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3 Enterprise-Tech Articles to Read for Earth Day

Joe Stanganelli Managing Editor, TechBeacon
3 Enterprise-Tech Articles to Read for Earth Day

Happy Earth Day!

Far too often, talking about environmental responsibility deteriorates to little more than the elites scolding the hoi polloi over how many plastic straws and gallons of gasoline they use—while said elites contribute to producing more carbon emissions per minute than most of us will contribute to producing in a year (or possibly ever).

FrackingMining. PlasticsPrivate jets. And, of course, data centers. It's easy to justify it all with various corporatespeak and buzz terms—but at the end of the day, an endangered species doesn't care about your ESG report comparing how bad you are against how bad you could have been.

But maybe you and your organization genuinely want to do a tad better. Or maybe your company just wants to do some fashionable greenwashing to better attract ESG investors and/or look more cuddly to customers and regulatory agencies. Either way, you're going to need to do some research—and I'm assuming that's why you're here.

So to help you with your plans, however well- or ill-intentioned they might be, I've rounded up (recycled, if you will—after all, it's Earth Day) three of TechBeacon's best environmentalist-themed articles for your consumption.

Tacking into Business Headwinds with Digital Transformation

This article, jointly authored by TechBeacon's then managing editor David Shephard and Accenture executive Matthew David, highlights examples of how enterprises have begun to embrace newer technological advancements as a means of contending with industry disruption.

This high-level look at use cases for digital transformation examines, in part, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Shephard and David explain that, with digital transformation and emerging technologies (including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and the Internet of Things), 4IR has built upon automation to push business forward culturally.

"The early adopters who work and operate like technology startups, such as Tesla, Rivian, Lucid, NIO, and XPeng, are recalibrating what a car is in the customer's mind," the authors write. "This is in turn pushing governments to adapt and change as demand grows for a patchy and often missing infrastructure."

Shephard and David also heavily discuss ESG, addressing the connection between digitization and environmental sustainability. The theory, according to their sources, is that emerging tech can help business do more faster and cleaner.

How to Do DevOps Without Increasing Your Carbon Footprint

DevOps is about removing friction and making application production rollouts happen faster at greater scale. And, as we've learned over the generations since the Industrial Revolution (the original one), scaling things up while making them move faster and with less friction generally leads to an abdication of environmental responsibility.

In this article, OpenText chief architect Lars Rossen advocates for judicious tweaks to your DevOps program—including pipeline optimization, energy-use reduction, and even reducing the number of runs. Admittedly, these are adjustments that may technically bear a risk of small dings to business agility, but a risk that is outweighed by its reward—a reward that takes the form of not only a reduced carbon footprint but also lower costs. Rossen also points out that an organization employing a climate-friendly DevOps program is still far more advanced than one with no DevOps at all.

"DevOps practices can raise your carbon footprint and negatively affect the climate," writes Rossen, "but there's a lot you can to do mitigate this and keep your carbon footprint in check while still achieving greater productivity."

The Greening of Privacy: Key Steps to Data Sustainability

Neil Correa argues in this article that environmental responsibility and data stewardship go hand in hand.

The case is made fairly simply: The less data you collect, use, move, and store, the less data that can get compromised or mishandled—and the less data around to increase your carbon footprint. Effectively, your carbon footprint from your data practices rises or falls in some proportion to your data-privacy and data-security risk surface. Correa more succinctly uses the term "data footprint" to address all of this under one umbrella.

(Bonus content: Another TechBeacon article—this one from Reiner Kappenberger, another CyberRes executive—briefly echoes this point in a discussion on data minimization.)

The case is compelling, too. Correa points to CyberRes estimates that "on average, some 60% of the data that organizations collect is unused because it is either redundant, obsolete, or trivial."

Correa also invites the privacy- or security-minded reader to try a little useful Machiavellianism when dealing with stakeholders—or, at least, that's the subtext I'm reading into his article.

"Sustainability, with a focus on climate change, is receiving an increased level of attention within organizations because of the Paris Agreement on climate change and its emphasis on low-carbon goods and services," writes Correa. "So, tying together security, privacy, and sustainability would be something that hits a high note with the board of directors."

To wit, where privacy and security initiatives may have trouble getting buy-in, climate-focused ESG initiatives may be met with more enthusiasm and less pushback. Accordingly, where advocating for good data stewardship for its own sake may face obstacles, it can be helpful to focus on the environmentally responsible aspects of good data stewardship.

Would this be another example of greenwashing? And do we really care, so long as it gets decision makers to the right decision? Or is that thinking too paternalistic?

I think it's a moot point. Correa's not wrong in his assessment of how privacy, security, and environmental responsibility are connected—and his points are well stated. Honestly, this is my favorite article of the bunch.

In any case, dear reader, I would never use something as important as environmental sustainability to pander to you just to get you to do what I want.

By the way, check back here on TechBeacon on Tuesday, April 25, 2023, for Part Two of my Earth Day article roundup!

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