On Earth Day, What Is ‘Enough’?
by Nicola Acutt
With the arrival of another Earth Day, the need to address our changing climate remains as urgent as ever. Last month’s report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) makes the stakes plain: we have the ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and change the trajectory of our warming planet. But we are consistently falling short when it comes to action.
I’ve devoted my career to acting in the interest of sustainability. And even still, I often wonder: Am I doing enough? The scale of the problem we’re trying to solve for is so massive that it feels like it requires “everything, everywhere, all at once”—from all of us.
But here’s the problem. When nothing feels like enough, it becomes all too easy to do nothing. And our planet can’t afford that. So how can we start defining “enough”—and make a significant positive environmental impact for our shared future?
I like to think in systemic terms—the circles of influence that start with ourselves and our households and radiate out to our workplaces, our communities, our countries, and ultimately the world. Our influence is strongest in the circles that are closest to us. That’s why on Earth Day, the focus is often on what we, as individuals, can be doing. And, if we can think even bigger than that—about how we can influence those next circles, especially at the workplace and community level—we can really start moving the needle.
This kind of engagement is something we actively support at VMware. Earth Day is one of our EPIC2 days off—an opportunity for every employee to reflect on the importance of sustainability and its role in our personal and work lives. We also empower employees to be part of and help shape the company’s sustainability journey through our sustainability ambassador program and by integrating sustainability into decision-making in employees’ daily roles. For example, our procurement team has developed a Responsible Sourcing program to align purchasing decisions with more sustainable and diverse suppliers.
As a business that got its start offering virtualization solutions, VMware has always been intrinsically evergreen. But we know that the transformation of digital infrastructure will increase electricity consumption around the world unless we develop new, sustainability-focused solutions for the multi-cloud era. That’s why we’ve taken a systems thinking approach, recognizing how progress is interconnected and requires sustainability to be embedded into the foundation of everything we do.
We’re proud to be a certified carbon-neutral company, powered by 100% renewable energy. But we haven’t stopped at only reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions. We’re also playing a major role in helping customers, partners, and industries do the same.
For example, we recently added VMware Green Score to our Aria Operations Cloud, which enables customers to track where they are in their decarbonization journey and how they progress over time. The Green Score builds on existing sustainability dashboards we offer by adding five new components: workload efficiency, utilization of physical resources, virtualization rate, power source, and hardware efficiency. Most importantly, it provides customers with actionable recommendations on specific components to improve their overall score.
We’re also encouraging our partners to embrace their own renewable energy goals with the VMware Zero Carbon Committed program. Providers who opt into this program have committed to powering their own data centers with 100% renewable energy or achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. This helps customers connect with providers who are not only VMware Cloud Verified, but who can help them decarbonize their own supply chains.
We’re even helping entire industries decarbonize their operations. The telecommunications industry, for instance, currently accounts for 10% of the world’s energy usage—a number that will only climb as connectivity expands. That’s why VMware is taking a lead role, both internally and with partners around the globe, in developing new sustainability innovations specifically for the telco industry. Learn more about how VMware is helping telco companies create a more sustainable future with our recently published white paper and the video below.
I’m proud of what our team has already accomplished, and what our continued commitment means—not only for us, but for our customers and the communities we serve. My great hope is that every year, we’ll see our circle of influence continue to expand as we ask: What more can we do? Where else can we make an impact?
This Earth Day, these are the same questions I hope every individual and every organization asks themselves. Because when we ask these questions from a place of curiosity and engage in genuine conversations with each other, we have the chance to discover shared values, common interests, and opportunities for collaboration. That’s how we move the needle. That’s how we scale. That’s how we get to enough.