2020 drove life to online environments; countless business meetings over zoom resulting in drastically reduced air-miles and instead of going out, we stayed in and streamed our favourite movies, shows and games. Whilst it seemed that Covid-19 had a relatively positive impact on climate change, it has not fixed the looming threat of flooding, mass migration and failing ecosystems. With an estimated 10 years before catastrophic consequences take effect, the world is pressed for time to make effective change and we must assess the ways we can all play our part.
The gaming industry is often overlooked in climate change discourse. Very rarely do we, as a society, associate gaming with the world’s climate crisis however the recent COP26 British Chamber of Commerce event highlighted the part gaming plays. Attending the event left us feeling educated and empowered to change the future and we wanted to share our learnings.
Gaming and Climate Change
It is no secret that the gaming industry is on an upward trajectory powered by online and mobile gaming. A market research study conducted by Limelight Networks found that the average gamer spends roughly 8 hours a week gaming and the demand for faster downloads and performance increases each year. As the gaming industry continues to grow digitally, the concept of downloading large scale updates and content becomes readily normalised. Perhaps the inability to physically see the transfer of data to immense data centers has led to a lack of awareness of the scale of power and energy needed to operate such tasks. An article by Eurogamer describes how the climate impact of gaming’s internet usage relies on several factors such as the efficiency of data center infrastructures that dictate the consumption of energy to operate, the infrastructure’s power source and the levels of carbon emissions produced as well as the growing consumer demand for gaming services.
According to EPA, carbon emissions are responsible for 80% of all greenhouse gasses; mainly traced back to businesses. Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) categorises greenhouse gas emissions into three Scopes. Scope 1 refers to the emissions businesses make directly through factors such as the running of transportation or heating. Scope 2 categorises the emissions businesses produce indirectly through the generation of purchased energy. Finally, Scope 3 is the largest and most complicated category of emissions. It refers to the indirect responsibility of emissions businesses have across the value chain. For instance, the emissions that customers produce through consumption of products or services.
What can businesses do?
Businesses must address all three scopes. Just as businesses are becoming more eco-aware, so are consumers; ultimately increasing the demand for transparency within a product’s journey. The concept of sustainability has shifted from good corporate social responsibility to an imperative for businesses. Analysing and tracking emissions is a tricky yet vital task for businesses that require expert attention. To ensure businesses undergo such procedures, it is crucial to implement green audits similar to existing processes such as compliance and QMS.
Whilst many businesses continue to operate remotely or within a WFH environment, there are still strategies these businesses can implement to reduce carbon footprint.
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