The Vice President, Customer Satisfaction and Quality for Secure Power, Schneider Electric, Selena Nimerick has said that efficiency is the first step towards sustainability in business operations that involves global data services. She noted that the data centers industry, which consumes 1-2 percent of total energy and has focused on energy efficiency, is now shifting the conversation towards sustainability.

She quoted the United Nations (UN) definition on sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. She insists however that beyond the UN definition and the stakes of the industry, everyone must do better than just “use less.” The Schneider Electric white paper discusses reasons why data center operators and colocation providers in particular should prioritize sustainability.

According to her, colocation tenant requirements, as a leader for Schneider Electric’s customer satisfaction and quality team, “I place the highest priority on understanding my customers’ needs so we can meet them now and in the future. Along these lines, the first reason the paper outlines to prioritize sustainability is customer needs”.

“As companies, including the Internet Giants, take up space in colocation facilities and make public net-zero emissions commitments, they must report their Scope 3 emissions, which are emissions from their suppliers – including their colocation service providers,” Nimerick said. She added, “To increase reporting of scope 3 emissions, data centers operators can require their vendors provide Type III Environmental Product Disclosures that document the embedded carbon footprint of the product.

“Beyond reporting, tenants are also seeking providers who are reducing their Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) for renewables and alternative fuel sources. Circular economy programs like recycling for parts and batteries are also attractive to ensure waste reduction and reuse of materials.

She noted that Schneider Electric’s Energy and Sustainability Services works with customers, including some of the world’s largest data center operators, to reduce emissions and negotiate PPAs. “In 2020, our offers saved 134 million metric tons of CO2 on our customers’ end,” Nimerick said.

She noted that measuring and reporting emissions help to ensure companies hold each other accountable for our role in the ecosystem and seek out new opportunities for sustainability.

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