The Internet Poses Challenges for Sustainability

Next Generation Communications Blog

The Internet Poses Challenges for Sustainability

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

We already know the mercurial growth of the Internet and mobile technology. Cloud and data center traffic will increase by 440 percent by 2017, according to a recent Alcatel-Lucent blog post, and video consumption will rise by 720 percent during that time.

What many of us do not know, however, is that the Internet also damages the environment; Gartner recently showed that the Internet creates more than 300 million tons of CO2 a year. So growth of the Internet and mobility is not such a happy picture from a sustainability perspective.

If we are to combat this looming environmental challenge, it will take the work of not just individuals but also businesses committed to sustainable practices. Thankfully, sustainability can be good for companies and not just the environment.

“Organizations that start implementing green solutions are not only helping to reduce the impact of climate change,” noted Nataly Leal, senior communications manager of the Andean region for Alcatel-Lucent in a recent blog post, Internet, a driving force for the responsible development of countries.  “Using planet-friendly technologies helps to generate more sustainable business, reduces operating costs, projects a better image of companies and generates a better economy. All these benefits have an impact on business.”

The proper use of technologies can help businesses reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent, according to the Global e-Sustainability Initiative.

“Facing this reality, more technology companies have been working to create new solutions that consume energy in an intelligent way and at the same time be kind to the planet,” Leal noted in her blog post. “Each day these companies launch to market products that meet the major challenges of climate change, seeking help to minimize the impact of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry.”

For instance, Alcatel-Lucent has developed applications such as G.W.A.T.T. to assist operators, service providers and interested parties in understanding the energy consumption and costs associated with communications networks in present and future. These help firms identify the conflictive points of the energy and help show how to improve sustainability practices.

The Internet is a boon for business. But business also needs to make sure that it isn’t a detriment to the environment.  In fact, as Alcatel-Lucent has done for many years, being a good steward of the earth’s resources needs to become part of a company’s DNA. Indeed, there is demonstrable proof that being a good steward is also good business. 

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