The recently concluded climate change summit in Glasgow forced governments, companies, and citizens to look more closely at their current carbon footprint. While many pledged to significantly reduce emissions, experts announced that these actions will be insufficient. Fortunately, thanks to digital transformation, high-emission companies can understand and shrink their carbon footprint more easily. Here are four ways CIOs can contribute to this climate agenda:

1. Look within and decarbonize IT

IT may not look as dirty as industrial operations, but don’t be fooled. IT remains a significant energy consumer. Rapid deployments of IoT and scaling of business applications are expected to increase global electricity consumption in data centers from 1% to double digits by 2030. Hence, CIOs will need to analyze their baseline, develop an action plan to adopt emission-free electricity, and make sure managers and executives are held accountable for delivering the clean energy needed.

2. Optimize energy and emissions across organization

Installing the right energy consumption and emissions monitoring tools and integrating them into relevant company assets is a good place to begin reducing company emissions. The data collected becomes the baseline for CIOs to leverage analytics and what-if simulation technologies to identify emissions-reducing and energy-efficiency improving initiatives for the organization.

3. Move beyond organizational boundaries to reduce emissions

CIOs can play a key role in reducing emissions from across the value chain – from suppliers and employees to products after sale. By leveraging solutions to collect relevant data from external stakeholders and using the blockchain to track and verify them, CIOs can take the conversation about sustainability beyond the organization. CIOs can also deploy AI technology to monitor their customers’ behavior, pointing out opportunities to optimize logistics efficiency.

4. Align sustainability with business objectives

CIOs have a critical role to play in designing an approach to decarbonization that won’t hurt business revenue growth and profitability. The strategy would include integrated data management systems to measure emissions and well-drafted plans for preempting contingencies, eliminating redundant processes and systems, and maximizing adoption of net-zero policies across the value chain.