Data Center

Data Centers to Prioritize Environmental Sustainability

Bob Dylan famously wrote and sang, “The Times They Are A-Changin’” and this sentiment could not be more appropriate for the drastic transformation taking place in data centers around the world. But unlike the “anti-establishment” vibe of this 1960s anthem, what we are witnessing is social, political, and economic leaders and members of our society embracing the current perspective around sustainability in data centers.

Address environmental sustainability

Becoming sustainable has become a mantra for countries and businesses alike. While there are 4 types of sustainability: Human, Social, Economic, and Environmental, what I am addressing is Environmental sustainability. And environmental sustainability is about acting in a way that ensures future generations have the natural resources available to live an equal, if not better, way of life as current generations, according to the United Nations (UN) World Commission on Environment and Development. For example, limiting greenhouse gas emissions to curtail global warming and limiting waste so the world does not run out of resources like fresh water and fertile land.

It’s no secret that the world relies heavily on “the cloud” for new automation and increasing digitization. But the cloud is not just a few giant data centers. It’s a data center architecture with large, medium, and smaller data centers at the edge where they are closer to people. Many of the medium and smaller edge data centers reside in colocation facilities that provide space, security and power, and cooling. While the operators of very large, centralized cloud data centers have been setting goals and working towards net zero emissions for over a decade for their hyperscale facilities, they are now focused on making sure their data centers housed in colocation facilities are sustainable as well.

Accelerate sustainability efforts

While no single blueprint exists for how sustainability programs should be initiated and carried out, many colocation data center providers have started to accelerate their sustainability efforts based on tenant requirements. And, we have uncovered three other key drivers for colocation providers to prioritize sustainability:

  1. Attract ESG investing
  2. Comply with government regulations
  3. Increase business value

In addition to the core tenants requiring colocation companies to focus on sustainable practices, there are drivers around investors, regulators, and operators. Most socially responsible investors check out companies using ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) criteria to screen investments. This motivates colocation companies to qualify. Additionally, governments are making carbon pledges around the world and formalizing plans by industry including data centers.

New White Paper on prioritizing environmental sustainability

Considering environmental sustainability as an integral part of a business model for colocation operators can improve brand reputation, reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), improve competitiveness, retain talented employees, and increase brand value, which ultimately increases business value.

In Schneider Electric’s new White Paper #64 Four Key Drivers for Colocation Data Centers to Prioritize Environmental Sustainability, we discuss each of the four drivers in detail. So, if you feel like I do that the times they are a-changin’ and you want to be in the know about sustainability in data centers and start swimming before you sink like a stone, as Dylan would say, I encourage you to check it out.


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