One of the key problems faced in meeting these audacious, long-term ambitions, is the lack of more attainable “micro” goals. Such intermediary steps will serve to uncover gaps between current and future state, helping us to measure the effort and investment necessary to go the distance. Bill Gates speaks to this in his recent publication, How To Avoid A Climate Disaster, by establishing the concept of mechanisms like “Green Premiums” where we can identify the price disparity of fossil fuels versus clean power sources, or even areas where no technology exists yet to replace conventional methods.
Second, consider the information and communications technology contribution to the problem.
A key goal, at a more targeted level, may include measuring progress against implementation of carbon neutral data centers and clouds with zero emissions energy sources, as well as reduction in the total physical footprint. In addition to the source of energy, the operational efficiency of energy consumed for each facility is a critical measurement (e.g. power usage effectiveness, or PUE).
Third, consider the threat to U.S. national security and the military stemming from these problems
Studies show a direct impact to the DoD and its readiness with missions, operational plans and installations. As such, we must understand the resulting second and third order effects and establish metrics that track installation resiliency and operational viability of military operations in conditions that are increasingly degraded or changing as a result of climate effects. Good use cases can include installations and facilities performance metrics that account for performance and sustainability (e.g. drought, flooding, wildfires), infrastructure project management that addresses risks associated with changing weather patterns, and fleet management that associates military platforms with sustainability metrics, resource scarcity, logistics and mission support, and global supply chain considerations. Risk management, a critical pillar of DoD mission planning and operations, can then factor in these metrics into the operational environment.
Actions to make technology part of the long term solution.
Action 3 – Take a prioritized, use case driven approach to mission enablement within a backdrop of sustainability. Mission enablement should always be the priority, whether it is a large scale capital investment in facilities and installations, or consolidation of the global data center landscape. A prioritized, use case driven approach should be taken that indexes toward what ensures mission resiliency, the best investment portfolio that brings the value forward, and what future proofs the tech functions of the future. Within each initiative, we can then build in the appropriate transparency on climate change metrics and track progress against our goals, continuously improving based upon those results, and creating a feedback loop back to enterprise data and analytics tools for a complete view of the sustainability profile. This profile can also continue to inform mission planning and resiliency against potential impacts.
Matthew Leybold is an Associate Director with Boston Consulting Group out of New York City and leads the Cloud and IT Infrastructure topic, serving Public Sector and Financial Institutions industry verticals for BCG Platinion North America.