Climate for Change – How Technology Firms can Commit to Sustainability

At Keeper Solutions, one of our core objectives is to lessen our impact on the environment. As an international software outsourcing firm this isn’t always easy. We must acknowledge that we are a net contributor of carbon emissions and need to do more to reduce our impact. This is part and parcel of being a globally-facing remote partner to some of the world’s most innovative technology firms. However, we have made a commitment to sustainability and carbon neutrality. We are on a journey and our target is to become a net-zero emissions energy business by the end of 2023. This goal has shaped the way we operate.. Along with accountability, honesty and respect, sustainability is one of our core company values. It’s something that we put at the forefront of our business. 

Our commitment to sustainability starts operationally. As a software development outsourcing partner, Keeper Solutions has delivery centres across Europe and Costa Rica from which we support our European, Asian and North American customers. Our global reach has meant that international travel is often required. However, in the past 24 months we have been surveying our working patterns and have adapted  to a more sustainable approach that can be continued well beyond COVID restrictions. 

As many of our team now work from home, we have been systematically reducing office space, scaling back on air conditioning usage and making a commitment to reduce international travel. But these are all internal, operational aspects. When a technology company makes a commitment to sustainability it’s important to also consider the external environment.

Considering the External Impact of Technology

As a technology company, we continually reflect upon the impact that providing a service or solution has on the environment. Below are a few points you may not have considered.

Bitcoin consumes ‘more electricity than Argentina – The energy used to harvest Bitcoin has soared to a point where its annual carbon footprint is equivalent to, or more than, the annual energy usage of entire countries including Argentina and Norway. This is according to an analysis published by Cambridge University. “Cambridge researchers say Bitcoin consumes around 121.36 terawatt-hours (TWh) a year – and is unlikely to fall unless the value of the currency slumps.”

10% of the world’s energy is used to power the internet – According to a recent report from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden approximately “10% of the world’s total electricity consumption is currently used by the Internet. The figure has risen from 8% in 2012 and may reach 20% by 2025.” 

Data centres consume approximately 1% of the world’s energy annually – “Globally, data centres accounted for approximately 1% (or 205 TWh) of global electricity use in 2018 (Masanet et al., 2020; Pearce, Fred, 2018) and emit as much CO2 as the commercial airline industry (Data Economy, 2017).”

The Digital Carbon Footprint – A study by the Boston Consulting Group found that the internet is responsible for around 1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year. That’s about 2% of total emissions. 

 

Our Journey Towards Providing a Clean Service Offering 

Stephen Walsh is Founder and CEO of Keeper Solutions. He is acutely aware of the above facts and statistics, and the impact that technology has on the environment. We asked him to share his thoughts and tell us more about Keeper’s journey towards sustainability.

Where does the energy that supports technology come from? This is something we often consider. Of course we are in favour of using clean energy sources. However, oftentimes when you look at these ‘green energy sources’, you don’t see the full picture. You don’t see the effect they have on biodiversity and their net carbon impact.

For example, let’s consider wind turbines. In the UK, wind power now accounts for nearly 30% of all electricity production. There is no doubt wind farms can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by replacing the fossil fuels that have traditionally been used to generate electricity. However, these wind turbines are often placed on peatlands and the value of peatlands cannot be understated. 

Peatlands cover a mere 3% of the Earth’s land, yet store approximately 30% of the Earth’s soil carbon. The ability to store large amounts of carbon dioxide makes peatlands a huge asset in the fight against climate change. When peatlands are dug up to install wind farms, the carbon is released into the atmosphere, which instead contributes to climate change. It’s completely contradictory to destroy a major carbon capture to facilitate clean energy use. It doesn’t make any sense. So, the challenge for technology companies is to be able to reduce carbon emissions without destroying biodiversity at scale.

Finding A Cleaner Supply Chain 

“In our commitment to sustainability, we are currently auditing our supply chain. We are looking closely at where our data is stored in the cloud, where the data suppliers are located and where their own energy comes from. This is all part of our objective of achieving carbon neutrality by 2023. This is something that all technology companies can do to make a real impact on a macro level. Our preferred supplier would be one that is carbon zero, conscious of its emission levels and isn’t taking up a massive land surface area.

Keeper Solutions is currently undertaking an investment round. Part of the investment is to build a sustainability function into our business model. This is not just because it’s something we want to do as a company. We believe that our clients are looking for a cleaner supply chain and our developers are increasingly concerned about these matters. We want to evolve our business model so sustainability is baked-in at different levels.”  

Keeper Solutions and the Cleantech Industry 

Our commitment to sustainability and our journey towards a greener, more sustainable supply chain, naturally flows into an emerging sector we are incredibly passionate about. Cleantech is a rapidly evolving industry that Keeper Solutions is proud to support. Amid the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, the global market for clean energy technologies was estimated at $283.9 billion. This is projected to reach a revised size of $452 billion by 2027. Keeper has a strong US focus in this sector, supporting a number of funded start-ups and fast-scaling technology firms. 

Among the companies we support are: Pinergy, a renewable electricity supplier, helping homes and businesses to reduce energy costs and become more energy-efficient; Climote, a disruptive remote heating and smart immersion technology that changes the way that a property’s heating is controlled, managed and monitored; Anuland, an innovative agricultural technology company that combines IoT farming hardware with cutting-edge AI to improve farm sustainability in environmental, financial and social terms. 

The cleantech industry is well suited to Keeper’s innovation and problem-solving capabilities. We are excited to work with more world-changing innovators in this area. Through partnering with like-minded companies and reducing our net-carbon impact, Keeper Solutions is striving to become a more conscientious and sustainable technology company.


More Keeper News – Keeper Solutions Announces New Delivery Centre in Costa Rica to Support International Expansion