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5 ways to reduce an organization’s digital carbon footprint

March 6, 2024

From optimizing video conferences to minimizing unnecessary data storage, learn practical strategies that can help shrink an organization’s digital carbon footprint

Carolyn Heinze, TechTarget.com, March 1, 2024

Even sustainability-minded people can forget the environmental impact of digital technologies.

But all tech and the processes to power it have a digital computer footprint. That goes for obvious areas, such as computers and servers, as well as less obvious ones, like networking and software engineering.

Here are some practical tips companies can use to lessen the organizational digital carbon footprint.

1. Adopt a solid information governance strategy

As data has grown, so too has indiscriminate information and data retention. That can drive up the digital carbon footprint.

Ian Hodgkinson, a professor of strategy and research, and Tom Jackson, a professor of information and knowledge management, at Loughborough University in Loughborough, U.K. are developing the Data Carbon Ladder. This tool helps organizations determine how large data sets should be for projects and where to store them. They argue that to reduce the digital carbon footprint, companies need to practice sound data retention policies.

For example, organizations tend to hold onto a significant number of spreadsheets year over year. Many of these files are single-use — such as the dinner menu options for the end-of-the-year office party — and remain stored long after they’re needed. Files that could be of considerable use to employees — but are too difficult to find and access — are also an issue.

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