Sustainable CTOs Balance Sustainability and Digitalization

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Key Takeaways

⇨ Technology and sustainability must go hand in hand to address climate change and digital growth

⇨ CTOs play a crucial role in aligning business strategy, technology, and sustainability

⇨ The Sustainable CTO initiative by Intel aims to support CTOs in leading the sustainable transformation of organizations

As the forces of sustainability and digitalization converge, they pose a significant, new challenge. The United Nations and the U.S. government are both targeting the year 2030 to reduce CO2 emissions and increase the pressure on organizations to take a more active role in climate action. Simultaneously, advancements in new technologies like artificial intelligence, automation, IoT, and edge computing are driving a growing demand for computing power. Finding the balance between climate action and digital growth is vital for the health and safety of the global economy, writes Greg Lavender, Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer, and General Manager of the Software and Advanced Technology Group at Intel Corporation, spearheads these efforts.

While global computing significantly contributes to carbon emissions and electronic waste, global computing also holds the key to the solution. The challenge lies in sustainably meeting the growing demand for computing performance and transforming organizations and business models to create a cleaner, greener, and nature-positive future.

Leadership must take an active role in sustainable transformation. Specifically, Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) must align business strategy, technology, and sustainability. The CTO must bring a comprehensive, long-term view of the problem to drive the necessary changes in their organization.

This journey won’t be easy. Not only do we have to reduce IT-related emissions, we’re also tasked with harnessing technology to drive growth. Tech leaders must embrace their roles as sustainability advocates in the C-suite by becoming Sustainable CTOs. This new model requires achieving “tech zero” through the adoption of greener information technology and utilizing technology to facilitate the sustainable transformation of the entire organization, leading to a tech positive business. Both “tech zero” and “tech positive” approaches generate business-driven value, powering growth and success in the emerging economy. To address this need, Intel has launched the Sustainable CTO initiative. The initiative aims to unite the global CTO community, facilitating the exchange of knowledge, insights, and best practices to bridge gaps and shape a roadmap toward a tech-positive future.

A global study was conducted by Intel to better understand how enterprise leaders tackle the intertwined challenges of sustainability and digital transformation. The study stressed that technology presents challenges in achieving net-zero emissions, it also plays a crucial role in sustainable transformation. A vast majority of senior IT leaders (84%) recognize the pivotal (53%) or important (31%) role of technology in their organizations’ strategies to become sustainable businesses. An overwhelming majority (79%) aspire to become sustainability leaders themselves, with CEOs and chief sustainability officers acknowledging the potential for CTOs to drive sustainability within organizations. The report showcases the potential of CTOs and shows the steps that business leaders should take. By rallying the C-suite, including CTOs and CIOs, behind a tech-positive approach, technological transformation can propel us toward a future that is greener, fairer, and smarter.


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