Technology Providers Must Make Climate Change A Core Focus
by Betsy Burton, Jim Lundy
Combating climate change has rightfully become a critical topic within governments, businesses, and communities. It will take leadership and coordination amongst governments and businesses supported by individual citizens to begin to combat its effects.
In this blog, we explore what technology and service providers (TSPs) can do to help their customers respond to and navigate the challenges brought on by climate change.
Climate Change Is Not New
I had the opportunity to work at NOAA in Boulder Colorado in 1983. The project I was working on was building a database of CO2 measurements and temperatures from around the world. NOAA and Scripps Institution of Oceanography have been collecting this CO2 and temperature data since around 1956.
I mention this only to remind us that we are years down the path of knowing that CO2 is affecting global climate. And, we will continue to experience the detrimental impacts of climate change: increased storms, wildfires, flooding, drought, and ice cap melting.
Tech Providers Working To Combating Climate Change
Many technology providers have announced their own plans to help address climate change, including Google’s renewable energy initiative, Salesforce.com’s climate summit and Sustainability Cloud, and Amazon’s pledge to become carbon neutral.
These efforts, while laudable, will not be enough to stem the tide, and there is much work to be done by companies, governments, and individuals. TSPs must continue to accelerate their efforts by reducing their carbon footprint, water usage, e-waste, and plastics usage.
TSPs and their customers must also acknowledge that climate change is already happening. We are living with the effects of climate change every day with increased storms, flooding, droughts, crop irregularities, and wildfires.
TSPs must be part of combating climate change, and they must also design products and services that help their customers operate in a world that is already experiencing these effects.
TSPs Must Make Climate Change a Core Focus
Every technology and service provider must be aware and account for the impacts of climate change in existing and new product designs. This means developing products and services that are:
- Built with disaster recovery as a core design principle. Climate change will impact businesses and governments, and TSPs must create technologies and services that help these organizations operate during and recover after disasters (flooding, hurricanes, wildfires, etc.). This requirement must include dynamic on-premise and cloud options, not just cloud. TSPs will not be immune to the impacts of climate change, and organizations need to be able to choose which systems to use based on availability.
- Designed to support a remote and migrant workforce. As climate change continues, governments and businesses will need to be able to support a workforce that is reducing their carbon impact by not commuting to work. In addition, they need to provide the ability for workers to work from a safe location and habitable location as climate degrades in regions.
- Highly defensible and secure to terror attacks. Climate change breeds more economic inequality, not less. This means organizations will be more vulnerable to attacks from citizens and communities that feel the most impact (lack of food, struggling governments, unstable ecosystems, etc.).
- Helping their customers develop plans and strategies for dealing with the impacts of client change. Many organizations struggle with longer term strategic and scenario planning. Technology and service providers must help their clients understand and account for the impacts that are already affecting them, particularly in industries such as healthcare, agriculture, government services, and transportation.
These product investments cannot be in lieu of efforts to fight climate change; rather, they are additive.
Every product or service requirement document, project plan, and release plan must include a section on how the product helps to fight climate change and how the product helps customers deal with the current impacts of climate change.
Climate change is already happening, and it’s going to effect the way we develop technology. Technology and service providers must work towards a solution that helps to mitigate climate change. In addition, they must develop products that help their clients respond to the new normal of extreme and dangerous weather. And, they must keep innovating as climates continue to change.