As sustainability moves from a non-essential application for organisations, towards a necessity, so must a business’s attitude towards it. The use of cloud technology enables businesses to make this transition and global organisations already using this technology, are experiencing the benefits.

The augmentation of the cloud in recent years couldn’t have been timed any better given the current state of the world, and as a result, companies worldwide now require a solution which addresses every level of their businesses. With environmental experts in agreement that governments, individuals, and everyone in between, should take more action in response to their impact on the environment, the call for a more sustainable approach has never been clearer.

The cloud has not only ensured an increase in flexibility, accessibility and security to its users, but it has also provided significant sustainable value. The cloud reduces carbon emissions, energy waste, and costs, altogether redirecting businesses to move towards a greener future. Cloud computing can therefore act as a pioneer in achieving net-zero carbon emissions.

The evolution of traditional data centres

During the early stages of cloud computing, it was thought that increasing the number of traditional data centres used to power the cloud would elevate their negative environmental impact. Unquestionably, these data centres required large amounts of electricity to operate, which alternately drained power supplies and also demanded high maintenance. In fact, data centres have been responsible for 2% of carbon emissions: almost equivalent to the entirety of the global airline industry.

These concerns, however, were quickly pushed aside because newly constructed data centres – used primarily to power cloud technology – were built by using sustainable and renewable energy sources.

Using fossil fuels has become a thing of the past for cloud users as now, they are more ecologically responsible. Businesses are increasingly migrating to cloud technology which has provided a unique opportunity to allow companies worldwide to become more environmentally conscious.

Naturally, less money is required for maintenance as cloud users share the same data centres, meaning businesses are not required to individually self-power their own centres. As resources are shared, and cloud vendors work on behalf of various businesses, cloud computing reduces the total number of data centres needed, thereby lowering the overall waste production.

Previously, corporations needed to plan their capacity in advance and purchase appropriate hardware in order to scale up their business. However, the cloud has granted organisations the opportunity to increase their capacity at any time, without the need for significant changes to the internal infrastructures, allowing for a seamless scaling experience.

Renewable energy for a greener future

Not only does utilising the cloud help to drive sustainability within businesses, but it is also a part of a wider sustainable movement. Renewable energy sources do not emit carbon waste, require no water for cooling and therefore have a minimal negative impact on the environment. Cloud vendors are realising this, and are now acting in response to the current sustainable challenges by further increasing their renewable energy usage of wind energy, solar energy and more.

These energies are the most cost-effective power sources, pricing better than their fossil-fueled competitors. According to the UK Government, renewable energy costs have reduced dramatically which can be attributed to the increase in competitive supply chains, technological advancements in the industry, and the economies of scale. The price is set to continue reducing as wind and solar energy are expected to cost the price of gas by 2025. Accordingly, cloud computing operates in a financially sustainable fashion as it is fuelled by renewable energy sources.

For the world to achieve a sustainable, greener future renewable energy is the necessary resource that businesses worldwide need. Cloud vendors, having made commitments to achieve net-zero across operations through the increase of renewable energy sources, acknowledge this. This has resulted in the IDC estimating that cloud computing could in fact eradicate up to 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2024. Businesses that operate using cloud technology are not only helping to improve short-term sustainability but are also committing to long-term sustainable approaches.

Sustainability leveraged by the cloud

The pandemic has transformed the way in which organisations work, enabling cloud technology to assist the adopted hybrid working environment. This altered way of working means fewer employees are now driving to work, which reduces global waste. As a result, the cloud has increased efficiency, scalability, mobility, and control, within the technology sector, all whilst being cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

The cloud removes the negative externalities associated with traditional data centres and introduces a range of internal benefits to global businesses through renewable sources. It, therefore, solves the environmental challenges faced today and consequently steers businesses in the right direction as their sustainable ventures continue.


Robert Belgrave, Chief Executive Officer at Pax8 UK

Robert is the CEO at Pax8 UK. Formerly the Co-Founder and CEO of cloud consultancy Wirehive, which was acquired by Pax8 in January 2021. Robert started his career in technology as a solution architect, cutting his teeth on the high-profile site launches of, Virgin Galactic, and the BRIT Awards’ first online voting system. 

Robert has become a leading figure in the UK digital industry and has served on the British Interactive Media Association’s (BIMA) Central Council for the last four years and currently heads up the Blockchain Think Tank. Alongside this, he co-hosts the Alexa Stop! podcast which explores how technology is changing our lives and is a co-founder of Ecologi, an organisation with the ambitious goal to offset a carbon footprint the size of a G7.