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Equinix vows to curb greenhouse gas emissions of its global operations

Colocation giant Equinix is setting science-based targets to help guide its efforts to curb the amount of greenhouse gases generated by its global operations and supply chain partners

Equinix has vowed to curb the greenhouse gas emissions generated by its global operations and the activities of its supply chain partners by 2030.

The colocation giant has set a science-based target (SBT) for emissions reduction for itself to ensure the level of greenhouse gas emissions generated by its operations are within the levels needed to keep global warming at bay. It’s also encouraging its supply chain partners to set their own SBT’s by 2025, and Equinix is aiming to reduce by 50% the carbon emissions generated by the delivery of power to its datacentres by 2030.

According to Equinix, this measure will seek to ensure that the company’s greenhouse gas emissions are sufficiently low enough to keep global warming below 1.5°C, which is in line with the limits set by the Paris Climate Agreement.

Raouf Abdel, enterprise vice-president of global operations at Equinix, said datacentres are the “backbone to today’s economy” so this move is about making sure the company can meets the growing demand for colocation capacity while minimising the impact of its operations on the environment.

“We share the urgency of governments, the industry, and our customers that innovation and action are essential to ensure datacentres are more sustainable and reduce carbon emissions quickly to address the impacts of global climate change,” said Abdel.

Sustainability is a top of mind concern for Equinix customers and has been for some time now, he continued, and news of its 2030 target is designed to build on the progress it has already made on ramping up its use of renewables and the commitments it has made elsewhere to become a climate-neutral entity.

For example, Equinix is one of the founding members of the EU Climate Neutral Data Centre Operator Pact, which has seen the firm join forces with 25 other European cloud and colocation firms and commit to making the continent’s datacentre market climate neutral by 2030.

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The pact itself consists of a Self-Regulatory Initiative, which has been co-developed with the European Commission, and will see participants commit to making a series of changes to how their facilities operate that are geared towards making them more environmentally friendly.

As such, participants will be set measurable targets for attainment in 2025 and 2030 focused on improving the energy efficiency of their datacentres and reducing the amount of water used to keep them cool.

To this point, Equinix claims its datacentres were 90% powered by renewable energy between 2018 and 2020, and it is on course to hit 100% on this front by 2030. It’s also issued $3.7bn in green bonds to finance sustainability projects, and invested $14m last year on initiatives to create efficiencies across its sites.

Jennifer Cooke, research director at IT market watcher IDC, hailed Equinix for leading by example with its greenhouse gas emission reduction pledge.

“Equinix is leading by example to help create a more sustainable datacentre ecosystem. As illustrated by setting a science-based target, the company continues to make significant investments and progress in running highly efficient facilities and in buying renewable energy to reduce its impact on the environment, while demonstrating its commitment to transparency in reporting around its operational footprint,” said Cooke.

Michael Winterson, chair of the European Data Centre Association, said it is the responsibility of the entire industry – not just individual players like Equinix – to push the envelope on sustainability matters.

“Datacentres are essential infrastructure of not only the digital economy but of the entire global economy. We as an industry have a duty to ensure we are constantly finding new sustainable solutions to how we source and utilise energy, water, heat and refrigerants,” he said. “Equinix’s commitment to sustainable innovation in how they will achieve these Science Based Targets will accelerate the industry’s goals of offering climate-neutral services to customers by 2030.”

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