Article by Guy Wolfenden, Vice President Digital Transformation and Howard Gray, Director Business Consulting – Sustainability & Climate Change


An astonishing 90% of the world’s data has emerged in just the past two years, with 68% having only been accessed once1. As data continues its rapid expansion and corresponding infrastructure grows to accommodate it, responsible cloud management and a pivotal data ecosystem becomes paramount to achieving climate and sustainable development objectives.

Our GreenOps and overall transformation approach is centred around making carbon-conscious technology decisions. We follow a client attested and comprehensive four-step process guided by our Climate Change and Sustainability Advisory encompassing green IT, the infusion of business ethics into IT practices, environmentally mindful AI and green software deployment.

Late investment in this domain has the potential to more than double the expenses associated with achieving net zero decarbonisation goals, particularly as we approach 20302. This underscores the compelling need for immediate action to save costs through a just and balanced transition.


The work we are doing to apply GreenOps practices in everything we do includes:


Developing a culture of sustainability

We train our consultants and engineers in green software skills including the Green Software Practitioner course, equipping them to assess the resources they consume using tools such as Azure’s Well Architected Framework.

We baseline initiatives through our Strategic Benefits Management framework. This ensures a sustainable return on IT operations investment and applies expertise from organisations including the Institute of Environmental Management to validate our work, with measurements meeting internationally accepted benchmarks such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and ISO14040.

We work with cloud providers to feedback improvements to FinOps and Emissions Impact dashboards. A recent example enabled one of our teams to optimise the system logging regime, saving the carbon equivalent of seven round trips by car from London to Rome. Our ESG Solutions Expertise (ESGSE) can rapidly deploy, configure and integrate digital reporting solutions, working with our partners in a solution agnostic approach, regardless of the platform, infrastructure or services used.


Tackling the dark data challenge

We apply data management best practices to reduce the environmental impact of data that is no longer used for its intended purpose, but still consumes resources. This includes maintaining an up-to-date data inventory, collection and disposal processes and a formal data lifecycle incorporating secure data destruction prerequisites, providing clear stakeholder visibility of associated costs and environmental impact of continuing to hold dark data.


Harnessing green software principles to develop and deploy sustainable applications

We apply eco-design principles throughout the delivery lifecycle. At the design stage, we apply practices described in digital sustainability frameworks including Green Software Foundation and Defra emerging Planet Centred Design Principles first published in 2023. Throughout development and support stages, we use GreenOps tooling to inspect code and infrastructure to identify continual improvements for energy conservation.


Investing in cloud native technologies

We apply the government ‘Technology Code of Practice’ to improve system sustainability throughout the software lifecycle. Initiatives include the transformation of legacy applications through sustainable microservice architectures and application performance management to automatically manage performance and availability in line with actual usage.

Example: In a recent project we used the WeNR system footprint tool to measure the environmental impact of a public sports website in France. We identified and removed unused user journeys, then optimised image formats and JavaScript libraries and rationalised error logs, resulting in a reduction of page weight by 28%, requests by 46% and load time by 46% to improve user experience and environmental footprint.


Note: This article was originally written for inclusion in techUK's Cloud Insights Industry Report: Cloud computing and the path to a more sustainable future (page 33-34)



How being planet-centric can really make a difference when designing services - Defra digital, data and technology (

CGI audit with Government Clients