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ESG and cloud services consumption: how to adopt conscious practices to reduce carbon footprint

Dear readers,

The consumption of cloud services is one of the main technological trends of recent years. The use of cloud services has allowed companies of all sizes to scale their operations and increase agility. However, with the growing environmental awareness, the question arises of how cloud service consumption can impact ESG initiatives.

ESG refers to business practices related to the environment, social responsibility, and governance. In the current era, where environmental issues are a growing concern for society at large, it is important for companies to evaluate how their cloud service consumption practices affect these issues.

The consumption of cloud services has significant environmental impacts. This has led to an increase in energy consumption and, consequently, greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the equipment used to store and process data in the cloud generates waste that needs to be disposed of.

According to the Gartner report of 2021, global spending on public cloud services is expected to reach $332.3 billion in 2021, an increase of 23.1% compared to 2020. The IDC report of 2021 estimates that global spending on public cloud services is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 22.3% between 2020 and 2025. Based on reports from Gartner and IDC, we can observe that cloud service consumption has been increasing rapidly in recent years, leading to a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions associated with this sector.

However, the increase in cloud service consumption has also driven the adoption of more sustainable practices. According to the IDC report of 2021, it is expected that the use of renewable energy by cloud service providers will increase from 27% in 2020 to 41% in 2025.

Several cloud service providers are advancing their ESG agendas and implementing more sustainable practices in their operations. Here are some examples:

  • Microsoft: Microsoft has committed to becoming carbon negative by 2030, reducing its carbon emissions by 75% and removing the rest through carbon offset projects. The company has also worked to increase the share of renewable energy in its operations, with the goal of reaching 100% renewable energy by 2025.

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS): AWS has invested in renewable energy projects and implemented more efficient solutions to reduce its carbon footprint. The company has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2040 and plans to acquire 100% renewable energy by 2030.

  • Google Cloud: Google Cloud has committed to using renewable energy in all of its operations and has worked to reduce energy consumption in its data centers. The company has also committed to being carbon negative by 2030 and eliminating its carbon emissions by 2040.

These are just a few examples of providers that are leading the ESG agenda.

Despite these positive trends, there is still much to be done to reduce the environmental impact of cloud service consumption. According to the Gartner report of 2020, it is estimated that cloud service consumption is responsible for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to about 1.6 gigatons of CO2 per year.

To contribute to this agenda, companies consuming cloud services can look for providers that are committed to ESG practices. When choosing a provider, companies should evaluate the environmental impact of their data centers, their waste management practices, and their social responsibility policy.

Another important measure is the adoption of conscious consumption practices. Companies should assess their actual demand for cloud services and avoid excessive consumption of unnecessary resources. The adoption of data management policies is also important to ensure that only necessary data is stored.


Gartner (2021). "Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Public Cloud End-User Spending to Grow 23% in 2021."

IDC (2021). "Worldwide Public Cloud Services Spending Forecast to Reach $500 Billion in 2023, According to IDC."

Gartner (2020). "Environmental Impacts of the Cloud Are a Growing Concern."

Microsoft (2022). "Microsoft's commitment to sustainability."

Amazon Web Services (2022). "AWS Sustainability."

Google Cloud (2022). "Sustainability at Google."

Salesforce (2022). "Salesforce and Sustainability."

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