Cloud Native Sustainability Week 2023 - putting sustainability on the community radar - 31/01/2024

Cloud Native Sustainability Week 2023 was a huge success with great community engagement; we look back at the event and forward to 2024!

CNCF TAG Environmental Sustainability post by Michel Murabito, Marta Paciorkowska, Kristina Devochko, and Leonard Pahlke originally published on the CNCF blog

Banner image of the cloud native sustainability week 2023

For the first time, during the week 9th-15th October 2023, CNCF TAG Environmental Sustainability organized a global community event that was aimed to raise awareness for and share knowledge about the topic of cloud native sustainability – Cloud Native Sustainability Week. When we started planning the event we didn’t expect that there would be so much interest and willingness to help in organizing the event from the community, but the engagement and involvement have been overwhelming and we’re extremely grateful for that!

Throughout the week we had 5 live streams, 1 global virtual mini conference, 5 blog posts and 12 local meetups. But the involvement didn’t just stop after that week: countless social media posts and content references were spread by the global tech community in addition to 10 more local meetups that were organized shortly after the main week of the event. In total the event took place in 17 countries spread across 4 continents – if that can’t be called a stunning success, what can?😃

All of the links to different types of content that was shared during Cloud Native Sustainability Week can be found in our earlier blog post. Live stream and meetup recordings are available in a dedicated playlist on our YouTube channel.

A screenshot from the interactive map of all the locally organized meetups in conjunction with Cloud Native Sustainability Week 2023

The Cloud Native Sustainability Week became a forum where community members share knowledge and reflections, participate in engaging discussions and look into potential actions and approaches for improving sustainability posture of cloud native and open source space. It’s an event that brings together like-minded individuals with different backgrounds, but with the same passion in common, which is sustainability.

We believe that with the collaborative approach that Cloud Native Sustainability Week provides the grounds for, attendees will be empowered and inspired to contribute to the future development of cloud native sustainability domain and the TAG ENV itself. Together we can shape the sustainability posture of the projects within the cloud native and open source realm, which will add up to other global actions for the better of our planet and future generations.

Insights from the attendee survey

With 22 meetups, hosting over a thousand in-person attendees and thousands online, we had an opportunity to get insight into the community’s views on sustainability, their level of awareness, ideas and actions that are gaining traction. We gathered data through an attendee survey with 86 responses.

It is important to paint a realistic landscape of the community’s concerns. A few voices expressed disbelief in sustainability being taken seriously by large players in the IT industry. Although not a popular sentiment in our respondents, it underlines the critical importance of transparency and data in order to not risk falling into the trap of green washing.

Most attendees considered the content of our sessions to be effective in helping them understand what cloud native sustainability is. Attendees valued the work that’s being put into raising awareness on the need for sustainable practices in the cloud native landscape. Given that the majority also stated that they are very likely to apply the knowledge from our sessions in their projects, we can be somewhat confident that a mix of informative and hands-on sessions is a good recipe for future events, especially when sessions are interactive – our attendees are eager to discuss ideas and particular use-cases.

We asked people: What was the most interesting insight that you have gained from the events you’ve attended so far that enhanced your understanding of cloud native sustainability? The answers can be divided into a few categories. Most answers revolved around collecting data, raising awareness of sustainable practices, and adopting concrete tools to run more sustainable IT operations in the cloud.

Our attendees are aware that data collection on energy consumption and the actual carbon footprint of applications is crucial, and they signal the need for transparency from cloud providers on that front (Difficulty getting accurate carbon footprint information from energy/IT providers, to quote one respondent).

Our attendees also recognize the role that developers have in reducing the carbon footprint of cloud technologies. Thus, the responsibility for sustainable practices falls not just on the cloud providers, but also on their customers, who should consider “green” as an important priority when planning and developing new products. They mention technologies like Kepler, eBPF, Leafcloud, and Scaphandre as areas of interest.

A common challenge to adopting tools to collect data on carbon intensity and acting on them is IT strategy and knowledge gaps (17 responses each) on the one hand, and time and budget constraints (14 and 11 responses, respectively) on the other. This highlights the need for being efficient in communication around sustainability since most organizations have pressing priorities already, while at the same time being aware of the risks of oversimplification.

Embracing a global community

The Cloud Native Sustainability Week 2023 was an exemplary demonstration of how a global community can come together around a common goal. The event featured meetups in 17 countries and an online gathering that reached people from every corner of the world, showcasing its international reach and shared commitment to sustainability in the cloud. This collective effort highlighted the power of a united and forward-looking community.

The combination of physical and virtual meetings created a powerful sense of a global community, united by a common goal: promoting sustainability in the cloud sector.

To reflect the scope and energy of these meetings, we have compiled a collage of photos showcasing a few images from some of the meetups around the world. These photos represent not only the highlights and meaningful interactions but also the diversity and enthusiasm of the participants. Each image is a testament to the vibrancy and commitment of our community towards sustainability 💚.

Cloud Native Sustainability Week 2023 Meetup Collage

The Cloud Native Sustainability Week highlighted just how strong and dedicated our global community is. Every meetup, every online session, every shared photo is a piece of this vast mosaic of individuals and groups working together for a more sustainable future. This week of events was a clear demonstration of how, when united by a common goal, we can overcome geographical and cultural barriers to make a difference.

Looking ahead, the success of the Cloud Native Sustainability Week 2023 is an exciting starting point for further initiatives. We will continue to build this global community, drawing inspiration from this year’s successes and expanding our commitment to making the cloud native world increasingly sustainable.

A warm Thank You and looking ahead to Cloud Native Sustainability Week 2024

Summing it up, we would like to thank everyone who has supported and helped us make Cloud Native Sustainability Week 2023 such a success! All the attendees, local meetup and global virtual mini conference organizers, speakers, live stream guests and hosts, blog post authors and reviewers, social media engagers, supporting organizations and individuals – without YOU Cloud Native Sustainability Week would not have been possible!💚

Based on the astonishing engagement, activity and positive feedback we’ve received about the event we’ve decided to make it a regular, annual happening. We’re happy to announce that there will be a Cloud Native Sustainability Week 2024 event! 🎉 It’s currently in the very early planning stage, but what’s important is that it’s open for everyone in the community to contribute, engage and share ideas. We’ve opened a GitHub issue to track the organization of the event in an open and transparent manner – you’re welcome to leave a comment if you’re interested in supporting the event in any capacity. Thank you!

There are many ways you can contribute to making Cloud Native Sustainability Week 2024 even better than the previous event. Organizing a local meetup, writing a blog post, doing a live stream, helping with common organizational activities like creating artworks, presentation slides, surveys, social media promotion, suggesting ideas/actions etc. – as long as it’s related to the topic of cloud native sustainability and is in alignment with the event’s mission all contributions, big and small, count and are much appreciated! We would also recommend you to check out our recent “Getting started as a TAG Environmental Sustainability Contributor” blog post for even more inspiration on how to engage with the TAG ENV community and start contributing.

We’re looking forward to seeing you join Cloud Native Sustainability Week 2024! In the meantime, please check out our live stream and meetup recordings from Cloud Native Sustainability Week 2023 and blog posts, and join us in planning for Cloud Native Sustainability 2024 on GitHub!🤗

Also! We have worked with CNCF to develop a micro-survey to help us understand the sustainability challenges you’re facing and learn more about how organizations are tackling these issues. Take the short survey here!

Banner for encouraging to support and contribute to CNCF TAG Environmental Sustainability Cloud Native Sustainability Week 2024 by joining discussion in the dedicated GitHub issue: https://github.com/cncf/tag-env-sustainability/issues/290