Parna Bhattacharya is a business leader for Apigee, which is Google’s API management platform. She is a cloud evangelist focused on implementing cloud-based solutions, from outsourcing to systems integration. This article will discuss how a cloud provider looks at sustainability tied to APIs.
Our ecosystems are not possible without APIs. We are changing our brand loyalty based on the sustainability goals of the plan providers. Investors are paying attention to consumer behavior. Regulators are coming in, so the entire focus on green and sustainability is becoming top of mind because it makes business sense. Not only does it make it the right thing to do, but it also makes business sense. Every industry has its own sustainability goals that organizations are looking towards.
Let us consider an example of a customer, Unilever. Unilever and Google are working together to attain their sustainability goals. Unilever started its cost Climate Action Program way back in 2015. The idea was to completely eliminate the carbon footprint by 2030. They have an interim goal of reducing it by 70% by 2025. They’re not only thinking about the carbon footprint that Unilever is creating but also working with their suppliers to reduce the carbon footprint of their entire supply chain. And that is where the complexity comes in. You can decide what you want to do with your organization, but how do you influence other organizations in your ecosystem to work alongside you and reduce the carbon footprint?
Google has created a Carbon Sense Suite, which gives the power in the hands of our customers to decide which Data Centre they want to choose. They can choose their Data Centre based on cost latency and regulatory requirements. In addition, every data center now has a term called carbon-free emission percentage, which is transparently shared. We have seen that when you give that power to the customers and consumers, they do the right thing. 19% of our existing customers are moving towards greener data centers. 50% of new customers are moving towards greener data centers.
Sustainable value chain
One of my favorite Unilever brands is Ben and Jerry’s, and I like cookies and cream. The cookie uses palm oil, and the palm oil supplier is based in Indonesia. How does Unilever make sure that the palm oil plantation for their supplier is not in illegally deforested land?
Google has tied up with TraceMark, an Australia-based company working globally with Google to find the first-mile sustainable practices of their suppliers.
During COVID, most of us have moved online in terms of our shopping patterns. This means there are more vehicles on the road, which increases the carbon footprint of our organizations.
Google has provided a fleet optimization solution so customers can choose the right pathway to deliver those solutions and products.
ESG Process Transformation
ESG is environment, society, and governance. ESG has become a board-level topic. Every organization has to report this to the market, and it is also a competitive differentiator these days. But it requires a lot of data crunching. So Google works with our customers to get that ESG data. The challenge is that all this data needs to be traced, analyzed, reported, and acted upon. This is done using APIs.
Climate Risk and Resilience
Climate risk has impacted Australia directly. We have seen the 2019 wildfires. We saw the floods in NSW in 2022. This has a direct impact on how organizations plan their risk mitigation strategies. Google Earth Engine-enabled solutions help our customers do that.
From a cloud provider’s view, these are the four angles that Google focuses on to help our customers.
Digital Value Chain
In a digital value chain, the idea is that you have the exposure layer inside your organization. This layer will have your services, backends, and databases. Your API team exposes those services as APIs and makes them available to your end user. Your developer or partner leverages those APIs, puts in an application, and then your end users consume it. These end users can be your internal teams, partners, or external developers. This is the inside-out way.
The way Apigee has been designed from an outside-in perspective. Think about what your consumers need and then define what is required internally to meet those consumers’ requirements, rather than inside-out, wherein you have a bunch of APIs and microservices and expose them in the hope that somebody will come and leverage them.
To meet an organization’s sustainability goals, customers have to report on what they are doing to meet the sustainability target, and they need to measure it. We are working with organizations across the globe across industries, especially banking, and retail, where for every physical asset that our customers have, they are creating a digital twin, which is emitting the information around how much carbon is emitted by that particular physical asset. This gives us the green value chain.
We need the digital value chain, but it is turning green because of the various demand patterns around sustainability goals.
API Led Ecosystems
Bell Labs created the first solar cell in 1954. But it’s 2022 when we are adding solar panels to our houses for renewable energy. This shows that it takes time for any new technology to become mainstream.
There are a few things that are guaranteed in the coming decades.
The volatility of the market and your partnerships need to change continuously. Regulators will drive market volatility. Regulators will force the government to do things, and when the government starts slipping, they will encourage banks and telcos to start meeting those sustainability goals. The government will start penalizing certain things, they will start encouraging certain things, and organizations will have to change their business strategy accordingly.
Technology. Organizations would have to adopt new technologies as and when they come.
Finally, unfortunately, climate change and climate risk are a reality. We have to understand and mitigate those risks continuously.
This means that organizations have to think about short-term, medium-term, and long-term partnerships. Partnerships must change based on the supply chains’ ability to adopt the greener way of doing things. API is going to be critical in this volatile, partner-driven market. It’s an exciting time for us to have an impact directly on driving a greener economy API program.
Tools for your API journey
To drive your sustainability goal, you need tools that can help you track, measure, report, and act on that data and your APIs quickly. Apigee from Google is a tool that has been a Gartner market leader for the last six years. Google has launched Apigee pay-as-you-go this year. The idea is to remove barriers for our developers to start leveraging the platform right away without waiting for a long procurement cycle purchasing cycle. You can leverage a top-in-class world-class platform as soon as you’re ready to start.
- Transitioning to a green digital economy will be volatile because industrial revolutions are volatile.
- APIs will be fundamental and foundational for data sharing needed to optimize green activity.
- Many providers will have different and evolving assets during a volatile green transition.
- Partnering with different types of green services will retain and attract customers and protect your balance sheet during the transition.