Google, Amazon, Microsoft, the Cloud - and cutting carbon
The problems posed by climate change simply cannot be overlooked any longer, with carbon dioxide emissions being the biggest cause for rising temperatures around the world.
The UK has been particularly vocal in raising the alarm, and will use the UN’s 2021 COP26 climate change conference, hosted in Glasgow, to urge economies to drive towards net zero emissions by 2030, in line with the Paris Agreement and the UN’s own Framework Convention on Climate Change.
It’s not just governments who have been taking responsibility over climate change – businesses have been looking to change their behaviour as well.
In particular, many have been coming to terms with the environmental impact their everyday IT activities are having, for example:
- A single Google search uses the same amount of electricity as it takes to run a lightbulb for 17 seconds.
- The five billion views of music video Despacito (2018), meant that it had driven the consumption of the typical amount of energy used by 40,000 US homes a year.
Cloud computing can cut carbon footprints
In very simple terms, if businesses switch their IT systems from on-premise to cloud computing, it’s the equivalent of using a car pool.
Having on-premise servers requires hardware, facilities and cooling units. If businesses can join a “car pool” with big cloud service providers like Amazon, Microsoft and Google, businesses will be in line to reduce costs, with cloud-native applications consuming less infrastructure and energy per user.
Businesses will also be better-equipped to support remote workers, further reducing carbon emissions involved in creating and maintaining large office spaces.
Big tech is leading the charge
- Google claims to be the first organisation of its size to operate with 100% renewable energy, with its data centers run on wind farms and solar panels
- Microsoft has set the target of becoming carbon negative by 2030 and is also investing in carbon reduction and removal technologies
- Amazon has also pledged to reach net zero carbon by 2040
Using green data centers to reduce carbon footprints
IT decision-makers everywhere have a responsibility to check their suppliers are taking energy efficient steps, and setting up KPIs that drive them to further reduce their emissions. Just because a business no longer has physical servers and data centers, it can’t take an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach: when using the cloud, all of us should take responsibility to ensure our carbon footprint is as small as possible.
Tesla and BHP support sustainable nickel mining
In 2020, Elon Musk declared he wanted supplies of sustainable nickel for Tesla, which needs nickel for its electric car batteries.
An agreement between Tesla and BHP has been agreed upon and BHP will supply the company with nickel from its Nickel West, in Australia.
This is Tesla’s third nickel agreement within eight months.
Tesla and BHP promote traceability of raw materials and lowering emissions
BHP is a global mining company, headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, and with a revenue of US$42bn.
Tesla, led by the eccentric Elon Musk, has been providing electric cars to sustainable consumers since 2008. The company is headquartered in California, USA and has a revenue of US$34bn.
Nickel is an essential part of lithium-ion batteries, which supply electric vehicles with their energy.
Together, BHP and Tesla, are working to make the battery supply chain more sustainable, by:
- Promoting the traceability of raw materials
- Working with others in the mining sector and beyond who share similar views
- Efficient energy storage
- Lowering carbon emissions
- Increasing the use of renewable energy
BHP’s net-zero targets
BHP is known for its low carbon intensity nickel, which is expected to grow in demand by over 500% over the next decade.
“Demand for nickel in batteries is to grow in large part to support the world’s rising demand for electric vehicles”, said Vandita Pant, BHP’s chief commercial officer. “We are delighted to sign this agreement with Tesla and to collaborate with them on ways to make the battery supply chain more sustainable through our shared focus on technology and innovation.”
The company is proud of its sustainable nickel and has set itself other environmental targets.
“We are on the pathway to net-zero at our operations”, said Edgar Basto, BHP Minerals Australia President. “Sustainable, reliable production of quality nickel will be essential to meeting demand from sustainable energy producers like Tesla Inc. The investments we have made in our assets and our pursuit of commodities like nickel will help support global decarbonisation and position us to generate long-term value for our business.”