21 Nov 2023
by Steve Prescott

How to get ahead with the cloud and sustainability (Guest blog from Virgin Media O2 Business)

Author: Steve Prescott, Specialist Manager (Connectivity, Cloud and Security), Virgin Media O2 Business

Growing costs and customer/citizen demands. Ever-evolving employee expectations. A seemingly constant need to keep up with technology investment and training. 2023 has been a balancing act.

If these are challenging times for you, they are for your customers, people and the wider public too.

So how can your organisation not just stay afloat, but get ahead?

Keep embracing your move to the cloud

The cloud continues to reshape how we work and improve efficiency.

It enables remote working, allowing your people to access data and applications anytime, anywhere. It can also enhance communication and collaboration, leading to better teamwork and seamless working.

You can also scale your operations up or down based on demand. The cloud gives you flexibility and it can also help you move away from paper trails and the reliance on big private data centres.

Your infrastructure is the key to making things happen. Just make sure you take your staff and customers on your digital journey. Apps and the cloud can simplify the user experience, but make sure people have the digital skills and confidence to get all the benefits out of them.

Interfaces should be as simple and intuitive as possible to help maintain the momentum of your digital transformation.

Share more of the good stuff with society

From social impact to environmental issues, the temptation during a downturn is to cut back on things that aren’t seen as critical.

It’s not just about ‘doing the right thing’ – there are many good business reasons to focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

The world beyond the bottom line can be your secret weapon, driving efficiency and loyalty, attracting talent and shining a positive light on your organisation.

We partnered with Censuswide in 2023 to survey over 1,200 UK workers and 1,000 consumers and our research revealed:


How the cloud can assist your ESG efforts


By turning virtual machines off during periods of inactivity, you can significantly reduce your energy consumption. This aligns with ESG goals by minimising the environmental impact associated with energy usage in data centres. It’s a more sustainable approach to computing which can help reduce your carbon footprint.


Cloud-based collaboration tools and applications support remote working, which promotes inclusivity and a healthy work-life balance. This has social benefits, allowing employees to work from various locations and reducing the need for extensive commuting.


Cloud providers invest heavily in security measures and compliance certifications which ensure robust cybersecurity and data protection. It also makes sure that regulatory requirements are met and everything is as transparent as possible.

Get aligned with green cloud initiatives

Major cloud providers are increasingly investing in green cloud initiatives. These focus on optimising data centre operations, increasing the use of renewable energy and reducing the overall environmental impact of cloud services.

Microsoft Azure sustainability starts at the data centre and extends to AI-driven products and local projects. Microsoft even claims that ‘moving on-premises workloads to Azure can reduce your carbon footprint up to 98%’.1

Meanwhile, Google has set an ambitious goal to reach net-zero emissions across their operations and value chain by 2030. It’s sharing technology, methods and funding to enable organisations around the world to transition to low-carbon and sustainable systems.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is also focussed on ‘empowering customers to drive sustainable solutions for a better Future’.2

So there’s plenty we can learn from the big guns.

Do more to achieve less

Less waste. Less carbon. Less inequality.

The government has set an ambitious economy-wide target of reducing carbon emissions by 68% by 2030 and net zero by 2050. But many UK organisations are still a long way off where they need to be on the journey to net zero.

78% of surveyed professionals say they’ve been unable to increase prioritisation of ESG commitments this year, mainly due to financial and capacity constraints.3

And while 89% of senior professionals asserted the importance of carbon transparency in their decision-making process, 51% still have gaps in understanding or lack reliable and clear information about the carbon footprint of the technologies they use.3

Lean on your partners and suppliers for help. For example, we’ve recently launched some sustainability initiatives including a Carbon Calculator and Tech Donation Programme. The calculator estimates and helps limit the carbon footprint of working with us and our technology. In partnership with Hubbub and Community Calling, we can also help you donate smartphones and mobile data to digitally excluded people in your local community.  

Combine your ESG efforts with your move to the cloud and you’ll be in a better position to meet customer demands and employee expectations in challenging times.

The efficiency, sustainability and scalability of the cloud make it easier for your organisation to make a difference where it matters.

  1. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/sustainability/azure#footnote1
  2. https://aws.amazon.com/executive-insights/sustainability-esg/
  3. Virgin Media O2 Business and Censuswide ESG research 2023

Cloud Week 2023

News, views and insights on how cloud computing continues to reshape how we live and work. techUK's annual Cloud Week is an opportunity for the tech community to explore key issues in cloud and highlight new ideas and thought leadership from our members.

Find out more


Cloud computing and the path to a more sustainable future

This techUK insights paper highlights the commitment of our members to a sustainable approach to cloud computing and sets out six core best practice principles for a greener future for the tech sector.

Find out more


techUK's Technology and Innovation newsletter

If you’d like to start receiving information about relevant events, news and initiatives via techUK’s monthly Tech Tracker Newsletter, please subscribe here and join the Technology and Innovation contact preference.

Sign-up here

techUK - Committed to Climate Action

Visit our Climate Action Hub to learn more or to register for regular updates.

By 2030, digital technology can cut global emissions by 15%. Cloud computing, 5G, AI and IoT have the potential to support dramatic reductions in carbon emissions in sectors such as transport, agriculture, and manufacturing. techUK is working to foster the right policy framework and leadership so we can all play our part. For more information on how techUK can support you, please visit our Climate Action Hub and click ‘contact us’.

Sign-up to get the latest updates and opportunities from our Climate, Environment and Sustainability programme.

Upcoming climate events

footer widget with brand.jpg


Climate, Environment and Sustainability

Learn more about our Climate, Environment and Sustainability programme, register for events and join related groups here.

Find out more


 Steve Prescott

Steve Prescott

Specialist Manager (Connectivity, Cloud and Security), Virgin Media O2 Business