SWIFT: BT Carbon Impact Assessment helps satisfy the drive for a sustainable business model

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BT Advise professional services team uses a Carbon Impact Assessment to help SWIFT establish a roadmap to a more sustainable future

SWIFT messaging services allow nearly 10,000 financial institutions to automate processes, reduce risk, and improve efficiency. With that role comes accountability for better business practice.

As early sustainability measures took effect, Freddy Noris sought a partner for improving the efficiency of the company’s IT estate.

The BT Carbon Impact Assessment service has provided SWIFT with a carbon reduction roadmap involving virtualisation of its global data centres. Freddy and his colleagues are now confident of meeting their 2012 sustainability targets.

BT has a track record in reducing the carbon impact of IT, with awards to prove it. Choosing BT as a sustainability partner was not just about its experience, but about the relationship and trust between our two organisations.”
- Freddy Noris, Head of Sustainable Development, SWIFT


The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) provides the global financial community with secure and reliable electronic financial messaging services, transporting over 17 million transactions every working day.

Supporting such massive transaction volumes requires huge distributed processing power, and SWIFT recognises its social responsibility to reduce the carbon footprint of that estate.

Freddy Noris, Manager of Sustainable Development at SWIFT, explains: “We set ourselves a stretching goal of reducing carbon emissions by sixty per cent over the five year period to the end of 2012. We initially focused on low hanging fruit such as the use of green fuels, more energy efficient buildings, and reduced travel.”

As those early measures took effect, IT-generated carbon progressively increased from 25 to 40 per cent as a proportion of the whole. Reducing that burden became the next imperative.


With relatively few staff there’s little opportunity for SWIFT to reduce carbon through desktop rationalisation. The focus had to be on its main data centres in Europe, the United States, and the Far East. BT Global Services is one of four global network partners, offering IP VPN access to the SWIFTNet messaging platform.

The experience BT has in reducing its own CO2 emissions by nearly sixty per cent closely matches our ambitions.” says Freddy Noris.

The lessons learned from reducing its own carbon footprint have been embedded into the BT Carbon Impact Assessment (CIA) service. This provides information for a sound business case to lower energy consumption and reduce operating costs.

A BT Advise professional services team ran a CIA pilot in the data centre that supports the SWIFT intranet and application development and testing. This low-risk exercise was performed over a two-week period and enabled SWIFT to gauge the extent of likely savings and the actions needed to reduce its overall IT carbon footprint.


The CIA pilot demonstrated a clear case for data centre consolidation. Concentrating predominantly on Windows and UNIX servers, the BT consultants were able to estimate the net benefits that might be realised through virtualisation technologies using blade servers. This was extrapolated as a model for all main data centres, allowing targets to be agreed.

In fact, with virtualisation a conservative estimate showed the number of servers might be reduced by 75 per cent and their average utilisation increased from less than 10 per cent to over 30 per cent. SWIFT is now building a roadmap for server rationalisation and integrating this within its broader carbon reduction programme.

In addition, BT has long supported SWIFT in pursuing its green agenda. With a presence on every continent, travel at first accounted for over 25 per cent of the SWIFT carbon footprint. Now collaborative tools from BT are used extensively by staff at SWIFT regional offices, significantly reducing carbon emissions and costs.

Freddy Noris sums up: “We now have a clear view of what’s required and I am confident we’ll meet our 2012 carbon reduction targets.”

Core BT Services

  • BT Carbon Impact Assessment (CIA), a business-focused programme designed to estimate the carbon footprint generated by people, buildings, and IT, and offer pragmatic advice to help reduce CO2 emissions
  • BT Advise brings together 4,500 highly skilled BT Global Services experts who deliver consulting, systems integration and managed services around the world using industry leading processes and methodologies.


Case study

SWIFT case study

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