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Green Data Centres: 4 Pillar Approach Report

Climate action is now top of the corporate agenda. Regulatory and socio-economic pressures are forcing companies to act with greater urgency. In a world in which data use is growing exponentially, data centre (DC) providers increasingly face a pressing and existential challenge to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability.

Current Landscape

Everything that happens online is facilitated by a data centre. These vast facilities form the foundation of our internet. As such, their importance to today’s increasingly digital economies can hardly be overstated. However, as the footprint of DCs worldwide has grown, so too have the concerns regarding their environmental impacts.

Since 2015, internet usage has tripled. DC capacity is set to increase ten-fold between 2018 and 2025. There is a significant risk that the efficiency gains that have kept DCs energy use and environmental footprint in check thus far will be outpaced. It is within this context that the regulatory landscape has already started to shift.

In Europe, the EU Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact is a major plank in Europe’s bid to achieve climate neutrality by 2030. Elsewhere, the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) is already helping organisations set targets and timelines for a transition towards a net zero economy.

Our latest report looks at why the circular economy is relevant to data centers and presents a four pillar approach to green data centres. 

This approach allows for a more complete view of emissions, going beyond Scope 1 (direct emissions) and 2 (indirect emissions), acknowledging the significant impact of upstream and downstream Scope 3 emissions (all other indirect emissions from the activities of an organisation, including from sources that they do not own or control).

As the pressure on DCs to place sustainability at the forefront of their operations increases, circular economy can provide a strategic roadmap. Applying the three core principles to operations will not only benefit the environment and lead to long-term competitive advantage but will also enable organisations to deal with ever increasing regulation.

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