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Juniper Networks has released findings showing that, while sustainable network infrastructure policies are currently being implemented across EMEA, a knowledge gap remains when it comes to understanding the real imperatives, issues and opportunities of sustainable IT networks.
With the ongoing proliferation of digital transformation across all private and public sectors of industry, the need for networks also continues to increase. However, in line with the overall conclusions around climate change imperatives highlighted by the recent COP27 conference, network infrastructure must be built and operated responsibly to minimise power and space consumption as organisations globally shoulder the need to reduce carbon emissions significantly.
Juniper Networks partnered with Vanson Bourne to conduct a survey of 650 IT decision makers (ITDMs) and 1,200 office workers across EMEA to gauge confidence in sustainable networking transformation within business. Juniper’s “Future of Networking” report found that 83 percent of EMEA ITDMs surveyed work for organisations that have implemented or are currently implementing a sustainable network infrastructure policy. Furthermore, results suggest that support for this transformation will rise even further over the next few years: 86 percent of ITDMs and office workers agree that they want to see more positive action from their organisation’s leaders regarding IT/networking sustainability in the next two to five years.
However, while there is consensus between office workers and ITDMs that sustainable networking and infrastructure policies and capabilities are important (85 percent agree it’s either ‘extremely important’ or ‘important’), their understanding of the issues and opportunities around sustainability remains fractured. Only 32 percent of office workers surveyed think their organisation has a thorough understanding of the impact of sustainable IT issues, compared to 46 percent for ITDMs. Thirteen percent of ITDMs and office workers specifically think their organisation has a poor or even non-existent understanding of the issue.
“The disconnect between leadership and employees when it comes to understanding the importance of sustainable networking highlighted by this research actually offers a unique opportunity for many of our partners and customers that do already operate with sustainability in mind,” said Gos Hein van de Wouw, Vice President of Enterprise, EMEA at Juniper Networks. “In reality, everything from compliance and regulation through to brand perception and user experience – not to mention business profitability and growth – all have sustainability touchpoints and are being shaped by this conversation. Networking technologies underpin everything we do thanks to increasingly pervasive digital transformation, and the environmental impact this has on people, places and the globe must be taken into consideration.”
When it comes to the sustainable future of doing business, the role of people is just as important as that of carbon or emissions targets. Delving into recruitment patterns highlighted by the research Juniper Networks commissioned, 40 percent agree that their organisation is not recruiting with the tech roles of the future in mind, which may include roles and skills related to AI, sustainability and ESG (environmental, social and governance) policies, among others.
“Recruitment of IT and technology talent that doesn’t factor in sustainability is a missed opportunity,” added Gos Hein van de Wouw. “Talent is a key driver behind not just meeting emissions targets but broadening business perspectives on issues related to diversity, inclusion, transformation and more. With the right mix of people and network infrastructure, organisations can have a positive impact on the planet while pushing forward with digital transformation goals in the pursuit of sustainable business growth.”