The sustainability movement in the digital infrastructure industry is gaining irresistible momentum. The iMasons Climate Accord (ICA) was announced in late April and T5 Data Centers was one of the founding 33 members. Within a month, more than 150 companies across the industry spectrum – from hyperscalers, colocation facilities, financial institutions, and power utilities to product, service and software vendors – have already joined the cause. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have become a priority in boardrooms around the world. There are calls for greater environmental responsibility from all sectors of the industry, from customers to investors.
According to Michael Volkov, writing on the website Corporate Compliance Insights, sustainability is far from a passing fad – it’s smart business.
“Environmental, social and governance issues should be a priority for boards and management,” Volkov says. “The advantages of proactively tackling these issues are significant. A robust program addressing them can open up access to large pools of capital, build a stronger corporate brand and promote sustainable long-term growth benefitting companies and investors.”
While the talking heads on the financial news networks continue to debate investment strategies like retired professional athletes analyzing the upcoming season, a remarkable consensus has emerged around sustainability – it is widely considered not just the “right” thing to do, but also the “smart” thing to do.
Volkov says ESG investment funds grew by $70 billion in 2019 alone, and “These investments continue to increase in comparison to ‘traditional’ equity investments.” As investors continue to demand greater environmental accountability from companies, “they also are willing to partner and help companies address these important issues.”
Uniting the builders of the Digital Age
T5 recognized the iMasons Accord was a major step in recognizing this sea change in the digital infrastructure industry and was eager to jump aboard. “iMasons was established to unite the builders of the digital age,” says Dean Nelson, chairman and founder of iMasons. “The ICA represents an unprecedented collaboration between leading digital infrastructure companies to accelerate our journey to carbon neutrality. Today we are combining forces to compound the efforts of these firms to make meaningful and sustained progress toward that goal.”
As all the Accord signatories can attest, there is much work to be done. According to iMasons, there are 7 million data centers worldwide representing 105GW of power capacity, consuming 594TWhs of energy – or 2.4% of global energy consumption. As the need for global connectivity continues to accelerate, so will the need for data centers. Data center operations consume a vast amount of energy to power servers, routers, cooling systems, and other vital infrastructure. There is growing awareness across the industry that something needs to change.
Accord members have agreed to develop and adopt an open standard for tracking and reporting carbon emissions throughout a facility’s lifecycle, from construction to operation. This represents a critical first step in finding solutions to the industry’s energy conundrum and is intended to lead to greater energy efficiency.
Collaboration is key
The iMasons organization was founded on the principle that collaboration is the best way forward to address these challenges. And so far, the indications are very promising. Companies small and large across the digital infrastructure spectrum have formed innovative partnerships to develop the technology and practices that eventually could reduce the industry’s massive carbon footprint.
From a financial perspective, this is all good news. Technological collaboration and innovation have a way of generating positive ROI – a term all investors love to hear.
There might never be a social or political consensus on the causes or impacts of climate change. But it’s clear that there is a growing consensus in business that sustainability has tremendous appeal to both customers and investors and is therefore good for the bottom line.
T5 Data Centers is proud to be part of the iMasons Climate Accord and the global effort to reduce our industry’s carbon footprint. As a global leader in data center construction and facilities management, we have been helping our customers strategically plan and implement sustainable practices since 2008, from initial design through procurement, construction and operation. And we share the iMasons commitment to collaboration. Working with our partners at nZero, a 24/7 carbon management platform that gives NGOs, government agencies, and organizations the accurate emissions data they need to achieve net zero, and Cato, a provider of industry-leading software to unlock stranded power in data centers to greatly increase energy efficiency, we can provide customers with real-time, efficient and transparent digital carbon tracking and reporting.
We have even introduced our new monthly newsletter, Forever Green, highlighting innovative partnerships and important trends in data center sustainability. To sign up for the newsletter, click here.
Yes, there is a lot of work to do. But the time is now for sustainability.
To learn more about T5’s sustainable practices, visit the Sustainability section of T5’s website.