In the current business climate, it has become increasingly apparent that the 'Environmental' aspect in ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) is no longer just nice to have but a pressing requirement for society at large. As stewards of cutting-edge technology, the IT sector holds the potential to drastically reduce carbon footprints and environmental impact. And it is not just about data center optimization – it is also about streamlining software to run efficiently, saving unnecessary CPU (or memory) cycles or data transfers, and consequently reducing kWh consumption and (probably) CO2 emissions. With consumers and investors alike increasingly favoring eco-friendly business practices and sustainable products, there is a tangible brand loyalty and fiscal benefit to be gained: Companies that run green (i.e., energy-efficient) software not only reduce their environmental impact, but also drive their growth by capitalizing on this shift.

Several pioneering Green IT initiatives have indeed sprung to action to address this growing concern, such as the Green Software Foundation. The Consortium for Information & Software Quality (CISQ), for instance, is championing the call for green measures in source code. In France, the 'Réduire l'Empreinte Environnementale du Numérique' (Digital Environmental Footprint Reduction) legislation includes promoting awareness of the environmental impact of digital technology (including a mandatory module on the eco-design of digital services and digital sobriety in engineering courses) and defining a general reference framework for the eco-design of digital services with sustainable design criteria to reduce their environmental footprint. Noteworthy too is the Green Code Initiative, aiming to reduce the environmental footprint of software directly at the code level.

Software development can indeed align with these green objectives. When visualizing the IT service as flowing through a pipeline, we want to avoid leaks (inefficiencies in delivery of the service) and ruptures (disruptions in the service). By trimming ‘pipe leaks’, primarily by minimizing CPU cycles needed for processing and reducing file sizes, say, for webpages or HTTP request responses, and making use of aligned hardware, the software runs more efficient, thereby saving energy, reducing carbon footprints, and making it justifiably 'greener'. Moreover, ensuring stability and security can prevent ‘pipe ruptures’ like outages, data corruption, and the time-consuming recovery from system failures caused by poor coding practices. Disruptions not only result in frustrated users, but also in wasted resources in recovery efforts.

Certainly, the new approaches have their limitations, with no direct means to accurately predict gains in kWh usage or CO2 equivalents. However, the underlying principles are not new. The importance of choosing an energy-efficient platform for new applications and assessing software assets towards performance efficiency, stability and security and taking possible action cannot be overstated. Given the billions of devices running software globally, every minor improvement can make a significant difference. At KPMG we started to fully rebuild our websites on a new global platform that strongly contributes to those objectives, both on the front-end, like less complex pages as well as on the back-end, like green hosting

At KPMG, we are aware of the challenge and our Technology Advisory department is perfectly equipped to assist you. Our Technology Advisory department provides in-depth inspections into the technical quality of bespoke software solutions through architecture and source code reviews. Our specialized teams implement control measures within client development organizations to continuously produce high-quality software. For more information about KPMG's Technology Advisory services, including source code reviews for Green IT, we encourage you to reach out to Dennis Stam and Kevin Bankersen.

Let's make the digital world greener, one software piece at a time, together – for better.

Contact us

Dennis Stam
Director, Digital Enablement
KPMG Nederland


Kevin Bankersen
Senior manager, Digital Enablement
KPMG Nederland

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