The role of IT in climate protection


Sustainability agenda

October 23, 2023, 4:30 PM Author: Emanuel Lippmann / Editor: Sabine Narloch

Sustainable business is becoming more and more important. Companies today are well aware of this fact – and also that IT plays a critical role in this. But how well do companies really know their CO2 footprint and the possible adjustments to improve it?

In the face of the strained economic situation, issues such as sustainability, climate balance and environmental protection may currently be on the back burner for some companies – but they have by no means lost their relevance or urgency. The warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change still resonate very well: Without immediate reductions in harmful greenhouse gas emissions, the goal of limiting anthropogenic global warming below 1.5 degrees will be missed as early as the 2030s. No one can really deny that we are at a critical point, which in turn means: half-hearted actions for a better ecological footprint or even doing nothing no longer work and are rightly punished by all concerned – whether customers, employees or investors.

Politics is also tightening the reins more and more: The Supply Chain Act (LkSG) makes companies liable when it comes to human rights and environmental violations along their supply chain. Although the requirements currently only apply to companies with more than 3,000 employees, the limit will drop to 1,000 in 2024. Even companies not legally affected are indirectly subject to the regulations through their obligation to provide information to business partners. From 2025, companies will be covered by the new EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (E.U.CSRD) is required to transparently present their impacts on the environment and society. Measures related to a more sustainable economy are increasingly regulated, monitored and enforced.

The status quo – how far are companies?

Very few companies are likely to be inactive when it comes to environmental initiatives – but only very few are fully sustainable. Only 30 percent of companies with more than 100 employees surveyed for the IDC study “IT & Sustainability in Germany 2023” currently have a holistic strategy in which long-term initiatives and measures are formulated, goals and milestones are set. as the entire organization with all areas is integrated – ie all locations, products, services, suppliers and partners. 31 percent have created at least one specifically defined sustainability program and 25 percent are pursuing specific goals. However, most companies have realized that modern IT helps them become more climate-friendly. Accordingly, 71 percent of respondents increased their spending on technologies to support sustainability initiatives, and 30 percent are implementing even more projects than originally planned.

IT plays a critical role in two respects: On the one hand, companies can identify, control and thus better achieve their goals through the use of innovative technologies and data evaluation. On the other hand, IT – including hardware, software and services – can itself be CO2-Improve the balance sheet by producing sustainably, using it energy efficiently and reusing it in an environmentally friendly way. Any engagement works best when companies look at their entire ecosystem.


  1. The role of IT in climate protection
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