In 2021, Microsoft, Globant and other technology companies led the creation of the ‘Green Software Foundation’, an institution dedicated to bringing to the new technologies sector the same principles and sustainability applied in other industries, especially the fight against climate change. .
Sustainable software consists, in essence, in using less physical resources and less energy to run the multitude of applications that we use every day, revealed this Wednesday the Spanish newspaper ‘El Mundo’.
Victor Rodríguez, responsible for Ironhack, gave an example: “When using Instagram, many images appear on the mobile phone at once because the user wants a quick ‘scroll’ to absorb as much information as possible in the shortest possible time. Sometimes, the algorithm gets it right and you only see the first photo, which is the one that matters. In both cases, Instagram offers the same solution but the impact is much smaller in the second case. Thus, a huge amount of data is sent, which is unreasonable, as it forces the internet to work more through multiple servers, which consume more. In addition to the smartphone, which has to process said information.”
In the technology sector, there is an imposing obstacle to implementing this transformation: the consequences of intensive use of technology are invisible to those who use it daily.
“The consumer society is primarily responsible for this. Every year the technology improves, which means consuming more energy and generating more CO2. It’s not the same to play with a PlayStation 2 or spend 4 hours with 29 other players in Fortnite with a PS5. The message sent to people is against sustainability: ‘Modernize yourself, change your iPhone every two years’”, said David Ayala, co-founder of Sockdata.
To quantify the phenomenon of sustainable software, Rodríguez turned to email, an ‘ant’ when compared to an Instagram reel or a 4K video on TikTok. “An email generates 4 grams of CO2 emissions. One might think that is very little, but no: 65 emails are equivalent to the emissions produced by a car in one kilometer. If in the UK you stopped sending an unnecessary email a day, it would be the equivalent of taking 3,000 cars off the road.”
More examples: “Uploading a video on YouTube just to listen to music is the equivalent of ordering a packet of 1,000 cookies for just one. We are focused on electric cars or the most efficient use of air conditioning but nobody thinks about the technology. A half-hour Netflix video emits 1.6 kilograms of CO2, or 10 kilometers in a car. Not to mention the consumption of television”, he said.
Companies, not only technological ones, have proposed changes in sustainability and in reducing the ecological footprint in three fields: reforestation, biomass or waste recycling. “The main trend is reforestation, because it is more visible”, said Fran Benedito, CEO of ClimateTrade.