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8 Aug 2022

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Google Cloud Sustainability: Building a Greener Cloud as Environmental Concerns

Technical director and sustainability lead at Google Cloud's -Jen Bennett

With the planet heating up, corporate executives and consumers are considering the adverse effects of climate change and are determined to minimize the impacts.

It can be challenging for companies to access the data they need to determine which technologies to prioritize. This is where Jen Bennett comes in; a Google Cloud's sustainability team lead. As chief technology officer's technical director in Google Cloud's office, she works with customers and Google's engineering teams to figure out how technology can help organizations achieve their sustainability strategies. Often, it's ideal for business as well, she told Insider.

"I'm a technologist who uses various technologies, and I'm tasked with understanding how to pair these technologies with business priorities," Bennett said.

Sustainability is increasingly becoming a battleground for cloud service providers like Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Microsoft Azure. Experts say these businesses can use sustainability to attract environmentally conscious consumers committed to decreasing their carbon footprints.

The Google Cloud commissioned Harris Poll survey revealed that over two-thirds of approximately 1,400 executives view social, governance, and environmental initiatives impacts on a company as top priorities.

This is one of the major reasons Google sets Its goal across its entire organization to achieve net-zero emissions. This has given it a competitive edge and more sustainable means of operations. The giant invested in machine learning and renewable energy to make cloud and energy-efficient data centers.

Google plans to use these same efforts to help corporate customers assess their carbon footprint and make better decisions.

Companies can approach Google with problems such as -how to utilize energy more efficiently, and Bennett's team will devise technologies to solve the issue. Using this knowledge, customers would better understand when to shut down old projects that are no longer functional, how to use computing power more effectively, or when to move their applications to more efficient data centers.

UPS first partnered with Google to improve its delivery times by leveraging its technology to find the best route. The firms started using Google's route planner to cut the cost of delivering goods and fuel consumption. This collaboration helps the delivery company to reduce its fuel consumption by over ten million gallons of gas annually.

"Traditionally, we've thought of sustainability, climate action, and environmental protection

-as sort of an activist issue," Bennett said. "But now we're seeing many cases where sustainability is profitable for the planet and business."

As part of narrowing down where to start, the Google sustainability team looks at a company's key areas: productivity, decision-making, what technology would have the most impact, and how long it will take.

"As individuals and enterprises, we've learned that simplicity is the key and have successfully created systems that make decisions faster," Bennett said.

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