Amazon Web Services (AWS)
Food System Sustainability
Blonk, a prominent international authority in food system sustainability, plays a pivotal role in fostering positive transformation within the agri-food sector. Their team delivers precise and practical advice, data and software solutions,based on the latest scientific developments and in close cooperation with their customers. Their work is centered around quantitative analyses and integrates a life cycle thinking approach that encompasses the whole value chain.
Their mission revolves around inspiring and enabling organizations in the agri-food sector to embrace sustainability. Central to their approach is assisting these entities in de-mystifying and understanding their environmental impact and implementing Science Based Targets to reduce emissions.
Seeking to align their cloud IT operations with sustainability ambitions, Blonk recognized the need for external expertise. They partnered with Xebia in an effort to achieve their sustainability goals and optimize the cloud carbon footprint. The key challenges Blonk faced were as follows:
- Lack of real-time visibility into cloud carbon emissions.
- Difficulty in measuring greenhouse gas emissions in the cloud environment.
- Inability to accurately allocate carbon emissions to specific projects.
- Science-based and data-driven solutions to optimize for carbon emissions.
Initial EngagementBlonk's IT infrastructure is predominantly hosted on AWS, forming the backdrop for their collaboration with Xebia. After carefully listening to Blonk's concerns, Xebia outlined a comprehensive strategy to initiate their cloud-based sustainability activities, including implementing GreenOps processes. This strategy included four foundational points:
- Attain near-real-time visibility of cloud carbon emissions, divided by each AWS account and service with trend line analyses.
- Monitor greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption across different scopes.
- Develop a carbon allocation methodology to allocate carbon emissions to specific projects deployed within Blonk’s AWS cloud.
- Provide recommendations based on data-driven insights to continuously optimize cloud carbon emissions.
To bring insight into the requirements of Blonk, Xebia utilized their own Cloud GreenHouse Gases (GHG) Dashboard. This tool is developed by Xebia on the AWS platform, and can translate AWS resource usage into a CO2 emission equivalent in kg, giving customers both visibility and awareness of their carbon footprint, presented on AWS QuickSight.
Xebia employed the dashboard and implemented daily updates to provide Blonk with almost real-time visibility into their AWS carbon emissions, elevating their understanding and management of these emissions. The methodology employed involved enriching the AWS Cost and Usage Report (CUR) with CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) and kWhe (kilowatt-hour equivalent) data on a per-line-item basis. As a result, Blonk has multi-dimensional dashboards that furnish both direct and indirect insights into carbon emissions. This innovative and unique approach empowered Blonk for informed decision-making and facilitates the optimization of resource utilization and cloud carbon allocation along with carbon-aware architectural strategies.
Carbon Emission Allocation
Enabling the allocation of cloud carbon emissions to particular customer projects turned out to be a major milestone for Blonk, underscoring its significance in their sustainability journey. This allocation capability played a crucial role in determining Blonk's service delivery carbon intensity on a project-specific basis and providing visibility to their customers. The resulting in-depth insights not only empowered Blonk with the ability to strategize and implement actions across multiple tiers but also laid the foundation for their pursuit of future carbon emissions transparency. Furthermore, this enhanced transparency positively impacted stakeholder engagement by offering a more comprehensive view of their sustainability initiatives.
Cloud Carbon Allocation
Blonk wanted to understand and document the carbon intensity of various platforms deployed in the cloud. With the unique methodology of enriching the AWS Cost & Usage Report line-items, Xebia was able to allocate the resource utilization towards each platform using metadata and thus, was able to calculate and allocate carbon emission per project. This helped Blonk to get unique insights into the carbon emissions of their product chain.
Optimization for GHG Reduction
In an effort to optimize for Cloud Carbon Emissions, Xebia is able to provide recommendations on optimizing AWS resource utilization using the carbon emissions dashboard and make a positive impact in reducing cloud carbon emissions. This optimization approach specifically targeted Load Balancers, RDS Instances, and EC2 instances. As a result, Blonk foresees a substantial projected reduction of 15% in their cloud carbon footprint either by right-sizing/eliminating under-utilized resources or by making carbon aware architectural changes. The 15% reduction of carbon emissions also helped showcasing potential financial savings of 10%.
Achievements and Environmental ImpactThe collaborative efforts between Blonk and Xebia yielded transformative outcomes aligned with Blonk's sustainability vision and mission:
- Visibility and Control: Blonk gained in-depth visibility and understanding of their cloud carbon footprint in near-real time.
- Project-Level Carbon Allocation: Carbon emissions were allocated to individual projects, aligning with Blonk's sustainability goals and enhancing transparency.
- Cost Savings and Environmental Impact: Blonk not only reduced costs but also reduced carbon emissions with a carbon aware-optimisation approach. To the world, this exemplified an approach to make a positive environmental impact achieved through the GreenOps approach tailored by Xebia.
The partnership between Blonk Sustainability and Xebia exemplifies the positive impact of combining sustainability goals with technology expertise. By addressing Blonk's challenges and implementing a GreenOps strategy and subsequent processes, Xebia enabled Blonk to achieve greater visibility, allocate emissions effectively, optimize carbon-intensive services, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable future. This case study serves as a testament to the power of collaboration in achieving both environmental and operational excellence.