Press Release

Schneider Electric updates industry-first metrics reporting framework for data centres

Mon 9 Oct 2023

Spurred by the rising information processing demands of AI and machine learning, the data centre industry is tasked with undergoing rapid growth to support these new technology advancements, while reducing its environmental impact to net zero to meet global climate pledges.

In response, Schneider Electric has revealed a revised, standardised environmental metrics-reporting framework with business-critical updates to help companies navigate this challenge.

This is a revision of the original whitepaper published in November 2021, which was created to support and advance the data centre industry by providing standardised metrics for reporting sustainability. It was the first-of-its-kind Data Centre Environmental Sustainability Metric Framework.

“Data centre operators are using a variety of different metrics making it harder to compare and benchmark sustainability progress and performance.We need a standardised data-driven approach to align on where to improve and what to prioritise, as well as ways to identify and root out organisational reporting discrepancies in order to meet the expectations of stakeholders and governmental pledges,” said Pankaj Sharma, Executive Vice President, Secure Power Division and Data Centre Business at Schneider Electric.

The framework has 28 key sustainability metrics in five categories: energy, greenhouse gas emissions, water, waste, and local ecosystem.

Since data centre companies are at different stages in their sustainability journey, the whitepaper outlines the metrics across three reporting stages: Beginning, Advanced, and Leading.

The Beginning stage has six metrics that represent basic reporting for energy, water use, and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission – the core metrics required for every data centre. The Advanced stage includes more detailed metrics for energy, water, GHG emissions, and introduces two new categories, including waste and local ecosystem. The Leading stage adds even more detailed metrics to the existing categories.

As part of its revised framework, Schneider Electric has added e-waste as a metric, as well as segmentation for GHG emissions metrics by scope 1, 2 and 3.

“Through more credible and comparable data, we will be able to establish industry benchmarks for others to make valuable environmental changes. Without a unilateral approach to reporting, data centre organisations are at risk of losing vital time and efforts as regulatory requirements continue to grow in importance,” added Sharma.

Making progress on environmental sustainability goals as an industry means adopting standardised metrics for measurement, and making these metrics well-understood throughout the market and the data centre industry, as well as publicly reporting on them regularly.

“The data centre industry is advancing rapidly and delivering innovative solutions at scale to support the world’s growing digital transformation. Across all of our service lines, Iron Mountain recognises that without careful consideration to a comprehensive set of benchmarks, we are at risk of creating increased environmental impact,” said Mark Kidd, Executive Vice President and GM of Asset Lifestyle Management and Data Centres at Iron Mountain.

Achieving sustainable data centres is an ongoing process that requires commitment, investment, and collaboration across the industry. By implementing these strategies and continuously seeking innovative solutions, data centres can minimise their environmental impact while still meeting the growing demand for digital services.

“Measuring sustainability in data centres is not just an option, it is a responsibility we owe to our planet and future generations. By quantifying our environmental impact, we empower ourselves to make informed decisions that lead to meaningful change.

“However, isolated efforts are not enough. To truly drive progress across the industry, we must unite under a standardised framework. This framework will not only guide our actions but also enable us to compare, learn, and innovate collectively. Through measurement and standardisation, we can pave the way for a greener, more sustainable digital future,” said Vlad Galabov, Director and Head of the Cloud and Data Research Practice at Omdia.

This recently updated framework coincides with Schneider Electric’s recent launch of its EcoStruxure Resource Advisor Copilot, a conversational AI tool designed to help business leaders interact with their enterprise energy and sustainability data at even greater speed. General availability of the large language model will occur in late 2023, early 2024.

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