The global digital infrastructure authority, Uptime Institute, had previously announced a new Executive Advisory report series titled ‘Digital infrastructure sustainability – a manager’s guide’. This comprehensive executive advisory series will guide and support digital infrastructure operators to devise a successful sustainability strategy.
Uptime released the first installment of the series: ‘Creating a sustainability strategy’ and here is the summary for you.
Data centers and IT operators need a comprehensive sustainability strategy to reduce their environmental impact. A sustainability strategy will be successful if it has equal importance with other business imperatives.
Importance of a sustainability strategy
Most organizations must have a sustainability strategy to achieve a continuous, measurable, and meaningful improvement in operational efficiency and minimize environmental impacts. These efforts can help improve the reliability and resilience of IT operations, lower operating expenses, and prepare an operator to anticipate and address the emerging sustainability requirements. Therefore, companies that do not have a sustainability strategy in place, should take immediate action to develop a plan.
Data centers and operations teams must have the following to successfully execute their sustainability strategies.
- Systems for data collection and analysis
- Metrics to track key sustainability indicators
- Defined projects to improve operational metrics
- Willingness and commitment of the executive management to provide the operational funding, and necessary resources for plan execution.
Guidelines to implement a successful sustainability strategy
According to the report, an environmental sustainability strategy should abide by the following:
- For per unit of energy consumed, the work must be delivered most efficiently while fulfilling the IT operator’s commitments in terms of reliability, resiliency, and performance.
- Meet expectations of customers, investors, regulatory and other stakeholders.
- The strategy must be inclusive of all the owned, colocation, and public cloud operations.
- Give importance to these seven key elements while setting metrics and goals: reduction of GHG emissions, energy management, the inclusion of facility system efficiency, IT systems efficiency, water management, siting and design, and circular economy (reuse).
- Strategies must be designed for a timeframe of eight years or less.
- Planning should be led by a single executive who has the authority and functional capabilities necessary to achieve success.
- Involvement of all operating teams, service providers, and internal and external customers are necessary to implement a successful strategy.
- Complete integration with the organization’s financial and operational plans.
- Usage of existing data collection, metrics and reporting processes wherever possible.
- The sustainable strategy must have the same priority as reliability, resiliency and performance imperatives.
- There must be regular reporting of key metrics and progress toward goals at a corporate or regional level.
- The approach must fit into the organization’s planning time horizon, customer set, financial criteria and business capabilities.
- The strategy must be able to anticipate and incorporate future requirements.