Sustainability means reducing, not just shifting your responsibilities

Now that the Dutch government does not seem to be meeting its 2030 sustainability goals, it could send the wrong signal to business: If the government does not succeed, why should ‘we’ do so? Another trend in sustainability is shifting instead of reducing. For example, anyone who purchases SaaS services is no longer responsible for their CO2 footprint. Rationale for Fujitsu to bring internal reduction targets in areas such as CO2 into customers’ minds as much as possible, says innovation manager Ronald Bottenberg. With a sustainable portfolio like Uvance and with a ‘sustainability thermometer such as Sustainability Benchmark’. “You need to find a good balance in cost, efficiency and sustainability.”

“Sustainability is now a key theme for Fujitsu. From there, we develop our solutions. We act on a purpose-driven basis: In this way, we will achieve a real reduction in CO2 emissions, which we now aim for a reduction of 71.4 percent in 2030. In many companies you see a shift where the footprint is somewhere else in the chain.

In this context, Fujitsu launched the Uvance program at the end of 2021: a global brand for the business market that aims to make companies more sustainable and solve social problems. The brand includes a product and service portfolio of digital solutions for a sustainable world, such as the Fujitsu ICT Sustainability Benchmark. In the brand name, the words Universal (alt) and Advance (progress) have been merged.

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Purpose driven, fact based
According to Bottenberg, the strength of Uvance lies in several elements. Firstly, that it is purpose-driven – clear goals for reduction – and secondly that it is fact-based – based on clear figures, where a company with reduction stands and where it wants to go. “You still see a lot of green washing, many marketing stories without substance. Companies are becoming more and more allergic to it. ”

Bottenberg states that with a truly sustainable portfolio, it is important to look at the production resources used, the materials used, the logistics chain. “People, planet, profit: you work from your business strategy towards sustainable and social goals. Fujitsu has taken steps in this direction internally in recent years and can now do the same for our customers: why we do this and how we do it. In the coming period, the Uvance portfolio will be further developed based on the interaction with the customers. ”

Sustainability thermometer
Fujitsu has also developed the ICT Sustainability Benchmark, a tool that acts as a kind of thermometer to make customers aware of what sustainability is all about, that it’s much more than separating paper and banning plastic cups. We can provide insight into the CO2 footprint of their IT environment. So also when you buy xaaS services and thus actually move the responsibility for emissions. Whether home-based jobs are part of that footprint, or whether you consider yourself rich with fewer office jobs. ”

Fujitsu also wants to offer Benchmark in collaboration with partners. Whether the white label will happen, or whether Fujitsu will do this on behalf of partners, is not yet clarified. “Of course, such a tool has a lot of commercial value. You get much more insight into where your customer stands in the IT area, you no longer talk not only with the IT department, but also with the general management. ”

Determine CO2 footprint
If Benchmark is primarily a thermometer, Fujitsu is thinking of a much more concrete instrument for determining an organization’s CO2 footprint in detail as the next step. “The moment you have an idea of ​​what equipment you use where in the organization and for what purpose, you can very well determine its CO2 footprint: production, materials but also energy consumption.”

It gets harder when it comes to using cloud environments, at Bottenberg. “Many cloud providers mainly compensate, which is fine in itself, but it is not yet a reduction. And the use of cloud environments – for infrastructure, applications, data – is only increasing as companies continue to digitize. It also makes it more difficult to achieve a downward trend with regard to, for example, CO2 emissions. In theory, the cloud is more sustainable than on the premise, in practice, for example, doubling usage means that sustainability is harder to achieve. “

An advantage for Fujitsu is that the company has a strong presence in both hardware and with a growing cloud portfolio, says Bottenberg. We can look with both eyes at what the best balance is in on-premise and cloud for a business and link the most sustainable solution to it. We help companies find the right balance: in cost, efficiency and sustainability. An advantage of the cloud is that you can turn it on when you need it, and ‘turn it off’ when you do not. There is still a lot to do. “

Good balance
Where, according to Bottenberg, it is good to determine the best balance between on-premise and cloud, this also applies to the use of AI technology. “AI often seems to be the solution to everything. But with the increase in the use of AI technology, energy consumption is expected to increase fivefold in the coming years. So you have to ask yourself if AI is always the solution to our problems. ”

For example, Fujitsu currently has a customer in the financial world who has come a long way with AI, but who is currently consciously choosing to use less or lower AI technology. “They see that the benefits of using it do not always outweigh the damage it causes to the environment. Fortunately, the choice of the balance, the story of ‘people, planet, profit’ that underlies it, is becoming more and more apparent in an increasing number of companies. ”

To measure is to know
It all starts with education and awareness, Bottenberg sees, but it can only be converted into concrete goals if you can accurately measure the impact on your IT environment and the impact if you choose a more sustainable balance in this. “Measuring is knowing. And it’s not easy. It’s not without reason that the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have only been made measurable since 2020. Before that time, there were goals, but the results were not easy to measure. And measuring the starting position and where a company grows in the IT area is a must to put the sustainability goals into practice. ”

In the coming period, Fujitsu also wants to take more and more concrete steps with the partner channel. Bottenberg: “In the beginning, it was primarily government institutions, large international organizations that put sustainability high on the agenda. Now we also see more and more partners who want to work with us in this area, who realize that they also have a responsibility to help reduce that CO2 footprint. “

Improve continuously
Many organizations find it difficult to translate their own sustainability goals into what is available on the market, Bottenberg concludes. They often fall back on asking for specifications, for certificates. “We then ask the second question: what does such a certificate add to your sustainability goals? It often turns out that they have not really mapped those goals yet. It is also something we can help them with, for example with our Benchmark. And yes, we did that internally too, and a lot of people were pretty shocked by the results. We are not better than the rest, and we have to improve continuously. ”

Author: Martijn Kregting

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