21 Analytics: Our Contribution to ESG Standards Through Green Technology
Rust has been our programming language of choice since we opened our doors in 2020. Not only was our core product, 21 Travel Rule, fully developed in Rust, but all our in-house open-source projects have been developed in Rust since.
As a company, we understand that ESG standards require a holistic approach in all 3 areas, and software infrastructure alone does not meet the standards. However, Rust is a step in our journey to meet ESG standards through the software it helps build.
What is Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)?
In 2004 the United Nations (UN) and organisations within the financial sector set forth a list of recommendations to integrate environmental, social and governance issues within the financial market. This initiative, led by the UN, aimed to encourage companies and organisations to adopt 10 principles in the areas of human rights, work, the environment and anti-corruption, leading to the development of environmental, social and governance (ESG).
ESG is a set of socially conscious standards companies can adhere to when investing and conducting business. Companies committed to ESG standards will conduct business per its 3 pillars;
environmental - the preservation of the natural environment
social - the care and consideration of society
governance - how the business governs itself
By managing itself according to ESG standards, a company can positively impact the environment and those in it, which will positively impact the company.
How Does Rust Fit into the Equation?
Rust, a programming language, is one of the greenest programming languages available. What makes Rust truly energy efficient is not the code the programmer needs to write but the machine code the compiler generates. Many languages don't run on the machine directly but on a virtual machine (VM) or interpreter. By definition, all those languages waste more resources than languages that compile to machine code like Rust, C and C++.
Another source of inefficiency many languages have is the garbage collector. A garbage collector can be compared to an additional program that runs along the language program to manage memory. Again, programs like Rust, C and C++ trump other languages like Java as they do not need a garbage collector; the programmer manages memory. Specifically with Rust, this memory management is safe, and the compiler provides feedback to the programmer to ensure it is flawless.
Studies have shown that Rust is one of the most energy-efficient languages available to programmers; in fact, only C is more energy efficient. The studies considered 10 benchmark problems, execution time, energy consumption, and peak memory use were considered for the study. The study covered 27 different programming languages. Efficient software requires less resources and, hence, runs smoothly on machines with moderate performance profiles. This is not only saving electrical energy but also is a smaller burden on the infrastructure budget.
Rust Contributes to ESG Standards
Rust's focus on memory safety and the absence of data races can lead to more reliable and secure software. Which, in turn, can reduce the risk of system failures that might have environmental consequences. For example, Rust's adoption in developing firmware for IoT devices or control systems can enhance their resilience and reduce the likelihood of security vulnerabilities that could lead to environmental damage.
Moreover, Rust contributes to long-term sustainability. Its emphasis on performance and efficient memory management leads to software that consumes fewer system resources. This efficiency contributes to more sustainable computing practices and reduced energy consumption.
By promoting safer and more secure software, Rust can enhance data privacy and protect end-users from potential harm, improving digital well-being and safeguarding user rights. Rust's inclusive and diverse community also fosters an environment where people from various backgrounds can collaborate and contribute. An inclusive community aligns with social responsibility and reflects positively on ESG goals.
Rust has put together a small team (The Rust Foundation) who represent the Rust project and its member companies. The team is governed by a Board of Directors who act collectively to govern the Foundation per its Bylaws and the Board’s Terms of Reference.
The Foundation is an autonomous non-profit entity with a primary mission to oversee the Rust programming language, foster the Rust ecosystem's growth, and assist the group of maintainers responsible for governing and advancing the project while encouraging membership within the community.
The Foundation operates truly transparently: all meetings are recorded, and all reports, including its financial findings publicly accessible. The company is committed to Equal Employment Opportunity; this statement can be accessed on its website, along with all other findings and resources.