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Switch to sustainable data centers


Segment    Family    Class




SDG Alignment

13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

SDG Target


Target Description

13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning

Level of Effort

Level of Effort Scale


1 -Quick Wins: solution involves adding criteria for the good or service being purchased (ex: certifications), minimal internal process changes.

2 -Long Term Adoption: solution requires some changes to internal processes and/or more capital investment (ex: digital transformation to reduce paper use).

3 – Disruptive Opportunities: requires significant investment and changes to internal processes (ex: retrofitting building)

Category Assessment

ETCH Procurement Process .png


•Evaluate the sustainability of current data center: Identify sustainability KPIs that align with company goals to determine the overall sustainability of the current data center. Examples include power usage effectiveness (PUE) and water usage effectiveness (WUE). Data centers can also be evaluated on their management of e-waste and their incorporation of circular economy principles

Conduct a cost-benefit analysis: Determine the costs of switching to a more sustainable data center, including the cost of migration, ongoing operational expenses, as well as the benefits such as potential energy savings and carbon emissions reduction

Assess whether the capacity of the current data center is able to accommodate future growth and increased demand of future computing resources. Sustainability may be incorporated in the process of migrating to a facility that offers both scalability and future flexibility.

Opportunity Identification 

Business: Cost savings as a result of increased energy efficiency and resource optimization

Sustainability: Overall reduction in carbon emissions, and particularly scope 3 emissions

Strategy Build & Execution

•Request a breakdown of the current data centers sustainability practices and determine if they align with the organization’s sustainability goals. Also consider their ability to accommodate future growth

Research sustainable data centers: If it is more feasible to migrate to a new data center, identify potential options for sustainable data centers. Be sure to identify all of their sustainable initiatives (e.g. using renewable energy, optimizing server utilization, cooling methods, e-waste management, water consumption)

Help create a detailed transition plan outlining the necessary steps for migrating to a sustainable data center, and set clear objectives to achieving sustainability goals (e.g. carbon neutrality, water conservation, energy efficiency). Key milestones, appropriate timelines and responsibilities should be determined for each phase. Consider aspects such as data migration, infrastructure setup, network connectivity, application compatibility, and testing.

Involve relevant stakeholders, including IT and sustainability teams, executives, and representatives from all departments. Gather input and address any risks and concerns that are raised regarding the migration. Consider establishing a cross-functional team to ensure that technical requirements across the organization are included.

Supplier Negotiation & Contract

•Identify any technical requirements and challenges associated with the switch. Evaluate infrastructure needs, compatibility of existing systems and applications, data security considerations, and network connectivity requirements. Collaborate with the data center provider and internal IT teams to address technical aspects and ensure a smooth transition.

Evaluate potential data centers on relevant KPIs including power usage effectiveness (PUE) and water usage effectiveness (WUE), percentage of waste diverted from landfill, or facility certifications such as LEED, BREEAM

Supplier Performance & Management

Request regular sustainability reports from the data center supplier tracking progress and performance on established KPIs

Resource Links

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