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Calculating the Carbon Impact of Your Cloud Usage

Currently, businesses of different scales depend on the Internet and technological tools to be able to deliver their products and services to customers and partners. This is increasingly intrinsic to the market, as globalization and the Covid-19 pandemic have further accelerated this digitization process. As a result, the adoption of the Cloud as a solution for organizing data and processes has increased dramatically.

Given this scenario, projections for the IT sector in the year 2025 are: 20% of all electricity produced globally will be directed to Data Centers. Consequently, this consumption will represent up to 5% of global carbon emissions. Check out some numbers of this consumption in the Our World in Data interactive graph, on Internet usage from 1990 to 2019.

Our World in Data interactive graph

Now, the good news: In many companies, corporate sustainability is already a reality. All the major cloud providers such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Google, all partners of GFT, have announced their strategies to zero their CO2 emissions from data centers by 2050 or sooner.

These corporations are also publishing sustainable guidelines with cloud solutions to increase the sustainability of their actions. And to assist in the process, they provide calculators and reports that display energy consumption and CO2 emission data, based on contracted resources. With this, it is possible, in addition to verifying the current figures, to indicate whether the implemented actions are generating results in the reduction of energy consumption.

Below are some of these guidelines:

Microsoft » Emissions Impact Dashboard

Dashboard Microsoft

Microsoft provides a PowerBI report that can connect with customer subscriptions and present numbers regarding CO2 emissions by period, location of their Data Centers, by types of resources… and it also brings recommendations to increase energy efficiency with migration to a cloud.

Microsoft » Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability

Dashboard Microsoft Cloud

The company recently released the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability in Preview model — it is an extensible SaaS solution that will record, report, and reduce environmental impact through automated data connections and actionable insights for the organization. And the big difference is suggestions for trouble spots and goal setting, with comparisons and suggestions based on regulatory and industry recommendations.

Amazon » Customer Carbon Footprint Tool

Dashboard Amazon

Amazon’s tool uses data visualizations to provide historical carbon emissions, emissions trends, and comparative economics records with an on-premises data center. In addition to offering the ability to track your progress after implementations of architectural restructuring, a shutdown of resources, and migration to the cloud.

Google » Carbon Footprint

Dashboard Google

The focus of Google’s report is to report on the environmental impact of using the cloud, both internally and externally. Cloud emissions can be monitored over time by project, by product, and by region, empowering IT teams with metrics that help them reduce their carbon footprint. A very peculiar advantage is the possibility of exporting data to BigQuery and with that, you can make predictive models and customized reports.

We know that quantifying the role of cloud computing is notoriously difficult, so GFT has created a Green Coding initiative, to drive the adoption of sustainability as part of the solution development process. We should offer more efficient methods, to generate greater impacts in the reduction of CO2 emissions. You can find more information in the GFT program document.

Let’s help ensure a future for our planet together!




GFT is driving the digital transformation of the world’s leading companies. On here, our tech communities from all around the globe share their tips, tricks & insights with other developers.

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Marcelo Goberto Azevedo

Marcelo Goberto Azevedo

Cloud Engineering Lead at GFT. More than 30 years coding, analyzing, and enjoying every moment

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