Data4 multiplies initiatives in terms of sustainable development. By joining the Climate Neutral Datacenter Pact in January 2021, the colocation data center operator has made a commitment to become net zero carbon by 2030. A mountain to climb recognizes Jean-Paul Leglaive, its QHSE & sustainable development director (photo).
Especially since the group held since 2018 by AXA IM-Real Assets is growing. With an additional €650 million in debt raised in April 2021, Data4 has announced that it will build 23 new data centers over the next few years and double its revenue by 2024.
Nevertheless, Jean-Paul Leglaive knows that he can count on the unfailing determination of his Executive Committee, which has made sustainable development one of the group’s three strategic priorities. An ambitious plan was put in place two years ago aimed at reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on the three scopes and contributing to planetary carbon neutrality.
Data4 began by measuring its main sources of emissions. A first report respecting the recommendations of the GHG Protocol was published at the end of 2021 relating to its activity for the year 2020. A second is about to be made public relating to the year 2021. We learn that its direct emissions and cumulative indirect emissions exceeded 47,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2021, an increase of more than 80% compared to 2020.
An increase to put into perspective. First, the group took delivery of seven new data centers in 2021, bringing their total number to 25. Next, part of its emissions comes from its electricity consumption, which is 100% backed by the use of Energy Guarantee Certificates. origin, which are counted as zero in the so-called “market based” approach.
In the end, Data4 rather highlights the advantageous curve of its CUE (Carbon Usage Effectiveness) which divides the GHG emissions linked to its total electricity consumption by the electricity consumption of its computer rooms. This has fallen from 79 grams of CO2 emitted per kWh consumed in its rooms in 2006 when the group was created, to 67 grams today.
A reduction in its CUE which it attributes to the many actions implemented over the past few years to improve its energy efficiency: adoption of free cooling, deployment of an in-house patented diffusing ceiling air conditioning system, implementation of refrigerants at lower emission factor, use of self-learning systems (artificial intelligence)…
Latest initiative to date, the signing of a partnership with the federation of private forestry unions Fransylva, to support PEFC-certified (sustainable forest management) afforestation projects in France, helping to create natural carbon sinks to store the equivalent of its residual scope 1 emissions (i.e. 2,700 tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2021).
Much remains to be done. But there is no lack of projects: the group is about to validate a biofuel solution for its generators. It is studying the replacement of its lead batteries by lithium batteries with a longer lifespan. It is testing the use of low-carbon concrete for the walls of its future data centers. A set of initiatives and others that figure prominently in the low-carbon trajectory project that it has just submitted to the SBTi (Science Based Targets) for validation.
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Data4 wants to become the benchmark for sustainability in the data center sector – ChannelNews
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