27 April 2021

Where climate change and digital transformation meet, opportunity emerges.

By Claire Sangster, WA State Manager

Recent weather events in Western Australia served to further emphasise the fact our climate is changing. It’s also adding to the awakening that businesses, and importantly, customers are taking notice and speaking up about our changing environment. As a business community, it’s our duty to listen.

As the need for organisations to continue the acceleration of their transformation and innovation agendas, there’s pressing need to find a way to combine technology and sustainability without stifling growth. This is unleashing a whole new stream of innovation.

We can’t turn back the clock and avoid February’s fires that destroyed >27,000 acres of bush around Wooroloo, or the devastating cyclonic conditions in April that affected the residents of Kalbarri. But we can take steps forward, and fuel new innovations that team technology and sustainability together to build a better future.

Science tells us these extreme weather events are only going to become more frequent and more intense due to rising carbon concentrations in the atmosphere. Actions taken today to counter carbon emissions now will have a huge impact on future generations.

To the point

Technology, data centres in particular, represent the fastest growing source of energy usage and carbon emissions globally. Today, data centres account for around 3% of the world’s energy usage. Alarmingly, that’s estimated to grow to as much as 20% by 2025. Fundamentally, this assessment is based on current exponential rates of growth in data volumes and information management strategies.

Investment in digital transformation continues to reap benefits across all areas of business in every industry vertical. Here in WA, world class digital infrastructure, global high bandwidth connectivity and direct, secure, affordable access to the broader digital ecosystem of clouds, carriers and IT services companies are delivering enterprise-wide gains across the state’s economy. As a result, our Government, educational institutions, and industry leaders continue to evolve their business processes.

Data growth equals carbon emissions growth

As businesses evolve, this growth in data comes with a burden of increasing amounts of energy required to run data centres where all this information is stored. As organisations continue to accelerate their journey to the cloud, the explosive digital footprint is firmly under the microscope and being called out as a long-term sustainability challenge.

The world’s largest technology companies and data centre operators – including cloud leaders such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google – are setting new standards with aggressive sustainability targets featuring commitments to renewables and carbon neutrality.

As community sentiment and regulatory compliance increasingly drives businesses to demonstrate sustainability credentials, doing everything possible to reduce the environmental impact of business operations also makes good commercial sense. This is especially the case when organisations partner wisely and deploy innovative solutions that get them further down that sustainability path with no complexity and minimal resource overheads.

Local, national and global customers put their faith in NEXTDC as a trusted partner to sustainably support their digital growth which is delivering outstanding productivity, cost savings and growth opportunities to industry.

Just when customers, communities and investors are asking for heightened sustainability governance, their journeys to cloud-based business transformation are accelerating. With it, comes a rising carbon debt.

Simple pathway to sustainable I.T operations

NEXTDC as an organisation is certified 100% carbon neutral, so we understand first-hand the complexity and resource challenges our customers face when building their sustainability strategies. We have spent two years building our own carbon offset program and the next step in our journey is to extend that program to our customers.

In March we launched Australia’s first Government-accredited carbon neutral data centre solution, to help organisations tackle sustainability challenges associated with digital transformation. NEXTneutral enables our customers to take their carbon debt generated within their NEXTDC data centre and offset it through the purchase of carbon offsets. This is achieved via our partnership with Qantas Future Planet, is an accredited provider under the Commonwealth’s Climate Active initiative.

NEXTneutral extends our program so our customers can also benefit from the purchase of Government-certified carbon offsets. This creates a no fuss, no complexity, carbon offset solution with no fine print. It effectively eliminates the time, cost and complexity that come with accurately accounting for I.T carbon emissions.

Managing digital’s future carbon debts

It’s increasingly understood that sustainable business is good business. Any company focussed on growth, and developing a sound, sustainable culture built around achieving optimal levels of environment, social and corporate governance, needs to keep an eye on the carbon footprint of digital infrastructure.

This is just the beginning of the potential there is for WA organisations to embrace the global digital economy. We have the critical infrastructure investments here in Perth which will continue to rapidly change the way we transact, partner and operate.

By eliminating concerns about the resilience, interconnectivity and the sustainability posture of digital infrastructure, resources are left to focus on innovations that drive growth, productivity and cost efficiencies that come with the advancing the journey to the cloud.

If moving the needle on your organisation’s ambitions to become more environmentally accountable is something we can help you with, reach out to NEXTDC.