Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cloud Computing and Sustainability: Beyond energy and into ethics

BSR recently wrote an article on the sustainability impacts of cloud computing beyond the usual topic of energy/carbon reduction that instead delves into energy policy, human rights, and data privacy.

It is interesting to note that in the context of cloud computing, human rights doesn't necessarily equate to labor practices, but rather data privacy and protection of data by cloud service providers. This, of course, is an area that Workday takes very seriously.

They end with this note, which challenges cloud providers to broaden the scope of what is typically considered corporate responsibility:
"As cloud computing takes hold and changes the profile of business, so too will it change notions of business ethics and corporate responsibility. There was once a time when business would argue that suppliers should take sole responsibility for following labor and environmental laws, yet today we see armies of auditors and labor relations specialists going above and beyond what is legally required. A similar transition will arise with cloud computing, and activities deemed outside the scope of corporate responsibility today -- challenging unreasonable law enforcement demands and meddling in energy policy -- will be mainstream tomorrow. Now is the time for today’s most innovative companies to define what that looks like in practice."

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