Co-innovation Environmental, Social, and Governance White Paper

Digital Transformation and a Net Zero Emissions Europe

The role of cloud computing and data centres in achieving power sector emissions reductions in Europe

The following is an excerpt from an Aurora Energy Research white paper, sponsored by VMware and published in March, 2021.

In 2020, life seemed to change overnight. With the world in the grips of the Covid-19 pandemic, everyday tasks—going to work, connecting with family, attending school—were suddenly ushered into a new era. For many organisations, the pandemic has proven to be a watershed moment for the way they do business, accelerating ongoing digital transformations to ensure continuity of their work—and driving greater dependence on the data centre as a result. This “new normal” has led to tremendous decreases in carbon emissions from commuting. But this increasing reliance on digital technologies such as mobile, edge and private/public cloud computing has further accelerated the enormous energy consumption by data centres, and therefore, the urgency to act to decarbonise.

Despite the pandemic, business leaders and policy makers have not lost sight of aggressive sustainability and carbon emissions goals to help mitigate climate change. These twin missions—accelerating digital transformation and reducing carbon emissions—can go hand-in- hand. Technologies like data centre virtualisation and an embrace of a hybrid cloud model can help organisations track, manage, and reduce their carbon emissions as their digital transformation proceeds.

At VMware, our goal is to empower our customers with the resources and tools they need to ultimately reduce environmental impact across our vast partner ecosystem.

Sustainability has long been a core value for VMware, which powers the world’s complex digital infrastructure. The company has set standards for itself internally, having achieved 100% renewable energy and carbon neutrality goals ahead of schedule. Beyond these ambitious goals for its own business practices, VMware also aims to incorporate sustainability features into its products, to offer solutions that help customers positively impact the environment and society, as well as provide customers and partners with data that enable informed choices around cleaner technology. Since 2003, our product portfolio has helped our customers avoid over 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2.

The total emissions avoided through VMware virtualisation in 2019 are equivalent to removing nearly 33 million cars from the road and the avoidance of over 378 billion miles driven using averages for U.S. vehicles. With the total power consumption avoided in 2019 by using VMware’s virtualisation, a 2019 Tesla Model S Long Range electric car could be driven back and forth to Mars more than 4,000 times. With the cumulative power consumption avoided since 2003, this electric car could be driven back and forth to Mars more than 28,000 times1.

This report demonstrates how VMware’s transformative software can enable partners to reduce their carbon emissions and intends to make recommendations to policy makers on how they can incentivise sustainable digital transformations as they work towards climate change and green policy goals.

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