Although Harvard Business Review declared ‘sustainable business’ mainstream in 2021, it’s been intrinsic to VMware’s technology solutions for more than 25 years. Moreover, VMware’s innovative business was built to help drive sustainability.
When the founders pioneered virtualization in 1998, they empowered companies to use VMware technology to significantly reduce the hardware and energy they needed to run workloads in data centers. Not only was virtualization a disruptive innovation that changed the way companies managed IT workloads, it also helped avoid potential emissions leading to smaller carbon footprints. Those inherent sustainability benefits inspire our employees today to engineer new, sustainable multi-cloud solutions to decarbonize the digital infrastructures of tomorrow along the path to net zero emissions. Sustainability is core to advancing VMware’s impact, as we meet the innovation needs of our customers while also protecting the long-term resilience of our business, and the communities we serve.
"One thing is clear: if we’re going to both navigate challenges and capture opportunities, we can’t be complacent,” says Nicola Acutt, VMware’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “We must continue to innovate and find smarter ways to accomplish our long-term aspirations."
To do this, in 2020 VMware adopted the 2030 Agenda, a set of measurable goals deepening this commitment and guiding the strategy to decarbonize digital infrastructures.
Deepening Our Commitment
Throughout the development of products and services, VMware considers energy consumption, carbon emissions, electronic waste, water usage and broader environmental impact throughout their life cycles. Sustainability has become a core component to the business—which is why the ESG Office is embedded in the Office of the CTO, for supporting better alignment of sustainability and innovation. This structure provides ESG governance, ensuring cross-company collaboration and accountability. It also enables sustainability to be integrated into how VMware develops solutions for customers’ present and future challenge
With this unique model, VMware keeps making progress toward its sustainability commitments including:
- Achieving 100 percent renewably sourced power for operations of global facilities and co-located data centers (continuously since 2019) on our journey to net zero.
- Adding more than 50 partners, including Google, AWS, Oracle, IBM, to the VMware Zero Carbon Committed program.
- Helping telco service providers build a zero-carbon future.
- Continuing progress on a project partnership with the City of Palo Alto, testing the potential of microgrids to advance energy resiliency and sustainability efforts at the community and corporate levels.
- Releasing the VMware Green Score in Aria Operations to help customers identify progress and improvement recommendations in energy use and carbon footprints.
- Baking ESG into organizations and the culture through VMware’s 2030 Agenda.
Co-innovation has also been part of furthering VMware’s sustainability commitment. As Joe Bagley, EMEA Field CTO, explained, “Innovations like the Green Score were developed by VMware CTO ambassadors in the field, working with many people, including our customers.” The co-innovation approach aims to drive sustainability beyond VMware by enabling partners and customers across the industry to have the tools they need to achieve their net-zero goals.
Driving Sustainability For and With Modern Technologies
As businesses have embraced multi-cloud and modern apps VMware’s commitment to sustainability has only grown and continues to do so as revolutionary (yet computationally intensive) technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) come to fruition.
On the topic of AI/ML Acutt emphasizes, "these advancements in technology provide us with an unmistakable opportunity to bake sustainability, equity and trust into our shared and rapidly growing digital future."
“Whether you look at it through a sustainability lens or an energy efficiency lens, this is becoming a business imperative,” said VMware CTO, Kit Colbert. “While we’ve already helped move the needle around sustainability and energy efficiency, it’s not enough. That’s why we’re developing a really strong roadmap around sustainability.”
That roadmap was the result of VMware’s first Sustainable Software Development Workshop (SSDW), which brought together individuals from across VMware to explore how the company can further integrate sustainability into even more products and services.
At the same time, VMware recognizes AI is more energy-intensive than other forms of computing. With predictions the energy needed for ML and associated data storage and processing may account for up to 3.5 percent of global electricity consumption by 2030, a continued commitment to sustainable innovation is a must.
VMware remains steady in this commitment and continues to look ahead to the next evolution of sustainable solutions within our pursuit of innovation.
Learn more about the many projects VMware is developing and supporting.