Cloud migration can slash 60 million tons of CO2 emissions per year

Cloud migration can reduce CO2 emissions by nearly 60 million tons a year, according to a recent report from management and technology consultancy Accenture. The firm’s “The Green Behind the Cloud” report derives from its experience supporting sustainable cloud migrations for hundreds of clients globally.

The consulting firm says that migration to public cloud could achieve a 5.9% decrease in carbon emissions per year globally. That equates to removing 22 million cars off the road.

According to Accenture, initial cloud migrations can reduce carbon emission by more than 84% versus conventional infrastructure. Reductions can be pushed even higher (up to 98%) by designing applications specifically for the cloud.

Cloud migrations can also unlock wider green energy transitions enabled by cloud-based geographic analyses and material waste reductions from better data insights.

Reducing carbon emissions
Cloud transformations have historically been driven by financial, security, and agility benefits. According to Accenture’s client work, cloud migrations can realize 30-40% total cost of ownership savings over enterprise-owned data centers – driven by greater workload flexibility, better server utilization rates, and more energy-efficient infrastructure.

However, now cloud migrations can also help companies address increasingly important sustainability and ESG goals.

“Sustainable cloud can deliver a double helix effect of shareholder and stakeholder value by simultaneously reducing costs and carbon emissions,” said Peter Lacy, a senior managing director and global sustainability lead at Accenture. “Further, the magnitude of carbon reduction achieved through cloud migrations can go a long way in meeting climate change commitments and driving new levels of innovation, ultimately leading to a greener balance sheet and a greener planet.”

Sustainability efforts have been gaining ground among corporations as the world reckons with the increasing negative impacts of climate change. According to another Accenture study, 59% of CEOs now say they are deploying low-carbon and renewable energy in their operations, while 44% envision a net-zero, carbon-neutral future for their company.

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