Sustainable software testing minimises environmental impact, optimises resources and enhances software quality through green practices, risk based testing and automation. Boby Jose, Senior Testing Manager at Sogeti UK, part of Capgemini, explains and explores the concept.

Sustainability in software development is a multifaceted concept which aims to use resources efficiently to ensure long term viability while minimising adverse effects on the environment, society and the economy. Sustainable software testing is an integral part of this approach, focusing on conducting testing activities that align with these sustainability principles.

Green software testing practices

Green software testing is a subset of sustainable software development that emphasises reducing the environmental impact of software throughout its lifecycle. The main objectives include understanding energy usage, resource utilisation and waste involved in testing to reduce harmful environmental effects. Key practices include:

  • Early problem detection: identifying issues, including defects, early in the development cycle to reduce resource usage and prevent extensive rework
  • Testing environment optimisation: minimising the number of test environments, and optimising the use of necessary environments
  • Test automation: automating repetitive and time consuming test cases to improve efficiency, reduce manual labour and lower resource consumption
  • Decommissioning redundant testing resources: removing unnecessary testing tools, test artefacts and resources to save energy and reduce waste
  • Testing resource optimisation: efficiently using available testing resources to minimise environmental impact and costs

Risk based testing strategies

Risk based testing (RBT) is a methodology where testing efforts are prioritised based on the likelihood and impact of potential failures. RBT optimises resources and reduces testing time by focusing on critical functionalities. This approach aligns with sustainability goals by ensuring that testing is thorough yet efficient, contributing to long term software stability. Key benefits include:

  • Efficient resource usage: by focusing on high risk areas, resources are used more efficiently, reducing energy consumption
  • Early issue mitigation: early identification and resolution of high risk issues enhance software stability and align with sustainability goals

Resource optimisation

Efficient use of resources is crucial for sustainable software development and testing. Resource optimisation involves right-sizing hardware, software, human resources and infrastructure to save costs and minimise environmental impact. Key practices include:

  • Periodic audits: regularly reviewing and updating test approaches and requirements to eliminate outdated tests and free up resources
  • Test data optimisation: minimising data footprint and redundancy to boost sustainability
  • Cleaning up environments: decommissioning test environments to reduce energy consumption after use
  • Off-peak resource use: Turning off non-production servers during off-peak hours to save energy

Testing environments

Creating sustainable testing environments involves using energy efficient hardware and optimising test environments to reduce the environmental footprint. Practices include:

  • Decommissioning unused environments: removing unnecessary environments to save resources
  • Cloud testing platforms: cloud platforms are utilised for flexibility and scalability, provisioning resources only when needed
  • Energy efficient data centres: using data centres with eco-friendly practices to support testing processes

Packaged solutions

Packaged solutions, or off-the-shelf software, offer several sustainability benefits. They can be implemented quickly and at a lower cost, reducing environmental impact compared to custom software. Key practices include:

  • Reusable testing frameworks: utilising reusable testing frameworks and scripts to avoid creating tests from scratch for each update
  • Concentrated testing on essential features: ensuring the test suite remains relevant for minor feature additions
  • Vendor compliance: leveraging vendor-provided automated testing suites and ensuring compliance with standards like W3C to reduce rework

Test automation

Test automation significantly contributes to sustainability by improving efficiency and reducing the need for extensive manual testing. Key benefits include:

  • Resource efficiency: automated tests require fewer servers and workstations, reducing resource consumption
  • CICD and DevOps practices: promoting frequent integration and testing of code changes to identify and fix issues early
  • Reduced manual effort: minimising the need for manual testing, which can be resource intensive

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Remote and off-peak testing

Remote testing eliminates the need for dedicated environments locked to specific testing types, allowing continuous utilisation and aligning with sustainable principles. Key practices include:

  • Off-peak testing: conduct testing during non-office hours to optimise resource use
  • Geographically distributed teams: utilising teams from different locations to perform testing continuously

Minimising software waste

Sustainable testing seeks to minimise electronic waste (e-waste) by ensuring software is thoroughly tested and free of critical defects before release. This helps prevent the need for frequent updates or replacements due to software issues, and by improving user satisfaction, the software can have a longer and more sustainable life cycle. Key practices include:

  • Post-launch monitoring: collecting user feedback and promptly addressing issues to extend the software's lifecycle
  • Quality assurance: ensuring high quality software reduces the need for rework and updates, contributing to sustainability

Net zero testing

Net zero testing aims to achieve carbon neutrality in the testing process by balancing greenhouse gas emissions with removal efforts. Key strategies include:

  • Carbon footprint assessment: precisely calculating the carbon footprint of the entire testing procedure
  • Emission reduction strategies: implementing practices to reduce emissions, such as reducing testing cycles, using energy efficient hardware, and optimising testing approaches and technologies
  • Renewable energy sources: utilising renewable energy sources to power testing environments


Sustainable software testing focuses on minimising resource consumption, reducing waste and considering the environmental impact of testing processes. By integrating green practices, risk based testing, resource optimisation and efficient use of testing environments, organisations can contribute to broader sustainability goals.

Embracing these practices supports environmental responsibility and enhances software products' overall quality and longevity. Sustainable testing is essential for creating a greener digital world, ensuring that software development and testing processes are efficient, responsible and aligned with long term sustainability objectives.