‘Green Code’ initiative to reduce carbon footprint of software

carbon footprint

Cloud-based software company, Salesforce, have launched ‘Green Code,’ a new initiative to help reduce carbon emissions associated with the software development lifecycle.

Green Code features newly-released sustainability best practices that could help technologists — from UX designers and software developers to system architects and IT operations managers — accelerate the world’s journey to net zero. 

The information and communication technology sector is responsible for up to 3.9 per cent of global emissions — almost as much as the airline and shipping industries. These emissions are expected to rise as organisations increasingly rely on software to drive their operations and accelerate their digital transformation.

Fortunately, according to Salesforce, small changes can translate into big impacts for a company’s carbon footprint — and its bottom line. For example, Salesforce’s MuleSoft reduced its yearly public cloud infrastructure spending by 14 per c ent by optimising strategies such as identifying and decommissioning underutilised systems and migrating storage to more energy-efficient alternatives.

“Sustainable engineering is good engineering and technologists can play a critical role in the reduction of global carbon emissions,” said Srinivas Tallapragada, president and chief engineering officer at Salesforce. “With Green Code, we are hoping to inspire software teams and the entire IT sector to prioritise sustainability, just as they do performance, security, and accessibility.”

“We are in a climate emergency, and we need everyone to get to net zero as fast as possible,” said Suzanne DiBianca, EVP and chief impact officer at Salesforce. “By leveraging these ‘green code’ best practices, technologists and organisations can approach the challenge of sustainability in IT to drive meaningful efficiencies and cost savings across their IT enterprises while accelerating their sustainability journeys.”

According to new Salesforce research, 75 per cent of technologists want to develop software applications that do less harm to the environment, but nearly half do not know how.

Sustainability efforts to date have been largely focused on hardware efficiency and electric grid decarbonization. Optimising the code that comprises these applications is a powerful leverage point that remains largely untapped.

The Sustainability Guide for Salesforce Technology offers practical recommendations for designing apps and writing code that have less of an impact on the environment. It focuses on four key areas; design and UX; architecture; development; and operations.

“At L’Oréal, we’ve embedded sustainability throughout our business and products, and technology has always played a key role to help us achieve those goals,” said Ariane Thomas, global tech director of sustainability at L’Oréal Group. “I am thrilled that Salesforce is launching best practices for technologists to reduce the environmental footprint associated with software development. Every company can benefit by implementing these changes and accelerate their sustainable achievements.”

Salesforce has made efforts to support sustainable IT practices. Most of the company’s carbon footprint comes from data centre infrastructure, and reducing these emissions is a key pillar of its Climate Action Plan.

To track progress, Salesforce created a metric called Carbon to Serve, which measures the emissions of its data centres relative to work performed by its applications. Since establishing the metric in 2020, Salesforce said that it has achieved a 26 per cent reduction and aims to continue reducing emissions in the future.

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