Understanding the true sustainability impact of transforming ICT hosting infrastructures: The roadmap to Net Zero

July 15, 2021
United Kingdom

An exclusive webinar from Vysiion

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Digitising public services, and collecting data through IoT and smart technology, is often presented as the key to decarbonising the public and regulated sectors. But even as organisations cut overall carbon by re-thinking service provision and utilising agile working and smart software, the carbon balance sheet is likely to show increased emissions associated with digitisation itself.

Manufacturing sensors and devices, and the lithium ion batteries that power them, is increasingly registering as a concern. But as countries and individual organisations adopt ambitious Net Zero targets on their operational emissions, the real alarm bells are sounding over the energy consumed by organisations’ own hosting infrastructure or leased data centre provision.

Since 2018, UK government departments and agencies have been challenged to assess the carbon impact of third-party data hosting – part of their Scope 3 emissions – in an agenda made more pressing by the Greening Government: ICT and digital services strategy 2020 to 2025. The first annual update report on progress across government has just been published by DEFRA, the lead department on shrinking the UK government’s ICT footprint.

The data centre sector itself is addressing the challenge, often by siting facilities close to low carbon electricity generators to directly access ‘green’ electricity. Clients can also refer to data centres’ Power Usage Efficiency [PUE] scores, the ratio of energy used by IT equipment compared to overall consumption from mechanical cooling and lighting. While a score of 1 is the goal, research from the EU’s influential EURECA project in 2018 found an average PUE of 4.

In this webinar, the lead author of the DEFRA strategy joined representatives of data centre provider Crown Hosting, leading IT consultant and contractor Vysiion and NHS Digital to discuss the challenge facing public sector ICT decision-makers and exemplars of best practice on issues such as server utilisation. As departments weigh up the carbon impact of their digitisation strategies versus the cost of inaction and potential for improved outcomes, join us for a timely debate.


Webinar chair: Elaine Knutt, Journalist and Editor

Elaine Knutt is a freelance journalist and editor, specialising in navigating the ins and outs of government policy and regulation, the energy sector and issues related to the built environment. Previously she has edited the magazines and websites of Health and Safety at Work (LexisNexis), Network (Faversham House), and Construction Manager (CIOB). She has written extensively on sustainability and environmental issues, also has an interest in information and digital technology, having been launch editor for the website bimplus.co.uk, on IT in the construction sector. Her work has appeared in national titles, including The Guardian and The Independent, and numerous specialist magazines, and she has won awards for writing about the construction industry, the property sector and social housing. She holds a BA in Russian and German.

Jason Liggins, Advisory Consultant – Technology, Crown Hosting Framework Authority, Crown Commercial Service (CCS), United Kingdom

Jason Liggins is a consultant to the customers of Crown Commercial Service (CCS) Crown Hosting framework agreement providing advice on what to buy from CCS’s technical frameworks. As part of the free of charge CCS advisory service Jason’s specialisms are in the IT and IT services, networks and security infrastructure that live in server rooms and data centres. Jason is able to help customers significantly reduce their electricity consumption to avoid emitting carbon and other greenhouse gases, then to go green on the remainder; resulting in carbon net zero in 2021.

Caroline Andrewes, Defence Account Director, Vysiion

Caroline started her career with Securicor Information Systems in 2001 as a software development graduate, working on software solutions for public sector Blue Light customers. She progressed into ITIL Service and Business Relationship Management, being selected for the SunGard Vivista High Potential Team in 2005. More recently, Caroline was the Central Government Sales Manager for Capita IT Enterprise Services and was Sales Person of the Year in 2013 for Capita Secure Managed Services before joining Vysiion in 2015. For the last 6 years Caroline has focused extensively on growing Vysiion’s public sector vertical with particular emphasis on central government and Defence and continues to be passionate about delivering effective and efficient services to the UK public sector. Caroline is a charity trustee for Melksham Almshouses and was an elected Town Councillor. In her spare time, she enjoys being ‘Mum’, walking, reading and watching a lot of Netflix, and nature photography.

Adam Turner, Head of Sustainable Digital and ICT, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), United Kingdom

Adam is Head of Sustainable Digital and ICT for the UK Government and Public Sector at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Adam is also the author of the Greening Government: ICT and Digital Services Strategy 2020-2025 and chair of the Sustainable Technology Advice and Reporting (STAR) team that authors and delivers strategy, policy and reporting for all government digital operations.

Ben Tongue, Sustainability Lead, NHS Digital, United Kingdom

Ben is a chartered environmentalist and lead subject matter expert working at the interface of digital, health and sustainability. Placing equal focus on the mitigation and resilience agendas he is spearheading work to create tooling and design criteria for the design and delivery to enable low impact climate resilient digital health services.