Why cloud is an enabler for sustainability

By Amazon Web Services

Self-owned and operated IT equipment and data centers are a major source of carbon emissions for public sector organisations.

The findings of a new report by 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence and commissioned by Amazon Web Service Institute, reveals that moving APAC enterprise and public sector workloads to the cloud from on premises data centers can reduce energy consumption and associated carbon emissions by nearly 80 per cent and is five times more energy efficient than on premise APAC data centers. Additionally, with procurement of renewable energy in APAC a challenge, if cloud providers were able to source more renewable energy, we would see another boost in carbon emissions savings from moving workloads to the cloud.

Why the difference?

The report surveyed senior stakeholders from 515 business and public sector organisations with annual revenues between U.S. $10 million and U.S. $1 billion across Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, and India. The study found that the significant difference in carbon output can be attributed to the fact that cloud data centres achieve far higher resource utilisation and greater energy efficiency than the typical on-premises data center, which translates into considerably less energy used to perform the same unit of work.

When compared to on-premises data centers, the paper revealed that cloud data centers offer further potential energy savings of more than 11 per cent due to their highly energy efficient power and cooling systems. AWS is constantly innovating the design and application of cooling systems to reduce water use, and utilise real-time sensor data to adapt to changing weather conditions. Where we can, we use reclaimed or recycled water instead of potable drinking water, we work with local utilities to expand the use of reclaimed water, and we look for opportunities to return water to the community.

Potential access to 100 per cent renewable power

The paper also highlights how, in the absence of opportunities for cloud providers to reach their 100 per cent renewable energy goals—as AWS is seeking to do by 2025—there is significant carbon reduction opportunity left on the table. If APAC organisations were able to move IT workloads to cloud data centers powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, their carbon emissions savings could rise to 93 per cent on average.

AWS - a sustainable technology partner

Moving to AWS is more sustainable than on-premises infrastructure as our scale allows us to achieve much higher resource utilisation and energy efficiency than the typical on-premises data center, especially since the AWS Global Infrastructure is built on Amazon’s own custom hardware, purpose-built and optimised for workloads run by AWS customers. Enterprise and public sector organisations migrating workloads from on-premises data centers to AWS tap into our global infrastructure and the broadest selection of services to increase agility, drive innovation, and achieve cost savings.

AWS incorporates sustainability considerations into our data center design and focuses on energy efficiency and continuous innovation. When enterprises and public sector organisations move to the AWS Cloud from on-premises infrastructure, they typically reduce carbon emissions because our data centers can offer environmental economies of scale and tap into a cleaner mix of solar and wind power than in their own data centers.

At AWS, we are committed to building a sustainable business for our customers and the planet. In 2019, Amazon co-founded The Climate Pledge—a commitment to be net zero carbon across all global operations by 2040, ten years ahead of the Paris Agreement. The Climate Pledge now has over 100 pledge signatories. We are also on an accelerated path to run its worldwide operations on 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025. In fact, in 2020, Amazon was the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, reaching 65 per cent renewable energy across our business.

Achieving net zero carbon across our business inspires us to find innovative ways to operate. We have a total of 206 renewable energy projects globally, including 71 utility-scale wind and solar renewable energy projects, and 135 solar rooftops on facilities and stores. As part of this in APAC, we have invested in five renewable energy projects that include three wind and solar projects in Australia, one solar project in China, and a solar project in Singapore consisting of multiple moveable ground-mounted solar panels. Collectively, these projects will supply more than 900,000 megawatt-hours of additional renewable energy to local electricity grids.

While climate change is a global challenge, the solutions to it can start small. For organisations looking to become more sustainable, it is important they consider how the cloud can help systems become more environmentally friendly and AWS stands ready to help.

Learn more about the report here.