Earlier this year, 25 companies, including hyperscale data center providers Google and Amazon Web Services (AWS), signed the new Climate Neutral Data Center Pact. It marked another significant milestone in the cloud services industry’s commitment to sustainability. These signatories, who also include CyrusOne, Equinix and NTT, have all pledged to make proactive efforts to contribute toward the transition to a climate neutral economy.
The Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact supports both the European Green Deal, which aims to make Europe the world’s first climate neutral continent by 2050, and the European Data Strategy by making EU data centers climate neutral by 2030. This self-regulated commitment has ambitious, measurable targets in five areas, including the reuse and repair of servers, electrical equipment and other related electrical components.
What makes this industry pact significant?
At a time when demand for electronics connecting to the cloud and server space is growing, the cloud industry is considering the long-term environmental impact of its activity. Sustainability has become a business imperative and continues to climb up corporate and consumer agendas. Organizations are turning their attention to reducing their carbon impact. The role of data centers in this movement is significant.
By making a collective decision to put sustainability at the forefront of their agendas, these data center operators are becoming the instigators of change in their industry. They have made a clear and measurable commitment to repairing, reusing and recycling their data center equipment. In the first month after its launch, the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact attracted 12 additional signatories, including industry giant Microsoft.
What targets have been set?
The reuse, repair and recycling of electrical equipment and other related electrical components is a priority of the data centre operators signed up to the pact. These industry front runners have committed to the following targets:
- Data centres will set a high bar for circular economy practices and will assess 100% of their used server equipment for reuse, repair or recycling
- Data centre operators will increase the quantity of server materials repaired or reused and will create a target percentage for repair and reuse by 2025.
How does reuse and repair contribute to becoming carbon neutral?
According to product lifecycle assessments (LCAs) produced by manufacturers, between 16- 65% of a server’s carbon footprint derives from production, with an average of 22%.* By reusing equipment as a direct replacement for purchasing new equipment, the carbon emissions associated with the production of a new server, router, switch, chassis or other networking component is avoided.
What should you expect from your IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) program?
At Sims Lifecycle Services (SLS) our vision is for a future where nothing is landfilled, where circularity prevails, and waste is eliminated. We value the material used to manufacture electronics and seek to manage, recover and preserve these important resources. Working with many of the cloud computing industry leaders we repurposed 2.1 billion cloud assets in the last year. Reusing equipment, through resale or redeployment, is more cost effective and provides better environmental outcomes compared to recycling.
To achieve goals successfully one must be able to measure progress towards them. SLS has developed a unique Sustainability Calculator to help contribute to our clients’ net zero journeys. This detailed reporting from the calculator shows the embodied carbon emissions avoided through reuse, repair and recycling of data center and IoT(Internet of Things) equipment.
With more electronic assets in use than ever before and great pressures on raw materials to meet growing demand, extending the life of today’s electronic product, parts and materials makes a significant contribution towards a more sustainable, circular economy for electronics. Reducing your carbon footprint by reusing and recycling your IT equipment with SLS benefits the environment and helps to battle climate change.
The SLS Sustainability Calculator makes this contribution measurable, allowing our clients to more closely align their ITAD programs to their corporate sustainability goals.
Find out more about our latest update to SLS Sustainability Calculator here: https://www.simslifecycle.com/global/circular-economy/
Find out more about the Pact at: https://www.climateneutraldatacentre.net/
*Based on 33 publicly available server LCAs. Mean average 22%.