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Digital Sustainability

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What is Digital Sustainability and Why It Matters

Green Software

As Organizations move towards the next evolution of smart and data driven digital technology, there is an increasing demand on understanding the complete lifecycle of the products/applications with respect to what impact they have on the environment and society.

Let’s take a very simple example of developing a digital application, like a file sharing application. 

Each time the file sharing application code is executed, it would have a carbon impact.  The underlying storage and the infrastructure  used would also add to the carbon impact. How big is the file size and the way it is transferred across geography and delivered across various hops and networks , also contribute to the aggregate. The way the information is rendered over various devices, the hardware specification of the devices and also UX/design also adds to the carbon aggregate.

I have described about carbon emissions, but there can be various other environmental use cases like deforestation , good quality water and so on. Sustainability development is not only limited to the environment, but broader in scope and extended to various social and governance aspects.

The use case I described is very simple, but you can extrapolate it to pretty much all processes, products and services across industries.

All these aspects require us to revisit our processes, products or services and  look at a holistic approach to design , deliver and govern Digital sustainable solutions.

For instance, for a developer, it would mean writing optimised code, from an infrastructure perspective, it could mean infra modernization, using a green cloud or using cloud services effectively like using a serverless architecture, from social perspective it would mean creating responsible and ethical AI systems to designing products that increase sustainability awareness, as simple as reducing the file size during transfer or streaming video in standard definition instead of high definition and finally governing the end to end lifecycle, be it for transparent reporting for informed decisions or creating a responsible value ecosystem.

To conclude , I hope this blog gives you the some awareness and perspective on this important topic on digital sustainability. We all have a role to play here to think wisely, design and build the future we want.

Checkout this companion video which talks about these concepts.

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