Carbon Benefits of Cloud Computing

The Cloud is vital not only for business efficiency and continuity but also for an organization’s sustainability. With the ambitious net-zero targets of many large corporations more pressure is placed on how operation is carried as well as how resources are acquired and managed.

Cloud computing reduces a company’s carbon footprint, creating lower emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy. In a Microsoft report, results showed significant energy and carbon emission reduction potential compared to on-premises datacenters. Up to 93% more energy-efficient and as high as 98% more carbon-efficient due to their extensive IT efficiency investments as well as renewable energy. Google research also revealed that moving commonly used software applications to the cloud would decrease energy use by up to 87%. Cloud computing also enables home and remote work, reducing the need to commute and indirectly reducing transportation emissions.

Cloud-based based computing adoption was driven by financial benefits, better security, increased agility, and scalability. To date, as more and more companies, large and small, become conscious and responsible for the effects the operation brings to the environment, sustainability is becoming an imperative consideration.

Cloud Computing can reduce the company’s carbon footprint

Cloud computing could eliminate a billion metric tons of CO2 emission over the next four years, and possibly more, according to a new IDC forecast. Companies on the cloud can reduce carbon released into the air by 88%, lower power utilization by up to 84%, and 77% less server.  The same report sites that if green cloud datacenters today stay where it is, just the migration to the cloud itself could save 629 million metric tons over the four-year time period. If all operating data centers were designed for sustainability by 2024, having adopted technology and processes to enable smarter data centers, then 1.6 billion metric tons could be saved.

Large-scale datacenters for cloud-based computing are optimized to maximize power efficiency, cooling, and server utilization. Creating efficient use of the shared facility compared to on-premises datacenters.

Increase, if not exclusive, use of Renewable Energy Sources

Most large-scale cloud data centers use renewable energy sources –  wind, solar, and hydro as opposed to fossil fuels, making them environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Decrease emissions with WFH and Remote Work Possibility

Global emissions plunged by almost 2 billion tons in 2020, the largest absolute decline in history, due to lower use of oil for road transport and aviation according to IEA data. Cloud computing makes remote work and work from home set up a possibility, reducing emissions from cars and vehicles. This doesn’t only apply to work but also to the education system making hybrid-learning models a possibility.

Carbon-thoughtful Cloud providers

One of the conscious ways to ensure that your organization is on the right track to reaping the carbon benefits of cloud computing and reducing emissions and carbon footprint is to choose partners and cloud-service providers that prioritize sustainability and is aiming for net-zero, if not carbon-negative.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure aims for 100 percent supply of renewable energy by 2025 and takes action to remove more carbon by 2030—the same year by which it will reduce its historic carbon emissions of more than 50 percent. By 2050, it will fully remove the company’s historic carbon footprint.

Microsoft renewable energy purchases make Azure up to 93 percent more energy efficient than on-prem servers, adding up to savings for Azure customers. Its sustainability starts at the datacenter and extends to AI-driven products and local projects. Continually adopting innovative practices to minimize the environmental impact of our datacenters—reducing energy use while providing higher processing power and helping to eliminate water consumption.

Google Cloud Platform

Google’s target is to match its energy consumption with carbon-free energy (CFE), every hour and in every region by 2030. The search giant has a long track record in clean energy and in 2007, it became the first major company to become carbon neutral. A decade later in 2017, Google became the first company of its size to match 100 percent of its electricity consumption with renewable energy. Google is set to demonstrate that a carbon-free economy is possible while also setting an example for other cloud computing and technology businesses.

Amazon Web Services

Amazon pledged to net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, a decade ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement, and on a path to powering operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025 as part of our goal to reach net-zero carbon.

The Cloud Computing environment provides companies savings on resources, increased efficiency, better security, and now an opportunity to do better for the earth by reducing carbon emissions.


For organizations considering cloud computing, speak to AI Consulting Group to discuss the opportunities and benefits of moving your data estate to the cloud and how you can take advantage of the carbon benefits of cloud computing. 

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