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Salesforce boots up best practice guide for sustainable software

The cloud-based software giant sets out a green code of practice to help programmers cut computer-generated emissions.

The Salesforce tower in San Francisco.

Image via Shutterstock/Sundry Photography

Salesforce last week launched a "Green Code" to help slash emissions from the software development lifecycle, as new research reveals that 75 percent of programmers and software designers want to develop less carbon intensive applications.

The code features a series of sustainability best practices spanning four key areas: Design & UX; Architecture; Development; and Operations. It aims to help IT professionals, ranging from UX designers and software developers to system architects and IT operations managers, support the transition towards net zero emissions.

While sustainability efforts across the IT industry to date have been largely focused on hardware efficiency and electric grid decarbonization, optimising the code driving applications to enhance energy efficiency remains a largely overlooked opportunity, according to Salesforce.

As such, its code encourages designers to take steps to reduce energy use while providing a better user experience by making sustainability a design requirement. It also highlights how more energy efficient code can result in a faster user experience with fewer steps in data flow, while locating computing capacity in regions with low carbon power grids and scheduling workloads to coincide with periods of peak renewables generation can help slash carbon emissions.

Moreover, the code suggests that choosing the right architectural pattern and deployment model for software development can lead to cost savings and reduce environmental impacts, particularly when deployed at scale.

Sustainable engineering is good engineering and technologists can play a critical role in the reduction of global carbon emission.

The information and communication technology sector is responsible for up to 3.9 percent of global emissions — almost as much as the airline and shipping industries combined — and these emissions are expected to rise as firms increasingly rely on software to drive their operations and enable their digital transformation.

Srinivas Tallapragada, president and chief engineering officer at Salesforce, ultimately hopes that Green Code will inspire software teams and the wider IT sector to prioritize sustainability considerations alongside performance, security and accessibility.

"Sustainable engineering is good engineering and technologists can play a critical role in the reduction of global carbon emission," he said.

Salesforce's Green Code joins initiatives such as its Carbon to Serve metric, which measures the emissions of its data centers relative to work performed by its applications and has helped reduce emission by 26 percent.

The software giant also set out plans to measure, manage, disclose and take action against nature-related financial risks across its core business and global value chain in its first "Nature Positive Strategy," launched last month.

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