How to Optimize Sustainable IT Reporting for the CSRD

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by Lakeside Team

Understanding and implementing the requirements of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) in relation to IT assets is crucial for IT leaders. The CSRD legislation, designed to ensure transparency and accountability in sustainability practices across an enterprise, has a direct impact on IT asset management. Under the CSRD, certain organizations are required to report on the lifecycle of their IT assets, including energy use, e-waste, and circular economy impacts.

It is necessary to capture the sustainability portrait of the entire IT estate, which includes the vast collection of hardware, software, networks, data centers, facilities, and related equipment. One area that’s often overlooked, however, is the endpoint estate, which includes servers, computers, laptops, mobile devices, and printers. Today, the number of endpoints at any given enterprise has skyrocketed; the typical enterprise manages about 135,000 endpoint devices. Accordingly, accounting for energy use of these endpoints, as well as their landfill impact, is crucial.

Three Key Steps for Sustainable IT Reporting on Endpoints

1. Account for What’s in Your Dark Estate.

A problem most IT teams know too well, unfortunately, is the lack of complete visibility across the IT estate — also called “the dark estate.” One of the main contributing factors to having a dark estate is that the IT environment is an ever-changing landscape. New assets are continually added, while old ones are decommissioned. Or they are regularly upgraded or changed. This constant flux makes maintaining a clear, updated view of all assets quite challenging.

To make matters worse, the widespread adoption of remote work and cloud-based or hybrid infrastructure has decentralized IT estates. While these changes offer numerous benefits, they also make it harder for the IT team to gain complete visibility and illuminate their dark estates. Since many assets no longer are confined to a physical office, instead dispersed across numerous locations and employees' homes, the bigger picture of what’s what and where it lives is even fuzzier.

Without comprehensive visibility, reporting on the sustainability impact of endpoint assets becomes a complex task unto itself. Fortunately, it’s possible to gain a better view of the IT estate. To do so, you must look to endpoints as pieces of the big picture. Collecting data on the endpoint will enable you not only to capture energy use metrics but also to understand how the asset is being used. If it sits idle, unused, then it’s possible to turn off the device remotely without disrupting the digital employee experience, for example.

The Lakeside SysTrack platform collects the endpoint data needed to understand the devices and software within the IT estate. From there, you can start to build out a baseline of the estate’s emissions data and energy use.

2. Create a Baseline of Energy Use for Your Sustainable IT Initiatives.

Once you have complete visibility of the IT estate via endpoint agents, you can start to set sustainable IT baselines. The Green IT dashboard associated with the Lakeside SysTrack platform helps with this effort by monitoring the energy consumption of devices. The dashboard allows you to determine which groups, regions, and models have the highest environmental impact. This data covers a variety of systems, including printers and virtual machines.

With this insight, you can set baselines for energy consumption for systems organized by country and group, power by device model, printing impact, and virtual machine energy consumption. From there you can use these baselines, based on granular data, to enact a specific plan for reducing energy use.

3. Optimize Endpoint Devices for More Sustainable IT Practices.

Once you have a clear baseline, you can start to optimize for more sustainable IT practices. This initiative can start with simple steps such as setting devices to power-saving mode when idle, automating software updates during off-peak hours, and encouraging employees to turn off devices when not in use. Moreover, consider employing power management solutions for centralized control and optimization of energy use across all endpoint devices.

Some best practices include the following:

  • • Energy consumption: View energy consumptions for systems organized by country and group to determine where the most energy is wasted and saved; prioritize energy saving activities for the most critical areas.

  • • Power by model: Identify models with high power usage; replacing older models may reduce energy consumption.

  • • Printing: Measure environmental waste caused by running printers and using paper, and identify the most frequently used printers and their capabilities.

  • • Virtual Machine Energy Consumption: View energy consumption for virtual machines and data centers. You can reduce energy consumption by shutting down inactive systems.


Additional Considerations for Sustainable IT Initiatives

There are other considerations to factor when reporting for CSRD purposes:

Carbon emissions: Companies may need to report on the carbon emissions associated with their IT infrastructure and IT assets, including both direct emissions, such as GHGs from data centers, and indirect emissions, such as electricity consumption and supply chain emissions.

E-waste management: Many companies are now expected to report on their efforts to manage electronic waste (e-waste) generated by IT assets as part of the European Sustainability Reporting Standards ESRS circular economy standard. Within this metric are details on recycling programs, responsible disposal practices, and efforts to extend product life cycles through refurbishment and reuse.

The Importance of Endpoint Devices for Sustainable IT Reporting

Although endpoint devices represent a substantial part of any organization's IT estate, they often fly under the radar in sustainability reporting. Implementing sustainable practices in reporting on your IT estate, including endpoint devices, requires dedication, but the rewards are worth the effort. By embracing sustainable IT, your organization can realize cost savings, boost its reputation, and contribute significantly to environmental conservation — all while meeting the requirements of CSRD.