How cloud technologies can help businesses achieve net zero objectives.

November 15, 20215 min read


The digital revolution has driven an exponential growth in the demand for data and digital services year on year. The energy demands required to provide those same data and services also continues to grow. Learn how virtualised cloud technologies and SaaS (software-as-a-service) can help your business continue to provide your services whilst also achieving your net zero objectives.

The significant financial benefits of virtualised environments running in the cloud versus on-premise server environments are already well known and industry proven. On-premise environments are costly to purchase, construct, secure, maintain and run. Leveraging virtualised cloud technologies allows businesses to take advantage of managed, shared infrastructures in purpose-built facilities where economies of scale can significantly reduce costs.

What is far less well known and understood are the potential decarbonisation benefits available to your business in combatting climate change through adoption of your own net zero objectives assisted by the implementation of virtualisation and cloud technologies.

What is ‘Net Zero’?

Net zero is not zero emissions. A net zero state is achieved when the amount of carbon being released into the atmosphere by your business as a whole is balanced by the amount of carbon being removed by your business.

How is it assessed and why is this significant?

In a nutshell, the carbon emissions of your business can be quantified across three broad scopes in accordance with the Green House Gas Protocol (GHGP) 2001:

Scope 1

Direct emissions – from sources such as fuel, vehicles and chemicals.

Scope 2

Indirect emissions – from sources such as purchased energy like electricity, steam, heating and cooling.

Scope 3

Other indirect emissions – from sources such as transportation, travel and purchased products and services. This scope is the hardest to control and quantify whilst typically accounting for more than 70% of the average business carbon footprint.

Why is this significant?

Scope 3 includes carbon emissions from purchased products and services.

As such, the assessment of your business must necessarily include the carbon emissions of your suppliers and, by extension, will also be included in any assessment of your clients and customers. Scope 3 creates a chain of responsibility within the value chain of your business which means that as climate change initiatives continue to develop the carbon emissions of your business will become an increasingly crucial differentiator in their respective marketplaces.

How can virtualised cloud technologies and SaaS help to achieve net zero?

Cloud technologies and virtualisation are purchased products and services as per scope 3 for the purposes of GHGP assessment. Therefore, the carbon credentials of the chosen cloud provider will impact directly on the assessment of your business.

Fortunately, the major providers are already well underway in their transition towards their net zero objectives and beyond.

Both Microsoft and Google already boast operating at net zero and have made statements expressing their goal to reach net negative before 2030. Amazon are currently working toward their goal of powering their operations using 100% renewable energy by 2025.

Physical Infrastructure Technologies

Renewable energy initiatives and energy efficient technologies are revolutionising the way data centres operate.

Technologies such as liquid immersion cooling and grid-interactive power with clean energy backup have achieved significant gains in not only reducing carbon emissions but also in lowering energy and water consumption levels by significant margins.

Virtual Infrastructure Technologies

Virtualisation enables data centres to fully optimise the utilisation of their physical resources.

Consolidating multiple workloads can drastically reduce the physical resources required to run them.

Automated migration of solutions can be performed during periods of peak or low demand, dynamically scaling up or scaling out to meet demand.

Hibernation can preserve the last state of a solution before powering it off. This allows for much speedier re-activation when demand occurs and does not require reloading of state or data.


Business solutions which are designed and developed specifically for deployment to virtualised environments running in the cloud are able to leverage technologies to minimise energy usage.

The financial demands of re-engineering legacy solutions to adapt them to the cloud is prohibitive for most independent software vendors (ISVs) meaning that migrated legacy software solutions from on-premise servers to virtualised instances on the cloud are almost always virtualised server instances – always-on irrespective of the current level of demand.

TeamFolio is our market-leading enterprise skills management solution and has been designed and developed from the ground-up to integrate seamlessly to your physical and virtual environments.

Designed for the cloud means TeamFolio can be fully managed and automated to take full advantage of the current and future physical and virtual infrastructure technologies offered by your chosen provider.

Developed for the cloud ensures the code is optimised and secure whilst the user interface functions effectively and responsively over the internet.

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