How Equinix is Protecting, Connecting and Powering a More Sustainable Digital World

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day

Jennifer Ruch
Sujata Narayan

Earth Day was launched on April 22, 1970 when 20 million Americans came together to create a better way forward for a planet facing a growing pollution and climate crisis. And, as evidence mounts underscoring the linkage between the health of our planet and human health, the “climate action” theme for is all the more relevant. At Equinix, we understand the urgency of global climate change as a threat and risk to the world. And, as a digital leader, we are harnessing the power of technology and interconnection to create a more sustainable future for all.

Sustainability at Equinix

Equinix is proud to approach our sustainability efforts in the same agile way we solve our customers’ business challenges and are committed to a path of long-term sustainable growth.

Read More
Text EARTH DAY and fresh tropical leaves on white background
The data center industry is greener than many other sectors. In 2018, data centers accounted for about 1% of all electricity consumed globally – the same share they consumed in 2010.

Aligning our impact with the UN SDGs

Adopted by 193 countries in 2015, the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (To maximize our impact, we have prioritized our alignment to the six SDGs below where we believe our business can have the greatest impact, and three of these (7, 9, 13) are focused on the environment.

SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy

Despite explosive growth in internet traffic, the . At Equinix we are prioritizing using energy as efficiently as possible and ensuring that we are reducing our climate impact through the use of renewable and clean energy. We were the first in our industry to announce a goal to use 100% clean and renewable energy across our portfolio, and we are currently at 92% of this goal globally. Since announcing our goal, we have invested in numerous contracts for clean and renewable energy and leveraged our buying power to promote the deployment of new renewable energy generation sources and favorable renewable energy policies. As part of our ongoing efforts to promote the transition of utility grids away from fossil fuels, we are a founding and board member of the Renewable Energy Buyer’s Alliance (REBA) and a member of RE100.

SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

By pioneering green data center innovations, building and operating the most energy-efficient data centers and offices in the world, we are managing the impact of our operations and helping to protect worldwide energy resources. Since 2011, we have invested over $129 million in energy efficiency upgrades, retrofits and improvements which helped us avoid 430,000 metric tons in carbon emissions over the same time period. Our global reach and scale of over 200 International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) facilities enable us to deploy cutting edge innovations in our data centers that benefit all our customers, such as machine-learning to maximize energy efficiency. Select achievements for 2019 include:

  • Reducing our annualized average global power usage effectiveness (PUE) by roughly 5%, even as we have grown organically and acquired new data centers
  • Covering 67% of our global gross square footage (data centers + offices) under one or more recognized green building standards such as LEED
  • Minimizing the impact of water consumption by approximately 4.8 billion gallons of water per year by leveraging fuel cells which consume no water

We also promote sustainability within our office environments through green building certifications and programs such as composting, recycling and innovating to reduce waste. Here are a few examples of how our team is advancing sustainability in our offices worldwide:

  • In Americas, single-use plastics have been removed and all furniture is 100% recyclable.
  • In Asia Pacific, the new Singapore headquarters combined four offices into one, reducing energy use by 25%
  • In EMEA, 64% of waste in London is recycled and all catering is delivered by bicycle.

 SDG 13 – Climate Action

Equinix recognizes the need for urgent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as part of climate action. Our growing share of renewable energy across our global portfolio has resulted in a

In 2019, Equinix also became a founding member of the U.S. Chapter of the Prince of Wales’ Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) CFO Leadership Network along with other industry leaders. As part of this initiative, Equinix supports the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures and we plan to assess climate-related risks as we continue to evolve our sustainability efforts.

SDG 6, 11 and 15 – Other Environmental Initiatives

Our environmental responsibility also extends beyond our own four walls. Through our Equinix Impact program, we have also contributed volunteer hours and donations to an additional eight SDGs (1-4, 6, 11, 15 and 16), three of which (6, 11, 15) are focused on the environment.

The Equinix Global Events team has made sustainability a core tenet of each event we oversee through working with hotels and restaurants to limit single-use plastics, recycling, sourcing sustainable event materials, etc. Some of our achievements for Connect 2020, our largest event of the year, included:

  • Diverting over 39,000 pounds of materials from landfill with a 55% recovery rate for materials
  • Donating leftover supplies and materials to a local nonprofit organization
  • Keeping about 8,000 pieces of plastic from entering the landfill by eliminating plastic water bottles and coffee cups

Our employees are another important way that Equinix extends positive environmental impact. The Equinix Impact program enables co-creative opportunities for our employees to give back to their communities. In total in 2019, Equinix employees dedicated nearly 5,000 volunteer hours to environmental causes. Through Equinix’s Dollars for Doers program, all volunteers are eligible to earn $20 per hour (or the local currency equivalent) to donate to the charity of their choice. These funds, plus donations made by Equinix employees and contributions from the Equinix matching gifts program, added up to more than $372,000 in contributions to environmental causes in 2019.

For example, at a volunteer event in 2019, Equinix employees built 500 filters for Wine to Water, impacting 5,000 people with clean water. These filters help families get clean water in hard to reach areas such as refugee camps or places impacted by natural disasters.

Equinix employees creating Wine to Water filters

Learn more about how Equinix is advancing positive environmental impact in our interactive sustainability report and stay tuned for the release of our 2019 report (coming soon).

You may also be interested in reading our previous Earth Day and sustainability blog posts.

Jennifer Ruch
Jennifer Ruch Director, Sustainability & ESG at Equinix Director, Sustainability & ESG
Avatar
Sujata Narayan Director, Corporate Citizenship