Unlocking Your Network's Sustainability Potential

2nd May 2024 | Blogs


Sustainability has become a top priority globally, with individuals, governments, and organisations of all sizes recognising the urgent need to address carbon emissions and their impact on the planet. For organisations across the globe, achieving sustainability goals can be a daunting task. Monitoring emissions within their operations is already complex, and the increasing focus on reducing emissions throughout the supply chain adds another layer of complexity. Networks and IT infrastructure, known for their energy consumption, pose significant challenges in this regard. However, a major obstacle to progress often lies in the lack of tools and expertise needed to accurately measure emissions. Without reliable data, organisations struggle to make informed decisions about potential changes.

In this article, we'll explore:

  • The drivers of sustainability in the IT and network infrastructure market.
  • The main challenges organisations face in increasing network sustainability.
  • Key steps to achieve net-zero emissions.
  • How we can support your organisation's sustainability efforts.


Networks and IT infrastructure have a reputation for being heavy consumers of energy, making them prime targets for sustainability enhancements. The encouraging news is that there's significant room for improvement. Interestingly, advancements in technology often inadvertently lead to enhanced sustainability.

Consider the shift to cloud computing, which reduces physical footprints, or the utilisation of renewable energy sources in virtual data centres and platforms. Additionally, the adoption of circular economy principles in hardware replacement is gaining traction. These initiatives hold tremendous promise, and they represent just the tip of the iceberg.

However, what frequently impedes progress isn't a lack of desire to reduce carbon emissions, but rather a deficiency in the necessary tools and expertise to accurately measure, monitor, and report emissions across networks. Without reliable data, organisations hesitate to implement changes, unsure of their effectiveness or return on investment.

In today's landscape, it's nonsensical to upgrade your network without assurance of unlocking sustainability benefits. Consequently, progress often stalls.

What are the driving factors shaping the Sustainability landscape in 2024?

Sustainability has surged to the forefront of organisational priorities, with over 3,900 companies committing to clear carbon reduction targets.

In summary, these diverse factors collectively drive corporate decisions towards sustainability, reflecting a growing awareness of the need for environmental responsibility in today's business landscape.

So, what's hindering businesses from embracing sustainability within their networks despite understanding its core drivers?

Let's delve into the barriers that impede organisations from making meaningful sustainability improvements.
For businesses to achieve substantial decarbonisation, they need to overcome these three obstacles:

1. Lack of Measurable and Consistent Data:

  • While networks are known for their high energy consumption and resulting CO2 emissions, many organisations struggle to accurately measure their usage.
  • With increasing accountability for Scope 3 emissions, organisations require detailed data from providers, especially challenging in multi-vendor environments.
  • Without accurate data, organisations risk making false claims, damaging their brand reputation and hindering meaningful change.
  • Therefore, finding precise methods to measure total consumption across network infrastructure and supply chains is crucial.

2. Internal Skills Shortages:

  • Organisations grapple with the complexities of network architectures and the ongoing need to balance operational requirements, often lacking the necessary expertise in-house.
  • Redesigning and optimising networks for energy efficiency demands specialised technical knowledge in both IT and Operational Technology (OT) domains.
  • This intricate process involves extensive analysis, planning, and testing, alongside consideration of various inputs like business objectives, budget constraints, technical specifications, and operational procedures.
  • Moreover, creating optimal network designs must align with industry regulations, financial constraints, and security standards, requiring specialised expertise.

3. Unreliable Solutions:

  • Despite the growing emphasis on operational sustainability, organisations encounter hurdles due to the lack of dependable solutions tailored for sustainability.
  • Ensuring consistent and credible real-time monitoring and reporting of network energy performance proves challenging without reliable sustainability-supporting solutions.
  • Continuous improvement of network infrastructure across both IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operational Technology) domains, along with responsible disposal of outdated equipment through recycling, is crucial for maintaining energy efficiency.
  • Unfortunately, much of this equipment often ends up in landfills or languishes unused in storage rooms, posing environmental risks.

To make progress towards greener networks, organisations need reliable solutions and methods for both internal and external improvements. This involves working closely with trusted partners who are committed to success.

That's why we've developed a step-by-step process to lay the foundation for long-term network sustainability:

Step 1: Focus on Measuring Total Impact:

Achieving sustainability improvements hinges on obtaining an accurate understanding of total energy consumption, which necessitates reliable data. To do this, you need to gather data from all the devices and software used in your network. Think of it like collecting information from all the different parts of your network, like computers, servers, and software programs and running them through holistic measuring tools capable of aggregating data. These tools generate detailed reports on power usage and carbon emissions, providing you with a baseline for informed decision-making. Additionally, they identify optimal scheduling times for energy-intensive tasks and highlight network components that are underperforming in terms of energy efficiency and CO2 emissions.

Step 2: Procuring sustainable equipment:

Continuing the journey toward sustainable networks, organisations can delve into sustainable procurement decisions. This involves exploring opportunities to upgrade network infrastructure, replace outdated equipment with energy-efficient alternatives, or plan a complete network redesign. However, any redesign efforts must consider various factors like security, regulatory compliance, and the organisation's commercial and functional needs. This requires careful examination and evaluation. In many cases, transitioning workloads to cloud-based colocated data centres can yield significant cost savings and sustainability benefits. There are now even data centre options powered entirely by renewable energy sources. However, migrating to the cloud often involves disposing of or replacing equipment, leading to e-waste generation, which constitutes a significant portion of hazardous waste in landfills. As networks undergo upgrades and improvements, it is also essential to consider end-of-life recycling schemes to minimise waste. Organisations can challenge their suppliers to provide recycling programs as part of their procurement process. This approach ensures that sustainability remains a priority throughout the network procurement and upgrade process.

Step 3: Minimising Operational Environmental Impact:

To diminish the ongoing environmental impact of operations, organisations must commit to achieving net-zero emissions targets, which often involve providing regular updates on emissions. A critical aspect of improving a network is incorporating a reliable monitoring tool to identify patterns and inefficiencies across the system. This enhanced visibility empowers organisations to manage and optimise their operational networks for minimal power and carbon usage, as well as accurately forecast energy consumption. Additionally, it facilitates the evaluation of the sustainability of future network developments and identifies areas for improvement.

Advancements in the operating environment offer numerous opportunities to enhance sustainability. Edge computing, for instance, stands ready to help organisations significantly reduce their data centre capacity. By processing data at the edge, there's a notable reduction in the volume of data sent to the cloud, enabling data centre consolidation, decreased energy consumption, and accelerated decarbonisation. Supported by cloud capabilities, edge computing also unlocks access to innovative Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools, which continuously identify new energy efficiencies. This integrated approach ensures that sustainability remains a focal point in ongoing operations and future network enhancements.

How We Can Help: A Strong Sustainability Partnership

Since 2022, we've been committed to climate action. As a conscious organisation, we're actively working to integrate circularity into our services, network, and operations to reduce waste across our value chain by 2030. We extend this goal to our customers through our products and services.

Since setting our first carbon reduction target in 2022, we've achieved:

Emission ScopeTransition YearsNet Zero Year (2030)
(Direct Emissions)
22% reduction90% reduction
Scope 2
(Purchased Electricity and Heat)
Transition to 100% renewablesStrive for 100% reliance on renewables
Scope 3
(Indirect Emissions)
24.96% reductionContinue reduction, targeting an additional 26.89% decrease

We share a common goal with organisations like yours to drive sustainability and make a positive impact. Together, we:

  • Deliver better value by leveraging each other's strengths.
  • Adapt and evolve with a resilient approach to changing environments.
  • Provide local support with a national reach across the UK.
  • Transform businesses by supporting customers in the digital age.

Your next steps towards Increased Sustainability:

No matter where you are on your network journey, our solution can boost the sustainability of your infrastructure. Contact us to learn more about our offerings.