How to Build a Sustainable Digital World

Connecting organizations and ecosystems with responsible digital infrastructure

Diarmid Massey

In today’s world, sustainability is not only a responsible move, but a necessary one to attract new business and remain competitive. Ensuring that the advantages of our increasingly interconnected world come at the lowest possible impact to our environment—and the greatest benefit for the people, partners and places around us—is a collective responsibility for companies, governments and communities.

As the world’s digital infrastructure company, Equinix has been committed to adding value to our customers by building green supply chains that connect communities with minimal environmental impact.

During challenging times, acting responsibly becomes more critical than ever, which is why I recently sat down with DBS Bank, IDC and Oracle on “Sustainability – a Green Reset for Digital Transformation” Fireside Chat to discuss how industry players can come together and contribute to building a sustainable future in the digital era.

Protecting, Connecting and Powering a Sustainable Digital World

This interactive report shares how we engage our stakeholders – investors, customers, employees and others – to uphold and advance our environment, social and governance (ESG) commitments.

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Working Towards a Greener Supply Chain

One thing was clear from our conversation; the creation of a green environment cannot only rely on the contributions of just a single enterprise. The sphere of a company’s influence is no longer just within its own operations. Beyond the Scope 1 and 2 Emissions[1] defined by The GHG Protocol Corporate Standard, companies now are increasingly looking at Scope 3 Emissions, which include all indirect emissions that occur in the value chain of the company, including both upstream and downstream emissions.

As such, it requires true collaboration to achieve a sustainable future. Customers and partners now want to purchase solutions from companies that can demonstrate sustainable operations and help them “green” their own supply chains. As part of the buying process, more businesses are requiring proof of environmental initiatives, metrics and certifications that can help them meet their own sustainability objectives.

Colocation providers sit in the center of the sustainability discussion. This is because the digital revolution and the rise of digital edge requirements are putting pressure on data centers. As a result, many providers are expanding rapidly, leading to higher rates of energy consumption. This has led many in the sector to focus increasingly on sustainable development.

Paving the Way to a Sustainable Future

Growing sustainably has always been part of Equinix’s DNA. We have remained focused on creating shared value with our customers, partners, investors and employees, built on a solid foundation of good environmental and equitable practices.

Equinix was the first data center company to transparently measure and report our environmental footprint, including our global energy usage and carbon emissions. In 2019, we achieved over 90% renewable energy target, totalling 5,250 GWh, up from 34% in 2015. Our renewable energy efforts have driven down our carbon footprint by 60% since 2015, even as our overall data center footprint and energy consumption have doubled in the same period.  Far from slowing down, we are accelerating to reach our commitment of 100% clean and renewable energy across our global portfolio for ourselves and our customers.

We have also continued to make investments to improve our own operational efficiency and consistently looked for cleaner energy sources. For example, Equinix collaborated with other major data center and internet companies to encourage a power supplier in Virginia, U.S., to develop more renewable energy and offer a clean, flexible and dynamic grid. Another case in point is Amsterdam, where AM3 uses Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES), ultra-efficient computer room air conditioning technology and hybrid cooling towers to eliminate the need for mechanical cooling. All these initiatives enable us to be less carbon-intensive while expanding our footprint globally.

By building healthy and sustainable infrastructure environments, we are not only focused on mitigating the impact of our operations on the environment, but also helping our customers achieve their sustainability goals and connect with opportunities in their communities to drive positive outcomes. As a trusted partner, we deploy cutting edge innovations in our data centers that benefit all our customers, such as artificial intelligence to identify new energy efficiencies. Our digital infrastructure monitoring software, IBX SmartView™, also enables our customers to monitor power, mechanical and environmental conditions that can help them make better decisions to improve their energy efficiency.

Creating a Sustainable and Diverse Working Environment

Just as we empower our customers to reach new places, people and possibilities, we are also connecting our employees and communities to the best opportunities the digital world has to offer. We continue to invest in the employee experience with a focus on attracting, inspiring and developing a diverse global workforce. Our Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) program is evolving as we undertake careful, steady steps to create an equitable work environment for our people to feel fulfilled.  What’s more, we supported our employees to make a difference in their communities. Through our Equinix Impact program, in 2019 we donated nearly US$1.3 million to 1,150 charities across the globe.

When it comes to governance, our commitment is deeply rooted in our culture of transparency and trust. We respect the incredibly high standards that our investors and customers hold us accountable to, so we remain focused on equipping our employees with the training and knowledge needed to live our compliance principles, ensuring that Equinix remains a trusted and ethical partner. For the sixth year in a row, we achieved 100% participation in our global compliance training.

We believe that the opportunity to be the platform of choice for the digital era comes with the responsibility to be stewards of a sustainable future for the planet. Download our interactive sustainability report to know more about how Equinix is working hand in hand with customers and suppliers to grow sustainably.

 

[1] https://ghgprotocol.org/sites/default/files/standards_supporting/FAQ.pdf

Diarmid Massey
Diarmid Massey Senior Vice President, Sales, Asia Pacific at Equinix