Climate change is on the radar. Since David Attenborough’s documentary, I have been more conscious as to how to reduce my carbon footprint. This rise in climate change activism means consumers are less likely to support companies which do not operate in a sustainable way.
This is a big problem for some names in the tech industry. Datacentres are at risk of being shunned like the coal industry if more sustainable practices are not adopted. Consumer awareness of climate change is rising. Therefore, the datacentre industry must do more to embrace renewable energy.
At the Datacloud Europe Congress in Monaco, Christoffer Svanberg from The Node Pole told delegates
“We have to put sustainability at the heart of our operations and do it not in a green-washing way, but in a proper way, because otherwise we run the risk of becoming the next coal industry,”
He added that time is of the essence because of the rise of environmental activism. He stressed that consumers are increasingly choosing companies whose outlook and support for sustainability related matters matches their own.
I have previously written a blog about the carbon footprint on the tech industry: the cryptocurrency impact on the environment. In terms of the environmental impact of a datacentre, U.S. data centers use more than 90 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, requiring roughly 34 giant (500-megawatt) coal-powered plants. Therefore, the scale of the energy and power necessary is huge.
Who should be Accountable?
Gone are the days where politics were solely held accountable. Businesses are expected to help sort this problem and take responsibility for their polluting habits and tackle climate change.
Therefore, businesses that use fossil fuels or any negative environmental techniques could find themselves at a commercial disadvantage. If individuals believe they could make a small change by switching a provider, it is most likely in the coming years these steps will be taken.
Svanberg urged companies to look at their investment plans to make sustainability a top business priority.
What would this include?
It is recommended that operators increase their use of renewable energy and introduce polices to reduce the carbon emissions generated by operators in order to stem climate change.
This could be done through using a data centre site which makes accessing these natural resources easier.
The Node Pole are promoting its Fossil Free Data labelling scheme for datacentre operators to make it easier to source cloud and colocation services from providers who operate their facilities in a sustainable way.
“[Customers] want to buy sustainable, achieve sustainable and they want to tell the world how they did it, and at the same time this industry should go sustainable, choose that path and tell the world about it,” says Svanberg.
As the nature of sustainability will be highly dependent on natural resources, this may be a more appropriate alternative.