Europe is currently in the midst of an energy crisis that shows no signs of letting up anytime soon, which would lead many to assume Europe, the Middle East and Africa might have more significant sustainability goals.

But that’s not what Pure Storage Inc. found in a new study following on the heels of the company’s other moves tied to sustainability this year.

The study, which surveyed about a thousand sustainability leaders globally, focused on understanding their sustainability goals, what they were working on, and the impacts of buying decisions, particularly around infrastructure.

“One of the things that was really interesting for us was the fact that around the world, we did not see a significant variation in terms of sustainability being a top priority,” said Nicole Johnson, global head of social impact and sustainability at Pure Storage Inc.

During today’s “Pure Storage: The Path to Sustainable IT” event on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, our analysts talked with Johnson; Ajay Singh, chief product officer at Pure Storage; and Mattia Ballerio, technology solutions manager at Elmec Informatica S.p.A. about the role they see technology playing on the road to sustainability, as well as how Elmec evolved its business to use sustainability as a competitive advantage. (* Disclosure below.)

Sustainability from a cross-functional viewpoint

This September, Pure Storage said it was set to add new analytics tools to its server hardware to help customers reach their sustainability goals.

Pure Storage customer Cengage, which is focused on global education technology, recently shared that it had been able to reduce its overall storage footprint by 80%. They were able to do that while running on Pure Storage FlashArray, FlashBlade, Pure1 and Evergreen//One, while doubling to tripling the performance of their storage system.

“So it’s really critical for companies who are thinking about their sustainability goals to consider the dynamic between their sustainability program and their IT teams who are making these buying decisions,” Johnson said.

Pure Storage’s recent survey indicated a lack of management buy-in on sustainability, with 40% of respondents indicating this. However, 65% of respondents reported that they’re on track to meet their sustainability goals. And of that 65%, IT is significantly engaged with reporting data for those initiatives.

“We know that to curb the impact of the climate crisis, we really need to embrace sustainability from a cross-functional viewpoint,” Johnson added.

Here’s theCUBE’s complete video interview with Nicole Johnson:

Using AI to manage data

Pure Storage has also been focusing on technology innovations that customers can use to address their energy consumption, which includes AI. Singh said Pure Storage believes today’s data success ultimately hinges on energy efficiency — and to be energy efficient means companies must be successful long-term with data.

“Compared to other old flash systems, we tend to take one-fifth the power,” Singh said, adding it runs one-tenth the traditional density.

But what about waste and reclamation? The company also uses its AI technology through Pure1, where it can begin to sense when a particular part will fail. The company replaces it in a non-disruptive fashion just before it fails.

“So a customer’s data is not impacted, and then we recycle that so you get a full end-to-end life cycle, all the way from the time you deploy,” Singh said.

Accelerating the journey toward sustainability

Companies globally find themselves at different points in their sustainability journeys. For its part, Pure Storage has committed to decreasing its carbon emissions by 66% per petabyte by 2030 in its products.

Companies start by doing a materiality assessment, which essentially engages all stakeholders to determine the critical issues for the business, according to Singh. In Pure Storage’s case, such an assessment determined that its product was the most significant area of focus that could contribute toward making an impact from a sustainability standpoint.

Second, Singh suggested that companies take an Azure service approach, enabling customers to buy outcomes with service-level agreements to start small and grow more as they consume more. The company’s Evergreen//One Storage as-a-Service product is an example of such an approach, which Singh said is an opportunity to reduce the waste associated with underutilized systems.

Third, it’s essential for businesses to optimize their supply chains end-to-end, ensuring they are moving, recycling, packaging and eliminating waste so that they can recycle it back to their suppliers, Singh added.

“Such supply chains that are responsive and diverse can really help you,” he said. “Also, the business benefit is you can also handle surges in demand, for example, for use during the pandemic with these global supply chain shortages, whereas most of our competitors’ lead times went to 40, 50 weeks,” he said. “Our lead times went from three to six weeks because we had this sustainable supply chain.”

Here’s theCUBE’s complete video interview with Ajay Singh:

Sustainability as a competitive advantage

While many businesses see technology as playing a key role on the path to sustainable IT, others have been growing their businesses with an eye on using sustainability as a competitive advantage.

“CSR issues make a company more attractive when searching for new talent to enter in the workforce of our company,” Elmec’s Ballerio said.

The company’s business proposition is to meet a high standard of sustainability and reliability, citing its green data center as an example of this approach. Customer inquiries concerning Elmec’s sustainability are increasingly frequent.

“Which is why we monitor our performance, and invest in certification, such as EcoVadis or ISO 14,001,” he said, adding that the company chose to work with Pure Storage to lower its power consumption usage, which is less than 90% of previous technology it used in the past.

“It’s more competitive, because basically it allows the service provider to do a much more efficient value proposition and offer services that brings more value to the customer,” Ballerio stated.

Here’s theCUBE’s complete video interview with Mattia Ballerio:

And make sure to watch the complete “Pure Storage: The Path to Sustainable IT” event video below:

(* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the “Pure Storage: The Path to Sustainable IT” event. Neither Pure Storage Inc., the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Image: Getty Images

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