Audit framework launched by Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact


Signatories of the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact (CNDCP) have announced the launch of an Audit Framework to assess and verify the compliance of data centre operators with the Pact’s Self-Regulatory Initiative (SRI), and make data centres climate neutral by 2030.

All CNDCP signatories have committed to a range of sustainability goals covering energy efficiency, use of green power, water use, recycling and reuse of waste heat, and the Auditing Framework is designed to provide the means to independently verify compliance with these commitments.

From next year, all CNDCP signatories will be expected to demonstrate compliance with the SRI using the Auditing Framework. Through this initiative, it should no longer be possible for signatories to simply claim adherence, and any organisation procuring data centre services will have an independent, auditable measure to assess environmental credentials. 

The CNDCP also hopes its new Audit Framework can be integrated into public procurement guidelines for the cloud.

Marking the launch of the Audit Framework, Michael Winterson, EUDCA chairperson, said: “Today sees the culmination of a detailed project to create a solid foundation to underpin our signatories’ commitments. With less than two years until compliance with some of our targets is required, the Framework marks an important acceleration in our journey as we place formal, independent verification of our environmental sustainability at the heart of the Pact.” 

“The implementation of the CNDCP Audit Framework marks an end to accusations of greenwashing across the industry,” commented Francisco Mingorance, secretary general of CISPE and Pact Board Member. “With this tool, signatories can demonstrate and prove the steps they are taking to comply with the far-reaching commitments set out in the Pact’s Self-Regulator Initiative. We do not know of any other industries that have taken such definitive steps to back up sustainability claims.”

The Audit Framework provides a description of the evidence required in order assess and verify alignment with the EU Taxonomy Regulation 2020/852 for owners and operators of the data centre facilities. By leveraging the process and evidence gathering required to verify compliance with the Taxonomy, the Auditing Framework also enables owners and operators to report against the CNDCP Key Performance Indicators for operational sustainability. In addition, the Framework will form part of Gaia-X verifiable credentials and become searchable criteria within its catalogue of federated cloud services. 

A range of accredited third party auditors, including Bureau Veritas, will be authorised to use the Audit Framework to assess and certify compliance of individual data centres, operators, or specific tenants with the terms of the Pact. The framework will prove indispensable for those seeking ‘green funding’ for data centre investment or specific digital initiatives. 

Many operators of data centre facilities are already certified against multiple energy efficiency and sustainability standards. Consistent with EU legislation recognising equivalent standards, the Audit Framework will provide an analysis of correspondence between European (CEN-CENLEC, EU Code of Conduct) and International (ISO/EIC) standards, when two equivalent standards exist and achieve the same or similar purpose. The Auditing Framework is also designed to adapt to future legislation in the field, such as the Energy Efficiency Directive, and enable the auditing and certification of data centres operators against future sustainability auditing requirements.

Similarly, the table of correspondences between EU and international standards will be completed by reference to American ASHRAE ANSI/ISA Standards which can be required by operators with a global footprint.

“This is a significant step for our sector, and indeed any sector,” added Matt Pullen, EVP and managing director, Europe, at CyrusOne, chairperson of the CNDCP, and EUDCA Board Member. “We will be moving swiftly to achieve certification and to act as a role model for other operators and other businesses by proving we do what we say we will do to protect the planet.”

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