22 March 2021

Cleaning out the carbon skeletons in your I.T closet

By David Dzienciol, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer

Being successful in business isn’t just about reducing costs and growing revenue. Every business also needs to have a single, noble purpose because increasingly customers, teams, partners and investors all want to work with organisations who strongly advocate for things that matter on a broader scale.

Ultimately, the brand value of businesses boils down to quality but there is also now heightened scrutiny on social responsibility activities that, at face value, don’t have a cost impact on the balance sheet but in the big picture are critical to achieving success and an honourable mission.

Drawing a line in the sand

The value of drawing a line in the sand around subjects such as safety, diversity, and sustainability lies in the fact that increasingly, it’s these pillars of corporate culture customers are actively looking for, and for good reason too. Similarly, it’s how quality candidates make decisions about where they want to work and where investors want to take up equity.

To thrive today, businesses have to connect the relationships between things that are important to community and the more material aspects of bottom-line scrutiny. In a rapidly changing world, we’re hearing growing cries globally for more sustainable communities and economies. Being open to and empathetic with this sentiment is the right thing to do and increasingly what your customers want to see.

The need for sustainable data centres

Sustainability is a critical consideration for the technology industry. As the role of technology in society and commerce continues to accelerate unabated, the data footprint of every organisation is also bulging quickly. This is why tech is the economy’s fastest growing source of carbon emissions.

Digital transformation and the proliferation of technology cannot and will not stop accelerating because it introduces so much value to the way we live, work, trade and drive positive change – but it shouldn’t come at the expense of our natural surroundings.

Organisations of all shapes and sizes are adapting to a digital economy where data is the most precious of commodities and the volume of it – accelerated by cloud, IoT, AI etc – compounds with every innovation cycle.

As computers get bigger, faster and are employed in ever larger numbers to deal with this explosion of data, the amount of energy required to run them increases proportionately. That means data centres need to be as efficient as possible and organisations need to take responsibility for the carbon footprint of their I.T operations.

What comes NEXT?

Sustainability isn’t a line item on someone’s spreadsheet, there’s no one thing that an organisation needs to do to demonstrate they operate sustainably. It’s equally not just about someone’s personal passion or desire to change the world. The upside to operating sustainably has largely been proven.

This week we launched a passion program we have been working on for three years. A program called NEXTneutral, signifying an important sustainability milestone in this country. In its simplest form, NEXTneutral is a low-cost, zero-complexity solution that enables our customers to offset the CO2 from their I.T operations housed in our facilities.

Whilst a not-for-profit program for NEXTDC, NEXTneutral is hugely important to us because we know how meaningful it is to our customers. It’s a powerful tool that helps our customers take responsibility for their technology carbon footprint, do their bit for the environment, and connect better with what’s important to their customers – without any of the overhead or complexity.

NEXTneutral isn’t the start of our sustainability story. It’s the next step in our ongoing focus in doing everything we can to minimise the impact technology and digitisation has on future generations. More importantly, it’s a powerful tool that enables our customers to meet their own carbon reduction objectives.

Our focus on sustainability starts with designing, building and operating data centres that set new benchmarks for energy efficiency. It extends to investing in renewables such as wind and solar. And ends by offsetting the carbon emissions that couldn’t be avoided.

We also invest heavily in machine learning while developing frameworks and processes that ensure continual improvement is embedded as operational philosophy. For two years, NEXTDC’s corporate operations have been carbon neutral, complying with Government audited Climate Active requirements for procuring carbon offsets. NEXTneutral now allows us to welcome our ecosystem in and leverage the benefits of our own program – without having to reinvent the wheel themselves.

Partnering with market leaders

Carbon auditing is a complex task that involves strict compliance and reporting cadence that’s beyond most organisations. Which is why partnering strategically is more critical than ever when it comes to organisations meeting their own objectives.

Enabling our customers and partners to join us on this journey was something we all felt strongly about, but we had to do so without any of the complexity or overheads. We’ve simplified the process down to simply ticking a box to offset the carbon, like you would your airline ticket, and paying less than a cup of coffee to achieve it. Once in the NEXTneutral program, the carbon offsets issued by Qantas Future Planet – enable our customers to declare their I.T operations in our facilities to be carbon neutral.

If we can help you accelerate your digitisation priorities and drive growth, efficiently and sustainably reach out to our team.