The Harvard Business Review published an article about ‘Responsible Computing’ with a framework which integrates environmental challenges with social and governance as well.

The six pillars of responsible computing

1. Data centres

The global power capacity of data centres has grown by 43% in the last three years, and they are not efficient.

The average server runs at 12% to 18% capacity but draws 30% to 60% of maximum power. In just over a decade, The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that data centre global energy use will jump from 1% of worldwide electricity demand to more than 20%.

2. Infrastructure

Reducing the environmental impact of the computation, including the hardware, software, and networks. Working out the per-unit carbon footprint over the whole lifecycle.

Following on from this, they also ask:

  • What technologies could you use that reduce power per unit?
  • How can you get more bang for your buck. For example, through consolidation, rationalization, or removing systems you don’t use?
  • How about using your spare capacity for other purposes?
  • How can you recycle or reuse more effectively?

3. Code

Making your code efficient and also considering the environmental, societal and economic impact of that code.

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Your IT should be aligned with the responsible computing vision.

4. Data

Thinking about the privacy, transparency, sharing, and acquisition of data. There are ethical legal and social responsibilities we should all be thinking about.

5. Systems

With AI tools now part of many business systems, it is important to consider if your systems are fair, accountable, and transparent.

6. Impact

How can technology be used for good? The suggestion here is to consider the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Some impact will be general, but others can be more specific.

  • Can you measure carbon impact per employee, per customer or per SKU?
  • Louise Towler

    Written by

    Louise Towler

    Founder of Kanoppi and WordPress agency Indigo Tree, with deep expertise in WordPress websites, technical SEO and commercial performance for clients across the UK.