The devastation wrought by Cyclone Gabrielle in February served as a stark reminder to Aotearoa that we will increasingly have to live with the impacts of climate change. 

But warnings from scientists about the parlous state of the planet have come with an important caveat - we can avoid the worst consequences of a warming world, if we make significant progress in cutting greenhouse gas emissions this decade

“Invest in the planet” is the theme for this year’s Earth Day and the call to action needs to be focused on our collective responsibility to accelerate the transition to an “equitable, prosperous, green economy for all”. 

Hundreds of billions of dollars are finally being invested in the green energy transition that is required to significantly shift the needle on mitigating emissions. But the World Economic Forum estimates that digital technologies deployed at scale can enable up to a 20% reduction by 2050, by enabling efficiency in the highest emitting categories: energy, mobility and materials. 

Foundational technologies including big data analytics, artificial intelligence/machine learning and digital twin, as well as enabling tech like 5G, blockchain, and IoT (Internet of Things), can help businesses decarbonize their operations and value chains. 

A major part of our mission at Datacom is to help organisations across Australasia harness these technologies to accelerate their carbon zero journey. Deploying existing digital technologies, the WEF suggests that businesses can achieve up to a 10% emissions reduction immediately. 

One way we are supporting customers to achieve their sustainability goals is by cutting emissions associated with their IT infrastructure. The energy savings of shifting from on-premises infrastructure to cloud platforms are now well understood. We have partnered with Mercury Energy to ensure that all of our data centres are powered by 100% certified renewable energy, and metering electricity usage to each server rack means that energy savings are passed back to individual customers. 

We are also helping our customers leverage those foundational and enabling technologies to reduce their carbon footprint. We’ve worked with Sealord, one of the largest seafood companies in the Southern Hemisphere, to develop a predictive model based on 30 years of fishing data, that allows Sealord to better predict where their quota, minimise bycatch of non-quota fish and reduce fuel use across its fishing trawler fleet. 

In partnership with the Cawthron institute, we developed a data lake, allowing the Nelson-based research organisation to capture data in real-time from IoT sensors monitoring shellfish and finfish hatcheries at its aquaculture park. The ability to store and share large amounts of scientific data has enabled greater collaboration with researchers around the world. 

Across the country we are working with major New Zealand companies, as well as councils, government agencies and ministries to enable remote and hybrid working, cloud-first infrastructure modernisation and automation projects that are resulting in tangible emissions cuts. Our regular hackathons bring people together to brainstorm better ways of applying technology to sustainability problems. 

We are also on our own sustainability journey, with the commitment of being net carbon zero by 2030. In conjunction with Toitū Envirocare we successfully achieved Toitū carbonreduce certification, which has given us a baseline of our emissions profile and has been used to inform our sustainability strategy to reduce emissions. Reducing our travel, our logistics, and the energy efficiency of our offices and facilities, is also yielding emissions reductions.  

Regular independent evaluations by Toitū and reviews of our supply chain will ensure we remain on track to reach our net zero carbon goal. My aim is to get there much earlier. Most importantly, we are using data analytics and visualisation tools to gain greater insights into business. 

By collecting and analysing data on energy consumption, waste production, and other environmental factors, every business can identify opportunities for improvement and make data-driven decisions that prioritise sustainability. 

While technology is not a silver bullet solution to environmental sustainability, it is clear that it has a significant role to play in addressing the urgent environmental challenges that we face. As Earth Day shines a light on the need to invest in emissions reduction efforts, we will continue to work internally and with our customers and suppliers to prioritise the emissions cuts we need to make and work towards a more sustainable future for all. 

Related industries
Public sector Technology Agriculture Energy & utilities Transportation & logistics
Related solutions
Advisory & consulting Data & analytics