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Equinix Moves to Sustainable Energy Sources

Dr Archana Verma 

We discussed with Jeremy Deutsch, President, Equinix Asia-Pacific to understand their sustainability goals

What are you doing to shift to renewable energy sources?

Equinix was the first datacentre company to establish a long-term goal of reaching 100% clean and renewable energy across our global footprint (announced in 2015). Globally, we achieved over 90% renewable energy in 2020 for the third year in a row.

Through 2020 alone, we made use of the purchase of renewables to avoid 1.95 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents, which is commensurate with 400,000 cars’ worth of carbon emissions. Further, our renewables purchasing strategy has helped us reduce carbon emissions by 50% over the last 5 years.

In order to further address the urgency of global climate change within our operations, our value chain and the broader industry, we recently announced our global commitment to becoming climate-neutral by setting a science-based target (SBT) for emissions reduction across our global operations and supply chain by 2030.

How cost effective is it and how long do you think you can sustain on renewable energy sources?

Over the last decade, we have invested heavily in our sustainability initiatives, through renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, along with our diversity, inclusion and belonging strategy. In order to address the urgency of climate action, we have continued to expand our environmental scope of greening digital infrastructure and aligned with key NGOs, partners and vendors on key partnership opportunities to drive sustainable business across our industry. We believe that certain efforts can also generate savings, such as when we implement energy efficiency projects at our existing sites. Our green bonds issuances have helped us invest in green digital infrastructure while taking advantage of interest rate savings. Certain types of sustainability projects have been, and we expect will continue to be, an investment on an annual basis, but we believe in general accelerating our attention to sustainability topics will have benefits for our customers and investors. 

We expect to continue to weigh the benefits and costs between buying more renewable energy in the regions we operate versus buying renewable that can be delivered to our sites. For every 1 MWh of electricity we use, we expect to buy 1 MWh of renewable energy. We are striving to continually increase the quantity and quality of the renewables in our portfolio. We recognize the ideal solution may be a 24/7 delivery of renewable energy to our sites and we plan to continue to evaluate renewable energy products with this in mind.

Apart from shifting to renewable energy sources, what else are you doing to reduce your carbon footprints?

In locations where it is possible, Equinix utilizes water recovery systems, rainwater capture and greywater recycling to bring down water consumption within our data centers. We are evaluating methods to reduce the embodied carbon in our building materials for our new data centers. The recently launched Co-Innovation Facility (CIF) showcases our work with innovative partners to pilot and harness advanced power, cooling and control methodologies that can be used in our future data centers.

In alignment with our target for 2030, we plan to drive energy efficiency savings, reduce refrigerant losses, phase out high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants and take advantage of carbon offsets. Setting our own SBT helps us support our customers in achieving their respective SBT supplier engagement targets. We are also deploying the best-in-class technologies and strategies to reduce the use of all resources.

As a leader in the industry, we believe it is important for us to partner with like-minded companies to advance low-carbon policies, sharing renewable energy buying knowledge and encouraging innovation to drive change. We shall continue to do what it takes to protect the planet and create sustainable value for all our stakeholders.

Are you encouraging your employees to adopt a sustainable lifestyle and work culture?

We consciously integrate sustainability into every aspect and all levels of our business. Through our Future First sustainability strategy, we are rallying our people and partners to envision a better future and then do what it takes to make it happen.

We believe that increasing employee awareness is critical to empower them to support and maximise our sustainability efforts. To foster a culture of sustainability at Equinix, we have implemented training modules on sustainability topics that are foundational to our work. This includes understanding climate change, net zero buildings as well as the benefits of measuring and reporting environmental impacts. By providing employees access to these on-demand e-learning modules, they can connect their daily activities with global environmental challenges. Further, we are leveraging new local employee engagement mechanisms to promote education and action on environmental sustainability by our employees and in our communities.

On top of taking care of our environment and our people, we also organized a fundraising campaign to alleviate the impact of ongoing COVID-19 surges in Brazil, India and the Philippines. We have also committed to donate US$2 for every dollar donated by our employees worldwide, working together to help those in need navigate these difficult times.

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