Sustainability and Snow: How IT Leaders Can Care for the Environment 

Snow Software CIO Alastair Pooley provides his take on the changes and strategies IT leadership can embrace to have a positive impact on the environment.

Due to the fast-paced technological development we have grown used to in IT, we have lived for some time in a disposable environment where equipment is quickly outdated and replaced in a bid to improve customer experience or outcomes. However, at some point, most of us have looked at a stack of equipment destined to be disposed of and thought of the cost. It is only a small jump to consider the cost to the environment as well. 

IT Leader Strategies for Sustainability 

A sustainable company is one which recognizes its corporate responsibility to lessen the harm it does to the environment and reduce its draw on global resources. Customers, employees and investors are increasingly looking to all companies to answer the call to action by developing their own sustainability measures, especially in the IT sphere.  

Snow Software and I have introduced a wide range of strategies such as supporting greener data centers, safely recycling endpoint devices, increasing reliance on cloud technologies and extending the life of hardware.  

Snow is not the only company recognizing the increasing importance of environmental efforts and the CIOs who embrace them. A recent Wall Street Journal article reported that many CIOs are focused on sustainability initiatives now that the relationship between digitization and carbon-based emissions is more apparent. 

In addition to the recycling of endpoint devices and the other examples listed above, these leaders’ wide-ranging efforts often include: 

As CIO, I know that managing a global technology estate brings significant challenges. Prior to joining Snow, I already used their products to secure technology intelligence. I know that the insights gained through these products aid sustainability initiatives and assist those who still need to transition to a cloud computing model. Spending money on servers that are sitting and consuming power whilst being unproductive is not in the interests of business or the environment. By ensuring full visibility of the technology estate, wasted resources can be identified and eliminated.

Relocating as much as possible to the cloud (due to the greener credentials of the cloud providers vs. legacy data centers), leaves processing tasks to larger, more efficient providers. It also allows companies to run only the number of machines that they need at any one time, depending on the design. Utilizing auto-scaling technology efficiently allows a business to decrease their carbon footprint significantly and save cost.

Sustainability Certification and TCO Certified

To help ensure that we are holding ourselves to the highest standards in our hardware decisions, we at Snow Software partner with TCO Certified, the world-leading third-party sustainability certification for IT products which is independent from the IT industry and buyers. Snow products also now make use of the data that TCO Certified produces and incorporates that into the intelligence that our customers have about their technology estate, allowing them to make better decisions.  

Companies wishing to extend their corporate social responsibility beyond their own consumption can use hardware asset management tools such as those from Snow. These tools identify “end of life” assets so companies can consider how they can best utilize those assets to meet development goals, lessen waste, and reduce the global requirement for raw materials.  Donating their IT assets (after giving due regard to data removal) to charitable organizations which give individuals and communities access to basic services helps both the environment and a demographic in need.

Waste of resources, be they physical, environmental or financial, is becoming indefensible in the modern business climate. While it is certainly a challenge to find innovative ways to improve our consumption and impact on the environment, it is one that those who are in leadership roles in IT should take seriously. 

Alastair Pooley is the Chief Information Officer at Snow, where he is responsible for global IT strategy and implementation. He has presented at national and international conferences and maintains in industry-leading technical/security qualifications across AWS, Linux Professional Institute and ISC(2). Alastair also earned a BSc in Physics from the University of Warwick and was awarded an MBA from Cranfield University.