Green Cloud Transition & Environmental Impacts of Stock Exchanges : A Case Study of Nasdaq, a Global Stock Exchange Company

University essay from KTH/Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.); KTH/Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.)

Abstract: To address the issues of climate change and reduce the emissions released into the atmosphere, society and companies, including the financial markets, need to adjust how they act and conduct business. The financial markets are vital in the transition towards a more sustainable society and stock exchanges are a central actor to enhance green finance, enabling green securities to be traded. For stock exchange companies to stand tall and encourage a green transition, they need to be aware of their own internal environmental impact. As society is changing to become more service-oriented, so is stock exchanges. A part of enabling servitization is the usage of cloud services which not only enable companies to focus more on their core business, it also has the potential to reduce companies’ environmental footprint. This study examines the environmental impact of a stock exchange company and how it can be reduced by transitioning to cloud computing. The study uses Nasdaq as a case company and examines environmental performance data from major stock exchanges worldwide. The study furthermore uses the Multi-Level Perspective (MLP) to understand what enables and disables a cloud transition for stock exchanges. This study concludes that the main environmental impact of a stock exchange is Business Travel, electricity and heat for Office Buildings and Data Centres, although the order of these varies throughout the industry. Further, it is concluded that a stock exchange can reduce its environmental footprint by transitioning to cloud computing, in the best-case scenario, emissions are reduced with 10 percent and electricity usage reduced with almost 30 percent of the total usage. However, the impact of a transition is dependent on the rate of renewable energy used for the data centre. The study finds that a cloud transition includes enablers and disablers on all three levels on the MLP and it will most likely be incremental innovations together with a business model shift and technical traits of cloud that will enable and open the window of opportunity for a regime shift. It is concluded that technology or IT-security of cloud computing is not hindering a cloud transition, rather it is organizational culture, assumptions, financial lock-ins, and landscape protectionism that are disablers for a transition. To overcome those, and reduce the environmental footprint, stock exchanges need to work together with cloud providers to create use cases that are in line with the regulatory and financial requirements of a stock exchange.

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