DTCC - The Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation

09/18/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/18/2023 07:46

Innovating Through a Greener Lens

The impact of climate change is defined as long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns, resulting in events such as floods, wildfires and rising sea levels. Climate change is negatively impacting numerous industries, including financial services, which has ranked it among the top ten risks facing the industry.

Related: Climate-Related Financial Risk: A Financial Market Infrastructure's Perspective

DTCC is prioritizing efforts toward becoming NetZero (reducing greenhouse emissions to as close to zero as possible) and focusing on the entire spectrum of ESG or Environmental, Social and Governance activities. By taking actions that are both environmentally and socially impactful, we can contribute to positive changes across the industry and for our planet.

Did you know? Nearly three percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions are from the Information and Communication Technology sector alone, which is comparable to the emissions produced by the global aviation industry. This provides the IT sector with numerous opportunities for finding innovative ways to reduce its carbon footprint. Below are a few ways technology can have a positive impact on sustainability.

Cloud Technology:

Beyond the physical infrastructure that comprises IT, such as data center buildings, electricity, heating and cooling for servers, there are sustainability initiatives in flight when it comes to data and software.

DTCC uses cloud technology to not only enhance its resiliency and security, but to also have less data stored in physical data centers and on servers. When looking at data storage and sharing, transferring data from one source to another is carbon expensive. How can we optimize data that is stored in different places? Utilizing serverless data integration services allow data to be accessed, moved, prepared and integrated from different sources without being physically stored. The ideal way would be to compute at the data storage location and move only the end results. Carbon footprint can also be tracked by various cloud services or by cloud region. If the region is fueled by renewable energy, the carbon footprint will be nearly zero. Conducting a regular assessment of unused resources and systems and allocating uptime or scheduling for decommission will not only reduce carbon emissions, but it will also bring down cost.

Data Center Efficiencies

Given DTCC's role as a financial market infrastructure, it is important to take measured steps as we move to cloud. One of the ways to measure the effectiveness of data centers is by looking at power usage effectiveness or PUE, which is the comparison between the power consumed by the facility to the power utilized by the IT equipment. The goal is to keep the PUE close to 1, which can be achieved with various measures such as utilizing liquid cooling systems and switching to energy efficient equipment.

Green Coding

Green coding seeks to minimize the energy involved in processing lines of code and helps organizations reduce their overall energy consumption. There are many ways to fine tune and optimize the code itself. Potential approaches to optimize energy usage include caching in memory usage and abstraction layers, and reducing redundant software or code can lessen the footprint, as well. As we design our applications, utilizing microservices and containerization, cloud native computing and API-driven systems are an optimal way to reduce energy requirements and consumption.

Related: The Future of ESG in Financial Services

Recycling in IT

With efficient resource utilization and the "five Rs" (refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle) can transform the current, linear disposal flow into a circular one. Artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to do prescriptive and predictive analytics on system health. The volume of IT-related components that end up in landfills is unmanageable. The mining process of the precious metals that go into technology components is resource intensive. AI can be very helpful in efficient electronic waste sorting and recycling. At DTCC, we reuse wherever possible, or recycle it in the most environmentally viable way. When designing laptops, many manufacturers are considering circular and modular principles to enable easier recycling or refurbishing. For example, Apple has a de-manufacturing robot called Daisy which can disassemble and extract recyclable and precious metals from cellphones.

Climate Action Collaboration

Climate action should be a collaborative effort across the IT community. The first step in this effort is to calculate and understand the emission impact or the carbon footprint of applications and IT services. Once you identify the hot spots, it is time to optimize by considering various measures, such as usage patterns, right-sizing, more efficient data storage options and code optimization. By measuring and monitoring the carbon footprint of each process and application, we are better able to make decisions that will have an impact.

The move toward greener technology is a highly collaborative effort, requiring focused initiatives, measurement, and monitoring, much like how we approach resiliency and risk mitigation. By leveraging emerging technologies like renewable energy-based Cloud, green coding, micro services and circularity, firms and individuals can take steps to lessen the impact on the planet and create a cleaner, brighter future for planet Earth.