Three-quarters of IT leaders listed sustainability as a must-have or major consideration when selecting a cloud provider, according to a survey of more than 2,000 respondents from IDG in partnership with Google Cloud released Tuesday.
Even though 90% of respondents said sustainability is a priority and/or performance metric for the IT department, only 67% have sustainability targets in place and 29% plan to implement the targets. IT data centers are the top area of focus for organizations looking to meet sustainability targets.
"We're really seeing a focus on sustainable business practices and, for many of these organizations, information technology decisions are a great way to actually have that," Chris Talbott, product and solutions sustainability lead at Google Cloud, said during a roundtable discussion on Tuesday.
Sustainability has become a part of digital transformation agendas, because of voluntary sustainability reporting and a shift in consumer behavior prioritizing sustainability in product offerings.
Digital transformation in response to the pandemic has further set the stage for sustainability goals. Organizations accelerated or introduced more sustainability practices in the last year than they cancelled or delayed, taking the opportunity to both digitally and sustainability transform, according to Talbott.
Transformations are on track to continue in the next year, even as pandemic-era efforts start to change. Over the next year, 31% of all organizations will increase transformation spending compared to last year due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Capgemini report.
Meanwhile, IT is becoming cognizant of how sustainability can fit into tech decision-making.
"While IT is often aware of the impact that their sustainability choices can have, the more that sustainable options can be delivered ... the better," KellyAnn Fitzpatrick, senior industry analyst at RedMonk, said at the event.
Etsy built sustainability into its larger public impact goals, incorporating a working group on sustainable computing into its efforts, according to Chelsea Mozen, director of impact and sustainability at Etsy, during the roundtable. The organization is developing tools that would enable developers to visualize in real time the energy impact of cloud products, services, features and other tech developments.
"The ideal end state for us is to have carbon and energy information available to all developers in a self-service manner so that decisions big and small can be made with carbon impact in mind," Mozen said.
The collaboration across business functions helps the sustainability team better speak the language of engineers and involve engineers that cared deeply about sustainability have a stake in the process, according to Mozen.