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Contrary to concerns about the environmental impact of cloud computing and the technology sector, migrating IT functions to the cloud can achieve reductions in total IT carbon emissions of 5.9% — or nearly 60m tons of CO2 globally per year — according to new research from Dublin-headquartered consultancy Accenture. Such a reduction would be equivalent to taking 22m cars off the road.

Accenture’s report, entitled ‘The green behind the cloud’, is informed by proprietary analysis based on the company’s experience of supporting cloud migrations for hundreds of clients. It shows initial cloud migrations alone can reduce carbon emissions by more than 84% compared with conventional infrastructure, and by up to an astonishing 98% if dedicated cloud applications are designed and used. 

The research also revealed total cost of ownership savings from migrating to the public cloud of 30-40%, driven by greater workload flexibility, better server utilisation rates and more energy-efficient infrastructure. 

"Sustainable cloud can deliver a double helix effect of shareholder and stakeholder value by simultaneously reducing costs and carbon emissions," said Peter Lacy, senior managing director and global sustainability lead at Accenture. 

The report sets out how companies can maximise value from the use and operation of cloud services, and affirms Accenture’s growing interests at the nexus of sustainability and IT. It also follows the firm’s announcement of its new offering - Accenture Cloud First - positioned to help accelerate its clients’ move to the cloud and digital transformation. 

Firms can get a current cloud CO2 emission score and recommendations for reducing their carbon footprint through Accenture’s green cloud advisor module, part of its myNav platform.


We are delighted to welcome Accenture’s Ramtin Davanlou, AI & analytics senior manager, among the speakers at Environment Analyst’s free webinar, Thursday 23 September, 14:00 BST, at which the expert panel will discuss how digital innovation is transforming environmental project delivery and accelerating the net-zero transition.