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Building a Greener, Sustainable Future in Tech

The importance of sustainability in the tech industry cannot be overstated. With data centers consuming vast amounts of energy and contributing significantly to CO2 emissions, it is important for companies to adopt strategies that mitigate their environmental impact. The software industry, in particular, has a unique role to play in driving these changes by optimizing technologies.

We sat down with Danny van der Kraan, a cloud-native Software Engineer/Green Software Practitioner at Xebia, to discuss sustainability within the tech industry, potential solutions, and Xebia’s green propositions.


How Can Companies Contribute to Reducing CO2 Emissions?

“Businesses can adopt green software engineering practices by becoming more carbon efficient. The easiest way for companies is to become more carbon-aware and start shifting workloads from data centers in countries with a lot of fossil-fueled energy sources to data centers in countries with a lot of renewable energy sources. Another thing companies can do is become more hardware efficient by stopping the underutilization of resources. And lastly, companies can become more energy efficient, by for instance writing more efficient code that requires less computational resources. But that is not where the journey for reducing the carbon footprint begins.

Existing initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions include the implementation of carbon offset programs, where companies invest in environmental projects to balance out their carbon footprint. But this is not enough to reduce carbon footprints and therefore relying on offsets isn’t advised.” 


What are possible solutions that companies can use?

Sustainable software engineering focuses on minimizing the environmental impact of software applications. This involves several dimensions, such as improving the efficiency of algorithms, optimizing data storage and retrieval processes, and designing applications that consume less energy. However, the simplest way to start is often to shut down machines that are no longer needed or remove data that is no longer required. Reducing consumption, in general, helps to lower the overall energy consumption of data centers. This is the case with all sustainable efforts, green software is no different.

The next immediate dragon to slay will be the tsunami of LLMs. The prognosis of software contributing 14% to global greenhouse gas emissions was before ChatGPT and other popular LLMs arrived. This percentage will grow exponentially if left unchecked. Now, don’t get me wrong, I want everyone to use more ChatGPT, more Copilots, and more OpenAI services, but I also want my kids to enjoy our planet. And therefore, sustainable AI, next to responsible AI, will be a hot topic in the coming period. Heck, if it was up to me, sustainability would be an important pillar of responsible AI.”



What are Xebia’s Green Propositions?

“At Xebia, we are committed to raising awareness about the importance of sustainability in the tech industry. We organize workshops, seminars, and training sessions to educate our employees and clients about sustainable practices. By sharing knowledge and best practices, we aim to empower others to make environmentally conscious decisions in their daily work.

Our propositions and services include offering consultancy on carbon-efficient practices, helping clients to design and implement carbon-efficient systems, and promoting the use of green technologies. We provide guidance supporting sustainable practices, such as monitoring the carbon footprint of software applications and optimizing their performance to reduce energy consumption.

We assist our customers in becoming more sustainable by conducting audits of their current systems, identifying areas for improvement, and implementing solutions that reduce their environmental impact. By adopting these practices, our clients can not only contribute to a healthier planet but also achieve cost savings through increased efficiency and reduced energy usage.”


As shown throughout the interview,  Danny van der Kraan is passionate about sustainability in the tech industry. He believes that everyone should contribute to this collective effort by taking small actions in their daily lives and by spreading sustainability awareness. If you'd like to learn more about Xebia's sustainable proposition, contact us for more information.

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