Meet Steering Committee Member and OrgLead: Niels Freier of BCG GAMMA

Posted on February 21st, 2022

Niels, who has a passion for developing complex software and data solutions, believes that technology alone is not sufficient for reshaping business and product portfolios for a low-carbon world; we also need to change the mindset.

Meet Steering Committee Member and OrgLead: Niels Freier of BCG GAMMA

Tell us about yourself, your interest in green software and your journey to the GSF

I’m a software engineer by profession, with a passion for developing complex software and data solutions. During my career, mostly in consulting with a few years as CTO of my own company, I quickly realized the impact software can have on the world. It's really shaping our world and at the same time guiding and changing how people act and manage their day-to-day life. I believe we can leverage this power not only for economic gain, but also for social good.

As an Associate Director at BCG, I want to take the time to share my experience and vision with my colleagues and the broader software engineer community to promote these ideas. And more importantly, I want to be part of the change.

What do you expect to achieve by working with the GSF and in green software in general? 

I want to help raise awareness of the importance of green software and the impact it can have on the world.

More and more, IT and digital services are leading the way in most, if not all, industries and I firmly believe we can support and contribute to this movement. We can start by improving our own direct emissions and in parallel, helping everyone else measure their activities and take decisions to reduce their impacts.

What obstacles do you see to the cause of green software? How do you think we can overcome them? 

The biggest obstacle is the lack of awareness. Take booking an airline ticket for example. We can now see the cost in terms of CO2eq(uivalent) and the respective equivalent for the journey by car. This small indicator is often not understood and is too far to be a true game changer to reduce emissions.  We need standards, tools, and best practices to change our mindsets as software engineers and most importantly as consumers. We need to be able to take sustainability into account just as we do with other key performance indicators (KPIs) like cost and security. 

We can start by asking ourselves questions like, “Do we really need to deploy a large cluster to run simple mathematical operations when we would maybe simply optimize the code a little bit?”

I am confident it would be worth it and at the same time intellectually interesting for the teams!

What other matters you would like to share with our readers about green software and sustainability?

At BCG, we believe in helping our clients reshape business and product portfolios for a low-carbon world and to foster innovation to step change climate migration globally. Technology alone is not sufficient; we need to change the mindset of the companies as a whole – generating positive impact for the climate and the organization overall. CO2 AI is one example of how we are doing just that, helping corporations to compute granular and accurate footprints of their activities and find the right set of abatement levers to create their sustainable strategies for the years to come.

Read Other GSF Org Lead Interviews

Ziliang Zong of Texas State University

Timo Muller of Leaders for Climate Action

Colleen Josephson of VMware

Henry  Richardson of WattTime

Anne Currie of Container Solutions

Adam Jordan of Shell

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Nilooka Dissanayake
Nilooka DissanayakeEditor & Content Creator