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OVHcloud doubles down on sustainability with carbon reduction pledges

OVHcloud emerges as the latest cloud provider to reinforce its commitment to ensuring the growth of its business does not come at the expense of the environment

French infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider OVHcloud has become the latest provider to publicly commit to curbing its carbon emissions by ramping up its use of renewable energy and improving the design of its datacentres.

The Amazon Web Services (AWS) challenger used the first day of its virtual, three-day OVHcloud Ecosystem Experience event to reinforce its commitment to running its datacentres and wider business operations in a more environmentally friendly way.

As such, the company has set itself a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025 by powering its facilities with a “pure renewable energy mix” and is working towards generating net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

And that is not all, said François Sterin, executive vice-president for industry at OVHcloud, during a pre-event press conference, as the company also has plans to build on its long-standing push to achieve “frugality and efficiency” within its operations, which is characterised by the fact it builds all its own datacentre servers in-house.

“We have an obsession for frugality and efficiency and – in our case – what is good for the bottom line is also good for the environment,” he said.

“Because we assemble our own servers, we know and we can calculate and report the full lifecycle emission of our operations, including the manufacturing phase of our devices, and we want to reduce and compensate this by 2030.”

Sustainability is far from a new concept for the company, added Sterin, particularly where its datacentres are concerned, but there is still more work to be done, and the time to act is now.

“We recycle and we reuse our servers. The same for our datacentres. We reuse industrial buildings – 25 out of our 31 datacentres are former industrial buildings – and that is really good because it doesn’t create a lot of carbon emissions,” said Sterin.

“We basically do circular economy, and we’ve done this for more than 10 years, way before this concept became popular … and why we’re talking to you on that topic today is because we need to continue and even step up those efforts, for the next 5 to 10 years to come, even more – this is a long journey.”

Along with its focus on ensuring the way it operates is in keeping with circular economy principles, the company also earmarked several others areas where its efforts will be focused in pursuit of its sustainability goals.

These include driving up its use of renewable energy, enhancing the measures it has in place to monitor the resource usage patterns of its facilities, and datacentre design.

“We need to continue to monitor and optimise our consumption, continue to focus on efficiency,” he said. “We need to also leverage renewable energy and … maximise the lifestyle for components, and focus on what we do after the end of life for our components.

“But it’s not just about us. It is also about the entire ecosystem, our users, our customers and our partners. It’s not just about our own emissions, but how we can help others to lower their own emission as well.”

OVHcloud is far from alone in announcing its sustainability initiatives, as a slew of cloud and colocation datacentre providers have gone public with plans to cut their carbon emissions and increase their reliance on renewable energy within their organisations.

During the pre-conference address, Sterin went into further detail about OVHcloud’s own reasons for doubling down on sustainability at this time by making reference to how increasingly reliant the world and its economies are becoming on data to run.

“There’s a data revolution going on, but if it’s not done in a sustainable way, this won’t be [classed as] progress. So as citizen and as a company, we need to act now if we want to reach the targets that are set in the Paris Climate Agreement,” he added.

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