations into every aspect of your business, especially in areas that are often out of the public eye, such as digital infrastructure. By committing to sustainable digital practices today, your company can lead by example, showing that a commitment to the planet is not just good ethics—it’s also good business.

Identifying Opportunities for Digital Streamlining

For companies dedicated to minimising their digital environmental impact, a thorough examination of digital operations is paramount. Identifying inefficiencies and areas for optimisation can significantly reduce digital waste and energy consumption. Here’s a deeper look into key areas for digital streamlining:

  • Evaluating Data Pipelines: Assess whether all data pipelines in use are essential or if some have become redundant. Redundant pipelines can lead to unnecessary energy consumption and complicate data management. For a practical example, explore our case study on a silently failing pipeline, demonstrating the importance of vigilance in pipeline efficiency.
  • Ensuring Infrastructure Efficiency: Verify that all cloud and computing infrastructures are functioning optimally. Inefficient infrastructures can increase energy usage and operational costs. Our case study on improving the orchestration of pipelines highlights the benefits of streamlining infrastructure for enhanced efficiency.
  • Addressing Computing Errors: Issues and errors in computing not only delay operations but also waste computational resources, leading to increased energy usage. The case of malfunctions case study showcases strategies for addressing computing errors effectively.
  • Optimising Job Execution: Examine if there are issues with running jobs inefficiently. Streamlining job execution can reduce processing time and energy expenditure. Our case study on a non-efficient bespoke solution illustrates the importance of optimising job execution.
  • Purifying Data Storage: Identify and eliminate clean data repetitions or redundancies. This is most often the issue resulting from low data quality. Efficient data storage reduces the need for extensive computing power to manage and access data. You can find more on ensuring data quality in our video guide.
  • Decluttering Cloud Space: Remove unnecessary items from cloud storage. Very often, even the most organised companies leave old documents even after they have become entirely obsolete. Compared to physical copies cluttering the office, the cloud versions are easier to forget. Make sure that you are not paying for the storage of unnecessary items. This practice frees up space and reduces the energy required for data retrieval and maintenance.
  • Avoiding Data Duplication: Ensure data is not duplicated across departments. Quite often, organisations are divided based on their functions. In those cases, various departments collect the same data instead of using one database. This duplicates the storage with each team. Centralised data management enhances efficiency and reduces storage requirements.
  • Streamlining User Journeys: Simplify user interfaces and processes to reduce the computational power required for navigating through systems.
  • Enhance LLM Efficiency: To maximise digital sustainability and conserve computing resources while using energy-intensive LLMs like ChatGPT, consider a multifaceted approach that streamlines information retrieval and optimises query responses. By refining your system to deliver more relevant answers, you can significantly reduce the volume of queries. Implementing advanced indexing techniques and preprocessing data ensures that searches are both energy-efficient and produce contextually richer responses. This strategy not only accelerates access to information through efficient retrieval processes but also minimises unnecessary data processing. Furthermore, incorporating covered queries by leveraging indexed documents pre-answers common inquiries, thus enhancing performance and saving additional energy and resources. This holistic approach enhances LLM’s operational efficiency and contributes to a more sustainable digital environment.
  • Choosing Efficient Programming Languages, Frameworks and Databases: Some programming languages are more energy-efficient than others. Selecting an efficient language can reduce the computational power needed for the same tasks.
  • Removing Unused Code: Libraries often contain code that is no longer in use. Identifying and removing such code can decrease the amount of processing required during operations.

By focusing on these areas, companies can take significant steps towards reducing their digital footprint. Each of these strategies not only contributes to a more sustainable digital environment but also enhances operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. These are some key considerations, and many more aspects can be identified and analysed during a comprehensive digital audit to further streamline operations and minimise environmental impact.

Partnering with TantusData for Enhanced Digital Sustainability

TantusData is at the forefront of assisting companies in navigating the complexities of digital sustainability. Our focus on optimising data management, computing efficiency, and overall digital infrastructure supports not only your environmental objectives but also contributes to operational cost savings. By collaborating with TantusData, your organisation can achieve sustainability milestones and receive certification for your green digital practices, enhancing your corporate value in the process.

Your Business’s Path Forward: A Sustainable Digital Future

Adopting sustainable digital practices is more than an environmental responsibility—it’s a strategic advantage in today’s corporate world. As we continue to navigate the digital revolution, it’s imperative for companies to integrate sustainability into their digital operations. This is an invitation for your business to explore how TantusData can transform your digital footprint into an asset for both the planet and your bottom line. Reach out to us to discover how we can help you achieve a leading edge in digital sustainability.

Let’s get in touch.