Philippe Desmaison (AWS): ‘The cloud is the key to sustainable digital transformation’

Businesses and organizations that want to become more sustainable should take a closer look at all their different activities. IT plays an important role in this, and many of our customers have asked us how they can best address this. Therefore, we would like to explain our vision of sustainability for companies in this article.

Be part of the AWS sustainability project

Man-made climate change is a real threat. Both the public and the private sector must intervene. A large majority of climate scientists agree that our activities are contributing to global warming, over the past century and into the future. Several leading scientific organizations around the world have also issued statements in support of this view. That is why in 2019 we prepared ‘The Climate Pledge’ together with the NGO Global Optimism, an agreement to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement ten years earlier. More than 200 companies worldwide have already joined the initiative. They promise to measure their CO2 emissions, implement low-carbon strategies and offset the remaining emissions.

The cloud can play an important role in helping companies become more sustainable. It is in the following three ways:

  1. Reducing the digital footprint with the cloud (sustainability from the cloud itself)
  2. Restructuring the design of applications and architectures in the cloud (resource sustainability in cloud)
  3. Addressing an organization’s entire enterprise’s digital footprint through the cloud (sustainability beyond IT through cloud)

Sustainability: a shared responsibility

While it is AWS’s responsibility to design energy-efficient infrastructure and data centers, it is the customer’s responsibility to leverage all the services and technologies available to them in the cloud – to make the digitization process as efficient as possible. This can start with simple actions like shutting down servers when they are no longer running to reduce power consumption (and cost!). Cloud users can also recompile their application code to take advantage of the next generation of AWS Graviton 2 processors that deliver 2 to 3.5 times the CPU performance per second. watts of all other AWS processors, or choose serverless solutions to meet their processing capacity requirements. optimize. It is also up to cloud users to think critically about the design and IT architecture to meet their needs. We support them in this process with tailor-made programs and tools. This allows customers to always be aware of their current needs.

Expands the influence of the cloud beyond IT infrastructure

Digital efficiency is crucial in a sustainable development context, but this activity is only responsible for part of the CO2 emissions. In order to develop a comprehensive sustainability policy, all activities must be covered. As The Climate Edge points out, this starts with accurate measurement of CO2 emissions before formulating a strategy. The cloud plays an important role in analyzing the effects of the action plan. A good example of this is the French energy company Engie. Engie will help large companies and cities switch to net zero as soon as possible. To perform such a transition correctly, it is necessary to know where and how much CO2 is produced. This is then associated with environmental information such as weather or temperature. To do this, Engie has built a data lake (called the Common Data Hub) in AWS Cloud that enables the company to collect and process all of its data. In this way, the company measures progress and the effectiveness of the actions is monitored.

We see that many companies that choose the cloud can smartly combine their sustainability goals with cost optimization. The fight against global warming should no longer be seen as a limitation, but as an opportunity to modernize IT systems and become more agile as a company. All this with respect for our planet.

Philippe Desmaison, Ambassador for Sustainable Development at Amazon Web Services (AWS)

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