Digital Realty has become the first data centre operator to reach one gigawatt of sustainable IT capacity certified in accordance with sustainable building standards, after adding six new green building certifications in the U.S., U.K., and Japan in 2021.
Having certified 34 data centers under the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star Certification program (67 per cent of its US-owned and managed portfolio), Digital Realty is also leading the industry in energy efficient building, and received the EPA Energy Star Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award for its efforts in 2021.
The progress was reported in their fourth annual Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report, demonstrates the company’s commitment to their ESG goals across more than 290 facilities in 50 metros across 26 countries on six continents.
According to the report, Digital Realty achieved 64 per cent renewable energy coverage globally in 2021, an increase of 14 per cent from 2020 – with 100 per cent renewable energy coverage for its U.S. colocation and Europe portfolios, as well as carbon neutrality in France. Digital Realty also expanded its renewable portfolio and added green assets to the energy grid, contracting for 118 megawatts (MW) of solar and wind to support its data centres in Georgia and Texas, bringing the total amount of solar and wind energy under contract in the U.S. to 910 MW.
In addition, progress was made toward Digital Realty’s 2030 science-based carbon reduction targets, with the business achieving a 42 per cent reduction in Scope 1 and 2 (direct and indirect) emissions, and an 11 per cent reduction in Scope 3 (indirect emissions within the company’s extended value chain). By 2030, Digital Realty has committed to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 68 per cent and Scope 3 emissions by 24 per cent per area, from 2018 levels.
Alongside impact made through sustainable building and renewable energy sourcing initiatives, Digital Realty also completed the issuance of two additional green bonds in 2021. Since 2015, the Company has raised more than $6 billion of green bonds through eight separate issues, and now claims to be the leading issuer of green bonds throughout real estate investment trust (REIT) sector and the data centre industry.
“The climate crisis, sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion are some of the most critical issues facing society today,” commented Aaron Binkley, VP Sustainability, Digital Realty. “How we respond to these challenges as a business is something we take extremely seriously.
“Solving them requires more ambitious thinking and radical action from governments, businesses, and consumers. For example, harnessing the power of data can help us innovate and scale the technologies required to deliver a sustainable environment for future generations. As data centres have become the central nervous system of the global digital economy, we have a responsibility to act. We are proud of the work we are doing in this area, but know we need to go further, push the boundaries, and accelerate our efforts across the ESG agenda.
“As we expand our global reach and customer base in 2022 and beyond, we remain committed to leading the industry in sustainable environmental performance and being a responsible partner to our customers and employer to the people who power our business.”