Schneider Electric Spearheads Data Center Sustainability, Targets Emission Cuts

Innovative Strategy to Tackle Scope 3 Emissions Unveiled by Schneider

by Oluwatosin Racheal Alabi

Schneider Electric, a global leader in energy management and automation, unveiled its visionary strategy aimed at enhancing sustainability and managing emissions within the data center sector. This strategic initiative comes at a critical time when the digital infrastructure’s environmental footprint is under increased scrutiny, especially concerning Scope 3 emissions, which encompass indirect emissions across a data center’s value chain, including aspects like business travel, waste management, and more.

Scope 3 emissions have become a focal point due to their significant contribution to the overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of data centers, surpassing the direct emissions (Scope 1) and indirect emissions from purchased electricity (Scope 2). Despite their considerable impact, Scope 3 emissions have historically been the least reported and understood segment of a data center’s carbon footprint.

Recognizing the pressing need for a more sustainable approach to managing data center emissions, Schneider Electric has undertaken the development of a comprehensive white paper titled “Guide to Environmental Sustainability Metrics for Data Centres.” This pivotal document offers a structured framework for data centers, highlighting five essential categories for environmental sustainability reporting: energy, greenhouse gas emissions, water, waste, and local ecosystem. The framework is designed to facilitate the adoption of these metrics, thereby improving benchmarking and advancing sustainability efforts across the industry.

Moreover, Schneider Electric has taken a significant step forward by emphasizing the necessity of quantifying Scope 3 emissions from the data center value chain. In its groundbreaking white paper “Recommended Inventory for Data Centre Scope 3 GHG Emissions Reporting,” the company advocates for a comprehensive measurement of the total carbon footprint, including emissions from outsourced IT services such as cloud and colocation providers. This approach enables organizations to identify the most impactful areas for carbon reduction initiatives.

Addressing the challenges associated with measuring and managing Scope 3 emissions, Schneider Electric proposes a data-driven strategy. The company highlights the importance of a thorough evaluation of outsourced IT services, advocating for a holistic assessment of the environmental impact. However, obstacles such as the scarcity of reliable supplier data, the absence of quantitative tools, and the lack of standardized methodologies for accounting and reporting have been identified.

To surmount these hurdles, Schneider Electric recommends the creation of a comprehensive GHG framework that integrates accurate carbon counting, goal setting, and regular evaluations of data and emission sources. This proactive stance is not merely about fulfilling environmental objectives; it also serves to position companies as sustainable leaders in the market. By engaging in meticulous greenhouse gas reporting, including Scope 3 emissions, businesses can enhance their appeal to investors and customers who prioritize environmental responsibility.

A key component of Schneider Electric’s strategy involves urging data center operators to incorporate sustainability into their criteria for selecting equipment suppliers and service providers. The company advises seeking commitments from vendors to reduce the embodied carbon of their products and to make environmental product disclosures readily accessible. This initiative encourages the selection of environmentally conscious suppliers, thereby significantly reducing the collective carbon footprint associated with Scope 3 emissions.

Schneider Electric’s extensive approach includes a wealth of resources and tools designed to assist organizations in identifying and managing Scope 3 emissions effectively. These resources encompass an inventory of nine emissions source categories specific to data centers, alongside subcategories for precise accounting and reporting. Additionally, the company offers a modeling tool that estimates CO2 emissions by simulating energy consumption within data centers, taking into account variables such as power usage and efficiency.

In an era where the focus often remains on Scope 1 and 2 emissions, Schneider Electric emerges as a beacon of guidance, charting a path towards a more comprehensive understanding of Scope 3 emissions. Through its innovative tools and practices, Schneider Electric is paving the way for a more sustainable digital future, aligning its vision with global efforts to mitigate environmental impact and foster a greener data center industry.

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