Recently there has been a rising chorus of questions around whether developing strong environmental, social, and governance (ESG) programs is good for business.
Companies operating in the data center industry have answered these questions with a resounding “yes.”
For example, Microsoft and Amazon have committed to powering operations with 100 percent renewable energy by 2025. Microsoft has also committed to be carbon negative by 2030, and Amazon has committed to reach net zero carbon across its operations by 2040. Furthermore, nearly every major organization has programs dedicated to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I). These initiatives—along with health, safety, and risk management—are held as core tenets, particularly among data center operators who understand the value of protecting both their employees and their customers.
For data center operators, ESG isn’t just good business—it’s critically important to business. That’s because it’s critically important to our customers and our communities. ESG has become a cornerstone for many of the world’s largest consumers of data center services. Furthermore, investors are placing more importance on ESG: Gartner reports that 85 percent considered ESG factors in their investment decisions in 2020. In data center markets globally, investors are increasing their green financing options based on the idea that operators meet certain environmental metrics.
As such, we in the data center industry have a great opportunity to become leaders in corporate governance and environmental stewardship, build a more diverse and equitable workforce, and create transparent and safe workplaces.
Here’s how we can do it: together.
Environmental: embracing our responsibility for sustainability
According to a Statistica report, hyperscale data centers accounted for 86.58 terawatt hours of energy demand globally in 2021, which is up from 76.23 in 2020. Being responsible for that amount of energy consumption makes it important for data center industry players to find ways to curb power usage in alignment with the environmental goals of customers, policymakers, and local communities.