CxO Update on Sustainable IT

Published by Kasia Sanchez
February 03, 2023 @ 11:15 AM

Speaking from the heart of the action: top digital leaders get together for an exclusive CxO exchange on sustainable IT

On December 7 a number of top digital leaders met and discussed Sustainable IT during the CIONEXT “Race To Net Zero” Conference that attracted more than 1000 attendees and inspired the participants to get together again to sum up the major takeaways from the event. 

During this post-conference private discussion - moderated by Hendrik Deckers and sponsored by Palo Alto Networks and BT - 12 panellists from a range of different industries gathered on January 30, 2023, to dig deeper in this important topic. Mutual understanding on the importance of sustainability was underlined by discussing the following points:

  • Transparency and traceability of ESG reporting
  • EU compliance
  • Creating awareness, shifting the mindset and the ways to a greener staff
  • The metrics of sustainability — where IT is key
  • The cost of sustainability
  • Circularity and equipment
  • Thinking broadly — beyond electricity
  • Cybersecurity

Transparency as the key to a more sustainable IT

All participants of the post-conference call agreed that part of the role IT has to play in a company’s race for sustainability is about metrics and reporting. Injecting more transparency to systematic reporting and a good level of data traceability for end-customers were put forward as key factors.

Allowing the community to contribute was singled out as an important enabler together with a close cooperation between government and business. On the way to transparent sustainability reporting, the need for clear definition and standardisation was stressed as indispensable. 

Some of the risks mentioned were about moving to the cloud and managing the sustainability information from cloud providers. Would it just be a shift of responsibility? Circularity in equipment use was taken up as a true source of complexity and still a goal to be aimed at boldly.

Sustainability is not cost-free

The major note of the call was struck when the participants pointed out that sustainability has to come at a cost. There would not always be a clear business case for change yet it is a step to be undertaken by all the players. 

As support for the move to green IT, country leaders were mentioned with their ways to incent business as well as the corporate environments with their influence on the policy

Think diversely — where IT can lead the way

Sustainability has to go hand in hand with diversity and inclusion and not neglect community issues. This was stressed as a way to move forward to build sustainable organisations. 

With the tools IT provides for metrics and data, the sector will play an important role in the future development of green practices — AI, electric grid control, and even hackathons, for thought exchange, were hinted at as milestones. 

Final thoughts and an attempt at conclusion

By way of conclusion, cybersecurity and the evolving character of threats were put up. It was also agreed that business and IT will have to work together effectively in the race to net zero, while honesty and comprehensive transparency will be the measure.

Companies of the participants find themselves on different levels of advancement in sustainability but it can already be said that there has been an acceleration on the topic of green IT. 

More conferences are to come and more organisations founded (examples came from Sweden with CIOCO2). It is certainly a time to board the train of sustainability in IT. 


We extend our thanks to all those who joined the post-conference call for their participation and valuable input. We were glad to host the event for you and look forward to more of similar get togethers in the future. Thank you, Guests:


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