Profit and Planet: Today’s Balancing Act

Sustainability COVID-19

Clear canals in Venice and blue skies in Delhi: around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown is cleansing our planet of its usual levels of pollution and bringing us instead time to appreciate nature close by. Thanks to new restrictions’ severe limitations on travel and industrial activity, our daily carbon emissions are seen to have fallen by 17% during the peak of confinement measures in early April, when compared to that of mean levels seen in 2019. Though these statistics bear a false sense of security, we must avoid being distracted from the pressing circumstances of today’s environmental crisis in which wider changes need to be made. As elements of lockdown ease and we prepare for a return to ‘business as usual’, the pressure to revive the economy risks accelerating at the expense of positive change made so far. Making green decisions remains as, if not more crucial. Environmental accountability is an essential selling point for any business or organisation in the modern-day, and a field Verne Global is committed to.

‘We need systematic change to our energy infrastructure, or emissions will roar back later.’ As Rob Jackson, chair of the Global Carbon Project, explains to The Guardian, the future of our planet lies in the hands of our politicians and their long-term decisions, not the short-term impact of the virus. This view is echoed by Professor Róisín Commane from Columbia University in New York, who expresses to the BBC her doubt regarding the 10% reduction in emissions in the city: "We are still emitting more than 80% of our previous CO2 emissions... personal behaviour really isn't going to fix the carbon emission problem."

And yet, our global dependency on fossil fuels is worsened by government policy implemented in the United States and elsewhere. ‘Under the cover of the crisis, the White House has rolled back fuel-economy standards for the car industry, three states have criminalised fossil fuel protesters and construction has resumed on the KXL oil pipeline.’ If we want to avoid taking one step forward and two steps back, change has to be more extensive: this means proactive decisions from influential companies. Already, lockdown restrictions are being eased in Wuhan and energy use and air pollution have been rising since late March - we risk our progress being reversed too.

Whilst we must acknowledge the danger that both our climate and ecology face, the extent to which the global economy has suffered due to COVID-19 explains this hunger to revive business. Aviation, for example, an industry hit greatly by the pandemic, is facing its deepest-ever crisis, with 90% of the global fleet grounded, according to the World Economic Forum. On top of this, unemployment rates have soared: the number of jobless people in the US rising by over 20 million in April. Preparing for a post lockdown economy has to account for profit as well as planet. And that middle ground exists acutely in the form of environmental accountability.

Explored in greater depth by Tate Cantrell in his blog, environmental accountability is as much about financial incentive as it is sustainability. ‘Savvy and sustainable businesses must search out solutions that not only protect our ecosystems but also save on the expense side of the balance sheet.’ Lower costs derived from efficient use of resources, less wastage and smarter working increases profitability and enhances brand reputation. So what affordable green changes can we make?

Both in and outside of this pandemic, environmental sustainability remains a key value at Verne Global. The company’s commitment to clean, green solutions allows them to excel as leaders in HPC whilst ensuring that they tread lightly on the earth at all times. Their immediate response in regards to the COVID-19 outbreak serves to prioritise the wellness of their employees, customers and partners, and as a result, several new policies have been instituted; this includes eliminating all non-essential travel. In light of the new challenges that organisations now face, Verne Global is pleased to offer a 50% discount on remote hands for new and existing customers.

Come what may, sustainability is at the forefront of all that Verne Global do, all year round. Their Nordic data center is perfectly located in the Icelandic climate, which provides invariable free cooling, meaning significant savings on operational costs. They offer advanced colocation services solely reliant on green power sources, such as geothermal and hydroelectric energy, and can promise customers an affordable answer for today’s balancing act of spurring business growth whilst remaining environmentally accountable.

Written by Florence Grist

See Florence Grist's blog

Based in the UK, Florence Grist is a freelance writer who enjoys writing on technology and sustainability issues and especially how AI has the potential to both transform our understanding of the environment and help protect fragile ecosystems.

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