April 21, 2023
4 min read

Is Google Workspace more sustainable than Office 365 and on-premises Servers?

In today's world, sustainability is a rapidly growing concern, and businesses are held accountable for their environmental impact. To help mitigate their environmental impact, organisations are expected to take action, from reducing carbon emissions to decreasing waste. One area where businesses can make a difference is in their choice of productivity software. In this blog post, we'll explore the sustainability commitments made by both cloud providers and how credible they are around completing them. You can then make your own conclusions.

🍃 At Cobry, we are committed to being more sustainable and, more importantly, being held accountable. We have a whole section of our business committed to our sustainability and also our services on how you can improve yours through making the appropriate IT technology decisions.

The Carbon Cost of Email 📨

Every email sent has a carbon cost, and that number can add up quickly for businesses with large email volumes. The carbon footprint of email includes the energy used to power the devices used to send and receive emails, the energy used by data centres to store and transmit emails, and the energy used to cool those data centres. According to a study by the Shift Project, global email emissions totalled 300 million tons of CO2 in 2018, which is equivalent to the emissions of 63 million cars on the road.

So... How do we calculate the sustainability of your collaboration and productivity platform? Well, the bad news is that neither provider offers a 'carbon email cost' metric, so the best we can do is assume that Microsoft 365 is running on Microsoft Azure and Workspace on GCP.

Well, we don't need to assume.

The facts

Both cloud providers have sustainability commitments. What we're going to do is present the facts. If you

Microsoft Azure:

  1. Carbon Neutral Goal: Achieved carbon neutrality in 2012; aiming for carbon negative by 2030. Source
  2. Renewable Energy Use: Datacenter sustainability includes renewable energy power. There's a commitment made to be pure renewable energy by 2025. Source
  3. Water Conservation Efforts: New server cooling methods to minimize environmental impact and reduce water use. Source
  4. Waste Reduction Initiatives: Switching from traditional diesel to less-carbon-intensive fuels for datacenter backup generators. Source
  5. Green Building Certifications: Not explicitly mentioned in the provided sources.
  6. Sustainability Reporting: Moving workloads to Microsoft Azure can reduce carbon footprint. Source
  7. Community Outreach and Education: Not explicitly mentioned in the provided sources.

Google Cloud Platform (GCP):

  1. Carbon Neutral Goal: Carbon neutral since 2007; aiming for 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030. Source
  2. Renewable Energy Use: Carbon-free energy includes wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, nuclear, hydropower, and storage discharge. Source
  3. Water Conservation Efforts: Aiming to replenish 120% of the freshwater volume consumed. Source
  4. Waste Reduction Initiatives: Zero waste to landfill target for global data center operations; e-waste recycling initiatives. Source
  5. Green Building Certifications: I couldn't find explicit information on their current green building certifications.
  6. Sustainability Reporting: Tools for accurately reporting carbon emissions associated with Google Cloud usage. Source
  7. Community Outreach and Education: Not explicitly mentioned in the provided sources.

On-Premises Servers

Running servers on premises is often seen as a way to have more control over data and reduce reliance on third-party providers. However, it's important to consider the environmental impact of running those servers. On-premises servers require a significant amount of energy to power and cool, and businesses are responsible for maintaining and upgrading them. In contrast, cloud-based solutions like Google Workspace and Office 365 rely on data centers that are designed to be energy-efficient and use renewable energy sources.

Cloud-based solutions like Google Workspace and Office 365 offer businesses an opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint while also enjoying the benefits of cloud computing. By using cloud-based software, businesses can reduce their energy consumption, decrease their carbon emissions, and reduce their reliance on on-premises servers. Additionally, cloud-based solutions are often more cost-effective and offer greater scalability, making them an attractive option for businesses of all sizes.


Sustainability is a critical issue for businesses today, and every decision counts when it comes to reducing their impact on the environment. When it comes to productivity software, Google Workspace is the clear winner in terms of sustainability. With its energy-efficient design and commitment to renewable energy, Google Workspace offers businesses a way to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their B Corp scores. So if you're looking for a more sustainable option for your business, Google Workspace is the way to go.

In conclusion, businesses have a responsibility to consider their environmental impact when choosing productivity software. By choosing a cloud-based solution like Google Workspace over on-premises servers or Office 365, businesses can make a significant impact on their carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future.

To find out more about our sustainability initiatives, click the link below:

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