On April 22, Earth Day was celebrated worldwide, the theme for this year’s Earth Day is “Restore Our Earth” which focuses on natural processes and emerging green technologies that can restore the world’s ecosystems. In this way, the theme rejects the notion that mitigation or adaptation are the only ways to address climate change.
Countries all around the world, are laying down plans and setting various targets to help make the world a more sustainable place. Some of these plans and target are ambitious but thanks to the advent of progressive new technological developments, they now have the potential to become reality.
While the pandemic has underlined the importance of a more sustainable future, the technology industry must increasingly prioritize thinking about how we can reduce carbon emissions, improve sustainability and embrace greener practices by default. To have a better and more sustainable future, we must act now and fast!
In an interview with Dataquest, Ravindra Kelkar, Area Vice President, Indian Subcontinent, Citrix, tells how Citrix virtualisation and networking products enable organizations to completely overhaul their sustainability processes and contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. This is specifically through their commitment to supporting low energy device choices, unrestricted flexible working, renewable energy solutions, reductions in data center GHG emissions, as well as the extension of device lifespans. Excerpts:
DQ: Why a more sustainable future is the need of the hour?
Ravindra Kelkar: The effects of rapid climate change taking place globally have become increasingly evident. There are more than enough examples to raise concern, from the loss in Antarctic ice mass tripling in the last decade to the planet’s average surface temperature on its way to reaching unprecedented levels.
Adopting sustainable practices is no longer an option, it is the need of the hour. Businesses must realize that even the smallest of actions or initiatives that may otherwise seem harmless, can have a negative impact on the environment.
The last year has certainly seen some improvement in sustainable practices, thanks to the adopting of remote working models and eliminating the daily carbon-heavy commute. However, our overall business footprint has not yet been eliminated. It has simply been divided and dispersed from an organisational level, down to us as individuals in our homes.
While many factors contribute to this, something as simple as the steep rise in the use of internet can raise carbon footprint levels beyond what is sustainable. If this continues in 2021, the increased internet usage alone would require extensive green initiatives to sequester the emitted carbon. Which is why building a more sustainable future is a big focus for Citrix and we believe that the time to act is now.
DQ: How technology and business leaders can contribute towards sustainability within organizations?
Ravindra Kelkar: The technology sector in India accommodates a huge workforce and adopting a sustainable approach here will thus help shape a large part of the society. Although quite a few organizations are shifting attention towards a greener approach, there is still a need for more companies to put sustainability at the core of their business strategies. Leaders can introduce numerous smaller daily initiatives and also certain bigger steps to facilitate a larger impact.
This could include transitioning from traditional, on-premises set ups to hyperscale, hosted cloud environments which will not only help eliminate redundant traditional processes but also help increase employee productivity and run businesses in a more efficient way.
Another step organizations can take is to do away with old end-user devices like laptops that use a significantly higher amount of computing power than required to perform daily tasks. With Citrix Workspaces, we try to drive down corporate office space needs and enable a shift to more energy efficient devices. Citrix Workspace also does not require applications and data to reside on endpoint devices.
This helps decrease the organization’s energy demand since it allows customers to transition away from more energy-intensive desktops with large screen displays and high-performance processors towards more energy-efficient laptops. In addition to these, adopting flexible/remote working will significantly contribute towards helping restore the damage done to the environment.
DQ: What embracing a more flexible work culture means for sustainability in the long run?
Ravindra Kelkar: A flexible work culture might not solve environmental concerns entirely, but it is a step in the right direction. Given that the world population is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050 and nearly three quarters of the greenhouse gas emissions come from transport, adopting a flexible work culture will become critical in the fight for a more sustainable future.
Remote working due to the pandemic already set the wheels in motion – last year, India’s CO2 emissions fell for the first time in four decades amidst the lockdown. Now, there is an increased need for organizations to adopt this for the long term.
Adopting a flexible or a remote working model will require less people to commute every day, thereby reducing the overall emissions. In addition to bringing down the carbon footprint, this will also minimize paper, power, and plastic usage. From an infrastructure and community standpoint, flexible/remote working would also mean that cities and towns can be planned around people and communities rather than creating infrastructure that enables faster commutes for businesses.
With the workforce distributed geographically, there will be newer areas with newer economic opportunities for people in remote locations and this will not only minimize the energy pressure on big cities but will also facilitate repurposing of extra spaces.
DQ: How Citrix is leading the sustainability revolution?
Ravindra Kelkar: Citrix has been in the forefront of creating comprehensive yet sustainable solutions for three decades now. Right from the beginning, Citrix has created technology that allows you to get work done from anywhere, on any device.
Citrix networking and virtualization products enable organisations to completely overhaul their sustainability processes, reduces transportation emissions from commuting, and enables a shift to more energy-efficient devices. For example, with Citrix Workspace there is no need for applications and data to reside on endpoint devices. This can in turn decrease an organisation’s energy demand significantly and reduce waste.
We have also formulated a target to reduce our absolute Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 30% by 2030, and ensure we are doing our part to keep global warming well below 2°C. Reducing GHGs from transportation also contributes to reduction in chronic health issues, better air quality, a reduced dependency on fossil fuels, a healthier natural environment, and more liveable cities for the future.
We have been given a fascinating opportunity to use what we have learned from the pandemic to change our habits for the better. And with 100 million Citrix users in more than 100 countries, we have realized that our greatest impact will be to harness the tools that facilitate remote working to support a sustainable future and improve people’s lives.