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Schneider Electric launches comprehensive sustainability framework for data centre operators

By Catherine Knowles
Tue 18 Jan 2022

Schneider Electric has released a comprehensive novel framework for environmentally sustainable data centers.

The industry-first framework proposes five areas of environmental impact inclusive of key metrics for data center operators in various stages of their sustainability journeys.

By leveraging the framework, operators can mitigate the impact data centers have on the environment, the company states.

On the rationale behind the framework, Schneider Electric states, data centers are responsible for up to 2% of the world's carbon emissions, equivalent to that of the airline industry.

To contend with an increase in digital bandwidth and IT-sector electricity demand, the industry demands a holistic and standardised approach to environmental sustainability.

Schneider Electric executive vice president secure power division Pankaj Sharma says, "Environmental sustainability reporting is a growing focus for many data center operators.

"Yet, the industry lacks a standardised approach for implementing, measuring, and reporting on environmental impact.

"Schneider Electric developed a holistic framework with standardised metrics to guide operators and the industry at large. Our intention with this framework is to improve benchmarking and progress toward environmental sustainability to protect natural resources for future generations.”

IDC program vice president for the Datacenter and Support Services Program Rob Brothers says, "The data center industry has made significant progress in increasing energy efficiency; however, as digital demands increase they must remain committed to driving long-term broader sustainability initiatives.

"You can't have an impact on what you don't measure; therefore, companies must establish clear and consistent metrics that account for not only efficient technology, but also the consumption (or possible destruction) of natural resources such as water, land and biodiversity."

Mounting pressures from investors, regulators, shareholders, customers and employees also drive the need for improved environmental-impact reporting in data center operations, Schneider Electric states.

However, many data center operators lack sustainability expertise and face a daunting task of determining what metrics to track and strategies to implement.

Schneider Electric's framework was developed by its Energy Management Research Center leveraging expertise from ESG experts, sustainability consultants, data center scientists, and data center solution architects to take the guesswork out of measurement and reporting.

The Energy Management Research Center was established in 2002 and has developed more than 200 vendor-neutral whitepapers and trade-off tools available for free to the industry.

Tracking and reporting on standardised sustainability metrics helps drive internal team alignment improvements and increases transparency for external stakeholders, including customers and regulators, the company states.

Implementing this framework also allows data center operators to:

  • Remove the difficulty of selecting impactful metrics for tracking
  • Improve communication and alignment with internal teams on sustainability objectives
  • Act on the data to improve operations
  • Enable regular and consistent reporting for external stakeholders (investors, regulators, potential employees, etc.)
  • Standardise benchmarking across industry peers around the globe

Schneider Electric works with technology companies and colocation providers to design, build, operate and maintain facilities. It operates as a digital partner that offers solutions for power, building, IT and sustainability facets of the business.

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