Migration to the public cloud can achieve significant carbon reduction in the form of a 5.9% decrease in total IT emissions or nearly 60 million tons of CO2 globally per year, according to new research from Accenture.
The report, “The Green Behind the Cloud,” outlines how companies can achieve the most value from environmentally-friendly use and operation of cloud services, regardless of where they are on their cloud journey.
In previous research, Accenture found 59% of CEOs say they are deploying low-carbon and renewable energy across their operations today while 44% see a net-zero, carbon neutral future for their company. Moreover, two-thirds view technologies like cloud as critical factors for accelerating change and making their commitments a reality.
Adding to the environmental impact, sustainable cloud solutions also deliver financial benefits. Accenture’s analysis shows up to 30-40% total cost of ownership savings from public cloud, driven by greater workload flexibility, better server utilization rates, and more energy-efficient infrastructure. According to the report, the sustainability and financial benefits from cloud migration will vary based on three key factors: the cloud provider selected, the ambition level for cloud optimization, and the level of cloud-enabled sustainability innovations.
When it comes to cloud optimization, the report outlines three ambition levels in the cloud-first sustainability journey:
- Strategic migrations without major redesign
- Application of sustainable software engineering practices
- Application optimization for the “fabric of the cloud”
Accenture analysis shows initial cloud migrations alone can reduce carbon emissions by more than 84% compared with conventional infrastructure. Reductions can be pushed even higher — by up to 98% — by designing applications specifically for the cloud.