Sustainability was at the top of the agenda at the recent AWS London 2023 conference. Speakers used the opportunity to highlight recent efforts aimed at accelerating the journey towards net zero for Amazon and its customers. Projects on water conservation and initiatives aimed at making urban environments more breathable and livable also attracted attention.
The focus on sustainability began immediately, with Tanuja Landree, Managing Director of AWS for the EMEA region, in her opening keynote stating that 77 percent of respondents to a recent survey said that moving to the cloud would make them more sustainable. I emphasized the fact that they responded that their commitment to sexuality would accelerate. net zero. And Amazon research shows that customers can reduce their carbon emissions by nearly 80% today, by simply moving their workloads to the AWS cloud, and up to 96% by 2025 when AWS runs on 100% renewable energy. It also pointed out that it estimates that emissions will be reduced.
Additionally, she highlighted advancements made by AWS customers, such as Gousto, a fresh food delivery service that leverages AWS analytics tools to provide insights that help customers make informed choices. For example, choosing ground chicken instead of ground beef in a given delivery reduces emissions from purchases by 20%.
The opening keynote was also joined on stage by Will Cavendish, Global Digital Services Leader at Arup, a leading provider of services to the construction industry.
Cavendish talked about how machine learning can process new data sources such as satellite and geospatial data to create innovative solutions for managing resources. One of his notable projects is the work being done in Shanghai. It uses data analysis to identify landscape ‘microfeatures’ to identify alternative use cases to traditional concrete pipes for moving water underground in cities.
This has led to the development of ‘nature-based’ solutions known as ‘permeable paving’, using grasslands and greenery to guide water flow. This has reduced both the cost of running water through the city and the carbon footprint by 30%. Following the success in Shanghai, plans are in place to expand the initiative to his 12 other cities around the world.
Another initiative his company is pioneering involves a network of sensors intended to monitor rising temperatures as a result of changes in the urban environment. These fluctuations are known to cause many ramifications, such as increased mortality and the need for emergency services. By increasing awareness of when and where it occurs, decision makers can not only better deploy services, but also take corrective action such as improving green space or increasing canopy coverage. .
After the keynote, I had the opportunity to sit down with Thomas Blood, AWS Sustainability Officer for the EMEA region.
We talked about his organization’s next plans. “Water positive” – By returning more water to the communities in which we operate than is needed to run our business. Within AWS, water is primarily used for cooling data centers, and Brad outlined steps being taken to reduce this usage and move to a circular economy of water usage.
This includes increasing the amount of rainwater and recycled water, improving efficiency by reducing water use, and developing community initiatives such as systems that return water to farmers for use in irrigation. Includes possible procurement.
For example, AWS is working to develop a system that will recycle water recovered from runoff from roads and farmlands around London’s Thames basin to create wetlands around it.
Another project involves removing invasive plant species that have exacerbated the drought problem in Cape Town, South Africa by consuming excessive amounts of water.
He also brought to my attention a project in partnership with the Natural History Museum in London that focuses on introducing children to nature and sustainability solutions. Here, the green space around the museum has been developed as a natural habitat. Children are then encouraged to visit and learn about the plants and insects that call the environment home through interactive exhibits.
On the subject of sustainability and how AWS is playing that role, Brad told me: “This is obviously a very big challenge and the way we really tackle this is if we all work together to make it happen. must look for opportunities to address these challenges with serious effort. ”
He suggested IT workers across the industry could play a role. “Go down the hallway and say hello to the sustainability guys… offer to help with data digitization and analysis, as much of the data digitization and analysis is still done manually.”
AWS is committed to furthering the achievements of AWS and its customers in the name of improving sustainability by leveraging emerging cloud technologies. These include Coca-Cola, who has developed a digital twin of his one of its bottling plants in Turkey. AWS infrastructure was used to collect data points from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors via the AWS SiteWise platform. This reduced both the energy and water usage required to clean and disinfect the factory, and the solution was installed in just two months.
CropX, an agricultural analytics provider, also offers an AWS-based solution that enables farmers to use soil data and satellite imagery, including moisture, salinity and temperature measurements, to improve water and fertilizer use efficiency. developed.
In recent years, it has become clear that the cloud will play a key role in improving efficiency and innovation in creating new green initiatives. As more companies recognize the importance of striving to reduce their carbon footprint and water usage, we expect it to become an increasingly important strategic priority for cloud migration. A key message of AWS London 2023 is that there are many opportunities to explore if companies want to realize their oft-cited ambition to make the world a better place. The tools to do this are becoming more powerful and more accessible every day, making this an exciting area of innovation that will see further progress and development in the future.