How We Worked to Build a Better Future in 2023

Our new sustainability report highlights the progress we made last year toward our sustainability commitments, but we’re just getting started

Christopher Wellise
How We Worked to Build a Better Future in 2023

Equinix recently launched our 2023 sustainability report. Our Future First sustainability strategy is designed to help us meet our long-term responsibilities to the planet, to our employees and the communities in which we operate, and to all the stakeholders who expect us to operate with integrity and transparency. While there will always be more to do going forward, today is an opportunity to pause and recognize how far we’ve come.

In 2023, we played a leading role in balancing the growth of the digital economy against the environmental challenges facing our planet and communities.

Lowering emissions and addressing the urgent threat of climate change

For the second consecutive year, we received a top score of A on the CDP Climate Change disclosure. This grade represents leadership in climate transparency and performance. Of 23,000+ companies that disclosed environmental data to CDP in 2023, less than 2% received the top score of A. We’re proud to be among this select group of climate leaders.[1]

We also continued to pursue a collaborative approach to climate action, encouraging suppliers to join us in setting their own science-based targets (SBTs)[2] to reduce emissions. In 2023, 25% of our qualified Scope 3 emissions[3] were covered by supplier-set SBTs, up from only 17% the previous year. This represents significant progress toward our supplier engagement target of 66% coverage of our qualified Scope 3 emissions by 2025.

Investing in clean and renewable energy

We have increased our focus on investing in power purchase agreements (PPAs) to support renewable energy projects worldwide. We signed 15 new PPAs in 2023 alone, surpassing more than 1 GW of renewable energy under contract to date. PPAs accounted for 10% of our global energy mix in 2023; we estimate this will increase to 25% when projects currently under development become operational.

The Björkliden wind farm in Finland

Pursuing efficiency and operational sustainability

Our efficiency investments helped us achieve an average annual power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.42. This is a year-over-year improvement of 8.8% from 2022, a clear sign that we increased efficiency across our data center footprint. We continue to pursue energy reduction initiatives to help us meet our target average annual PUE threshold of 1.30 or better across our global operations.

Beginning in 2023, for the first time, we disclosed to the CDP Water Security initiative[4] and reported our water usage effectiveness (WUE) performance. Our annual average WUE across all sites was 1.07. WUE is a measure of how efficient a data center is at using water to cool IT equipment, with a WUE closer to zero representing a more efficient data center. Our first WUE will set the baseline for our efforts to improve water efficiency going forward. We’ll continue to report our WUE annually, helping our stakeholders understand how we’re optimizing the use of water resources within our data centers and working within the constraints of water-stressed communities.

It’s impossible to separate a business from the society in which it operates. That’s why we worked to ensure Equinix made a positive impact on people in 2023—whether that means empowering employees or doing what’s right for the communities around us.

Fostering diversity, equity and inclusion

It’s a strategic imperative for our workforce to accurately reflect the communities in which we operate. That’s why we continued to pursue our ambitious goals around diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIB) in 2023. The metrics show that we made progress: 53% of our U.S. employees were from historically marginalized communities[5], a 6% increase from 2022. We also increased the number of women employees by 17% globally.

Attracting and developing talent

We strive to create a value-driven culture that attracts great talent. One way we did this during 2023 was by increasing employee outreach through our nine Equinix Employee Connection Networks (EECNs). These groups help foster a sense of community among employees, benefit the communities they represent, and help us recruit candidates with diverse viewpoints. For example, GenteConnect—the EECN for Hispanic/Latino employees and their allies—conducted a LinkedIn Live event to share how they promote inclusion and networking opportunities for new-to-career employees.[6]

We also continued our Career Pathways Program, a collection of initiatives that target non-traditional talent pipelines such as military veterans and former elite athletes. In 2023, 14% of our new hires came through the program.

Supporting our communities

In its first full year of operations, the Equinix Foundation provided funding for 47 different organizations dedicated to promoting digital inclusion. Examples include High Touch High Tech (HTHT) for All, an initiative of the Philanthropy Asia Alliance (PAA). This initiative aims to provide adaptive and personalized learning to help students in Southeast Asia overcome “learning poverty.”[7] The Equinix Foundation awarded PAA a grant of $1 million over 5 years to support this initiative.

We also empowered our employees to guide our philanthropic and community impact efforts. In 2023, a record 28% of Equinix employees participated in volunteering and/or giving.

Maintaining the trust of our stakeholders is an essential part of how we ensure the success and longevity of our business. To build that trust, we pursue good corporate governance principles. These principles set expectations around integrity, promote ethical behavior, and create processes to ensure accountability.

Governing social and environmental issues

In 2023, we completed our first human rights impact assessment (HRIA) to help us identify potential human rights violations in our supply chain. We will use the outcomes of the HRIA to enhance our due diligence processes, with a focus on high-risk categories and regions. Going forward, we will continue to conduct HRIAs on a triennial basis.

For the second consecutive year, we tied executive compensation to ESG performance. Leaders at the VP level and above have short-term incentive performance metrics that are directly tied to environmental and social progress.

Advocating and collaborating to make an impact

In 2023, Equinix was a member of approximately 60 different organizations throughout the world. These include trade associations and other priority groups like CEO Action for Racial Equity and the Clean Energy Buyers Association (CEBA). Also, 16 different Equinix leaders served as board members or chairs for data center industry associations.

We were also a founding member of the Asia-Pacific Data Centre Association (APDCA). This first-of-its-kind trade association will represent the interests of the data center industry in the region, while partnering with governments to develop policies around the security and sustainability of data centers.

Ensuring integrity and compliance

For the 10th consecutive year, we achieved 100% employee completion of our ethics and compliance training program. Our employees are responsible for maintaining our ethical standards; this training ensures they understand the expectations and are empowered to meet them.

We’re also working to build a speak-up culture around ethical issues, as demonstrated by our third-party Ethics and Compliance Helpline. Employees can submit named or anonymous responses to raise ethical concerns without fear of retaliation.

Learn more about the future we’re building

These are just a few snapshots of our sustainability program among many more proud achievements and ambitious projects we completed in 2023. We invite you to learn more about the progress we made in 2023. Access our interactive sustainability report today.


[1] The A List 2023, CDP

[2] Science Based Targets initiative

[3] Includes Category 1 and 2 Scope 3 emissions.

[4] Water security, CDP

[5] Includes those who identify as Asian, Hispanic/Latinx, Black/African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and Multiple. Calculation does not include those who declined to identify.

[6] Empowering DIB in New to Career: Exploring GenteConnect at Equinix

[7] High Touch High Tech (HTHT) for All, Philanthropy Asia Alliance

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