ESG compliance: Is Private Cloud environmentally friendly?
The Earth has been through a lot.
Multiple mass extinctions. Unimaginable moon-forming collisions. Continental drift, ice ages, polar shifting – our geological and environmental history is rich. And pretty scary.
We modern humans have never had to live through anything like that. Well, except for the odd plague or tsunami. But besides those, all the hell that’s broken loose over human history has been mostly self-made. And so is the next epoch of life on Earth – the Anthropocene.
The environment, climate change, and the future of life on Earth are big topics. There’s no denying that these things are all changing – and the systems governing them are incredibly complex. What’s for sure is that humans are changing the shape and course of life on Earth.
On top of what we’re doing to the world, there’s what we’re doing to each other.
Increasingly, businesses are coming under scrutiny for how their operations affect the environment and society at large.
ESG auditing and compliance is an attempt to control and mitigate these factors, and conduct business in a sustainable, ethical way. Investing in ESG is a good thing for everyone – and shareholders are keen on it, after realising that there’s no point having lots of money if there’s no world left to spend it in.
So, what exactly is ESG? And what has it got to do with Private Cloud installations?
ESG: Environmental, Social and Governance
ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance.
How does your business affect climate change, pollution and raw material use? Does it optimise energy efficiency and recycling? For example, in an IT heavy sector, you’d investigate how much power do your servers and data centres consume, and how reliant they are on new hardware made from mined raw materials.
The S in ESG stands for social. It mostly focuses on the way your business manages things like employee rights, engagement and turnover, health and safety, satisfaction, diversity, equity and inclusion – but extends to the ethics of your business practices towards customers. Basically, does your business help all staff and customers prosper fairly?
This one deals with corruption. Who’s watching over management? Are leaders compensated disproportionately to workers? Is any area of the business or supply chain involved in bribery, corruption, lobbying or political influence? Is whistleblowing enabled – and are people who step forward protected?
Any business that uses, stores, creates and transfers data, at any scale, will have an impact in these areas. Private Cloud can improve the environmental impact, and perhaps the societal impact of data-driven businesses in several ways, which we’ll explore now.
Private Cloud – the environmental advantages
Historically, the industrial whales of data and content creation (journalism, media, software etc.) would have on-site data centres and server rooms. And that’s still the case across a huge number of businesses – but this is increasingly becoming environmentally destructive and dangerous to data security.
Read more – Do businesses really need Private Cloud?
One of the key environmental improvements Private Cloud can offer is in extending the working life of hardware. All you need to work in the Cloud is a good internet connection, and a device that can access it. With the ultra-low latency that Private Cloud offers, the computing can be done off-site. This means that an age-old laptop, mobile device or desktop is just as productive as brand new hardware in a Private Cloud environment.
This results in fewer hardware purchases – which doesn’t just save businesses money, it saves raw materials being destructively mined, intensively manufactured and shipped around the world.
Carbon and chemical output are reduced, and so is e-waste.
And speaking of carbon emissions, there’s the power factor to consider. There’s absolutely no way that an owned, on-site server room will be able to match the energy efficiency of a world-class data centre.
For example, our newest data centre in Miami, MI6, is so energy efficient that it carries ISO 14001 certification for sustainability. A Private Cloud installation at a purpose-built data centre has, over its lifetime, far less environmental impact than many smaller server rooms ever could. And this is achieved while giving businesses better security, redundancy, and performance than would be possible if they were to go it alone.
How do Private Cloud data centres impact local people?
It would be naive to assume that data centres are free of fault. They’re not completely perfect, world-enhancing solutions all the time.
The fact remains that they require power, and that land and resources have to be used to build them. They need utility connections. They need space. They need workers.
The data centres used for Private Cloud installations can, and do, impact local communities and economies. It’s something we have to carefully consider when we choose a data centre partner in this or any other country.
But it does appear, on the little data available, that data centres are good for social and economic progress.
In 2018, Facebook paid research firm RTI International to investigate the impact of its US data centres. Google commissioned a similar study in 2018, measuring the impact of its European data centres on local economies.
The findings? Google’s data centre investments in Europe supported 6,600 jobs per year on average. And for every $1 million Facebook spends on data centre operations, 13 jobs are supported elsewhere in the economy.
Are those jobs fair?
Internationally, data centre jobs are among the best paid in their respective communities – partly due to the scarcity of skills.
Data centre monopoly?
Microsoft, Amazon, and Google operate half the world’s 600 biggest data centres. This is a sticking point, because there’s a clear advantage among those with the means of production. The sheer scale and investment requirements of a data centre make it a particularly difficult thing to create and run independently.
There are only a handful of other competitors globally.
This makes it all the more important to do ESG due diligence when selecting a Private Cloud solution. Are these data centres run in a sustainable, fair, and ethical way?
At deeserve, this is one of our concerns – and an area that we strive to always be improving.
Private Cloud solutions for ESG compliance
At deeserve, we strive to build Private Cloud solutions that reduce environmental impact, and improve the lives and livelihoods of the communities they operate in. Want to learn more about Private Cloud for your business? Call us on 01509 80 85 86 or send your message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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