Astrid Wynne | June 30, 2023
Recently, we were awarded four stars by Support the Goals (https://supportthegoals.org/) in recognition of our support for the United Nations Sustainable Development. Stars are awarded when businesses publicly demonstrate plans, commitments, actions and progress towards the SDGs.
The UN Sustainable Development Goals – also known as the Global Goals or SDGs – are a plan to end poverty, extreme inequality, and climate change by 2030. Agreed in 2015 by world leaders, these goals can only be achieved with the support of businesses.
Not only do we work to reduce the environmental impact of the world’s surging demand for data, we also actively measure our own sustainability performance and identify areas for improvement.
A key strand of our own robust sustainability strategy is the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In 2022, we chose to focus on three goals and set six specific targets against these to achieve over a period of five years. To keep us on track (and accountable to our stakeholders), we recently published our annual report on the progress we have made towards these targets and what we need to focus on in the future. How did we arrive at these figures?
In 2022, we set a target of ensuring at least 50% female representation in company decision making by 2038 against goal 5 (gender equality). By early 2023, we had already smashed this by achieving 65% female representation in the senior leadership team.
For us, a key element around our support for this goal is ‘being the difference we want to see’. This is why the shortlisting of our (female) Head of Sustainability for a prestigious Institute of Director of the Year Award for sustainability is significant.
We also set an ambitious target to sponsor 10 female sportspeople to train professionally by 2028. In 2022, we began our sponsorship of female sportsmanship by funding kit for the Harrogate RUFC ladies rugby team. This is very much a starting point to work towards an opportunity to sponsor a professional team.
As we look ahead to 2024, we will be addressing our target of ‘achieving 250 hours of leadership training for young women across the world by 2028’ by looking for mentorship opportunities through educating bodies and charities. The first steps have been made already via initial discussions with the local charities that connect disadvantaged young people with mentors.
Our core business of saving carbon and energy for the data centre sector is irretrievably linked to Goal 12 ‘responsible consumption and production’.
As part of our goal to advocate for a sustainable future, we have made a commitment to promoting better business practice among our stakeholders (by 2028, to provide accredited sustainability training to over 500 businesses worldwide). One year after we committed to the UN SDGs, we are on target to achieve this goal, having provided recognised training to over 135 organisations. Over the last year, we have worked with international Circular Economy research project CEDaCI to incorporate energy efficiency data into lifecyle assessment tools. Our work has been used in the training of SMEs, larger enterprises and public sector organisations across North West Europe. In addition, we offer carbon and sustainability training through the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).
During 2022-2023, most of our training took place through CEDaCI. When our involvement in CEDaCI winds down in 2023, we will increase our education of the sector through our IEMA training courses.
One element of the goals we have not yet been able to build on is our charity commitments. Our target is to donate to 10 environmental charities worldwide by 2028. Inevitably, as we are in our second year of business, our focus is on building staff and turnover to ensure we have an effective business model. Now this is established, we are able to scope out charitable opportunities. Our focus here will be on environmental charities with a social benefit, such as urban farms and community action.
Delivering a world-leading decarbonisation solution means educating a market that has traditionally focused solely on PUE, to embrace a whole new way of addressing IT transformation and energy efficiency. Because our solution provides a new, more accurate way of looking at energy efficiency in these sectors, our senior leadership team have become adept at building awareness of the issues of climate change in our communities to help the sector’s role in meeting the associated challenges.
We have more than met our target of building awareness of climate change through connections with education bodies and through our communities (Goal 13, climate action). Since 2022, we have built awareness of climate issues to 787 organisations through appearances at 7 trade conferences.
Although much of this process has been an internal one, we are publicising our progress and being open about where we could do more. We're proud of the progress we've made, but we know there's still more to do. We're committed to continuing our work on the SDGs and helping to create a more sustainable future for all. Publishing our annual report on the SDGs has been a valuable exercise to keep our plans on track and to highlight where we need to focus our efforts in the future.
You can read the full report here.