How responsible is software for carbon footprint?
As software development is exponentially increasing as an activity, there is a need for integrated sustainability and greener coding.
When the goal is sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint of any entity, there is always a need for a holistic view of the entity’s activity, whether we are talking about a nation, a company, or a person. However, companies have a very important role. As there is an increasing number of companies that need enterprise software for their development, IT companies need to promote awareness as well.
Recently the EU Commission increased the greenhouse gas reduction target for 2030 to a minimum of 55% compared to 1990. Not just the EU but many companies are setting carbon footprint reduction strategies, even in countries that seem to shift away from ecological initiatives.
This is the case of many IT companies as well. But what does greener software development mean?
There are certain categories where a company can reduce its carbon footprint. These include fuel consumption, travel, waste and consumption management, and electrical power. Practically the goal is the optimization of energy consumption and waste.
In the case of IT companies, however, there are also ways to integrate sustainability in coding.
Software in itself is not responsible for any greenhouse gas emission. Nevertheless, the hardware it links to is.
Software development, however, is controlling how hardware consumes energy. And in this lies its responsibility. Therefore, when talking about greener code whole architecture needs development with an energy-effective attitude. For this, developers need to be aware of the energy consumption of designed processes and identify those that require high consumption of resources.
As software is indirectly playing an important part in creating a carbon footprint, every new line of code has an impact. Therefore, software that is highly flexible, hence adaptable to new circumstances, is software that is sustainable.
Even though sustainability in software engineering has still no universal definition, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer) links software sustainability to software maintainability. According to their definition, software that is easy to maintain can be seen as sustainable.
AROBS is an international software development company that is working on promoting awareness and responsibility. Besides integrating sustainability into code, the internal culture is becoming sustainability-oriented through initiatives like forest-planting, sports events that raise awareness for a greener future, and many more.