By Nicola Acutt, vice president of the Environmental, Social, Governance Office of the CTO at VMware\n\n\u201cIt is an issue that corporations have responsibility for, and therefore we should be making ambitious commitments. We should challenge ourselves and one another to go bigger and go faster as it relates to our climate commitments.\u201d\n\n-- Brian Janous, general manager for energy and renewables at Microsoft\n\nThe time to act is now. The most recent assessment \u00a0from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nation\u2019s body for assessing the science used to monitor climate change, is a sobering call to action: The world has less than a decade to cut carbon emissions in half to avoid the most dire consequences.\n\nFrom its initial efforts to help enterprises virtualize their IT infrastructure, VMware has worked not only to enable innovation, but also to lessen the environmental impact of data centers. It\u2019s a sustainability legacy that aligns with the promise of the cloud and the move from costly, on-premises hardware at every business to a global ecosystem of cloud provider partners operating efficient, high-performance data centers that make the public cloud a reality.\n\nIt\u2019s our sustainability legacy that led us to create VMware Cloud Verified, a global community of highly skilled, fully validated partners that enable enterprises of all kinds to move to the cloud with confidence and, in the process, realize the inherent resource savings that are possible. Our more than 300 Cloud Verified partners have implemented a software-defined data center using the full suite of VMware\u2019s compute, storage, and network virtualization technologies to greatly streamline their IT infrastructure \u2013 saving energy and reducing carbon emissions while providing customers with a technology platform that they know and trust.\n\nOur VMware Zero Carbon Committed initiative builds on that success to unite the world\u2019s leading cloud providers \u2013 organizations on the leading edge of a global effort to create accessible, high-performance, zero carbon cloud infrastructure. Together, our goal is to help organizations radically decrease the emissions and carbon footprint associated with their digital operations and the business operations that rely on them by choosing a software-defined approach enabled by partners whose data centers are powered with renewable, zero carbon energy sources.\n\nIt\u2019s an effort that\u2019s succeeding. In the six months since the creation of the VMware Zero Carbon Committed initiative, we have grown from five initial launch partners \u2013 sustainability stars ATEA, Equinix, IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure and OVHcloud \u2013 to a network of more than 25 providers capable of empowering organizations to immediately decrease their carbon footprint and help address climate change.\n\nOur vision and commitment is that by 2030 all VMware public clouds will be powered with zero carbon from data centers using 100% renewable energy. Notably, there\u2019s no question that the demand for sustainable clouds exists. According to Science Based Targets, more than 2,100 leading companies have already committed to achieve verified net zero emissions for their own operations and that of their supply chain. Furthermore, Accenture ranked sustainable clouds as number one of 25 cloud trends in 2021 and beyond \u2013 finding that 80% of consumers view sustainability as the most important consideration when evaluating organizations.\n\nAt VMworld 2021, I had the privilege to host a panel with three Zero Carbon Committed partners, to learn more about their work to address climate change. These prestigious sustainability leaders included Brian Janous, general manager for energy and renewables at Microsoft; Jennifer Ruch, director of sustainability at Equinix; and Chris Talbott, cloud sustainability lead at Google.\n\nWhat follows are just a few of the many recommendations these luminaries had to offer IT professionals, teams, and organizations that are committed to making a difference.\n\nAll three experts also agree that sustainability must be given a seat at the table, and that every effort needs to be made to make it easy for organizations to make climate-friendly decisions. For example, Google\u2019s green leaf logo makes it easy for IT leaders and developers to choose a sustainable option when selecting services and solutions.\n\nNotably, they also stress that the cloud is ideally qualified to make a positive impact \u2013 with the inherent use of virtualization being one of the many ways it maximizes the value of existing resources and hardware. The scalability of the cloud and efficiency go hand-in-hand.\n\n\u201cThere has been a major shift in customer expectations on the role of corporations beyond maximizing value for shareholders and beyond return on capital,\u201d says Janous. \u201cWe all have a part to play. It\u2019s not just individual action and it\u2019s not just corporate, federal, state, or policy action. All of them are necessary. I\u2019m very optimistic given where we are today that the next decade will be pretty significant in terms of the progress we can make in the IT industry.\u201d\n\nTo hear more inspiring advice from these sustainability champions, I encourage you to view the recording of the panel session (45 minutes).\n\nFor information on how to become a VMware Zero Carbon Committed partner, or to find a Zero Carbon Committed provider who can help your organization reduce its carbon footprint, visit VMware\u2019s searchable provider portal at \u00a0\u00a0https:\/\/cloud.vmware.com\/providers\/zero-carbon\n\nAbout the Author\n\nNicola J. Acutt, Ph.D., is the Vice President, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), in the Office of the CTO at VMware. A change maker, thought leader, and strategist with experience spanning business, government, academia, and nonprofits, Acutt approaches ESG as a business imperative and is committed to creating a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient future.\n\nAcutt joined VMware in 2010 to launch the VMware Foundation and lead VMware\u2019s Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability functions. In December 2020, she was put in charge of the company\u2019s newly formed ESG Office, where she shapes ESG strategy across operations, product portfolio, and customer engagement. Prior to joining VMware, Acutt was a faculty member at the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco.\u00a0 Earlier in her career, she worked as a consultant to the South African Government on natural resource policy. \u00a0She conducted research at the Center for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment as a Ph.D. candidate at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. She also has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Berkeley.