Salesforce unveiled a new initiative to reduce carbon emissions associated with the software development lifecycle Thursday. The effort, named Green Code, provides sustainability best practices for UX designers, software engineers, systems architects and IT operations managers.
“Sustainability efforts to date have been largely focused on hardware efficiency and electric grid decarbonization,” the cloud-based CRM company said in the announcement. “Optimizing the code that comprises these applications is a powerful leverage point that remains largely untapped.”
While corporate environmental, social and governance promises have become the norm, execution is a challenge. Budget restrictions, ineffective governance and a lack of reliable data and effective tools can deter progress.
As organizations deploy better ESG tools and practices, the software development ecosphere has become a target for potential gains, Abhijit Sunil, senior analyst at consulting firm Forrester, told CIO Dive. Sunil points to the Green Software Foundation, a nonprofit group working to embed environmental priorities in the development process, as indicative of an emerging trend.
While sustainability is a concern for developers, they’ve largely been left out of the larger ESG conversation, according to a Salesforce survey of more than 1,000 technologists.
Three-quarters of respondents said they want to develop applications that do less harm to the environment. Roughly the same number acknowledged that their leadership doesn’t see sustainable software development as a priority.
Lack of knowledge and tools remains an impediment, Salesforce found. Nearly half of respondents said lack of a clear roadmap stymied sustainability efforts.
The Green Code effort relies on a simple concept: code that uses less energy significantly reduces emissions when deployed at scale. Small changes to code, image size, color and typefaces in web design can yield big sustainability impacts, according to the report.
Professionals who want to improve the sustainability of their code can consolidate screens, minimize page loads and limit the number of steps in user interface applications to reduce compute.
To multiply the effect, IT operations can relocate cloud workloads to less carbon-intensive deployment regions and schedule them during high renewable energy periods.
Delivering on broader ESG promises calls for clear metrics for measuring and reporting direct Scope 1 emissions from on-prem sources such as data centers, as well as Scope 2 emissions produced by third-party utilities and service providers.