Data Centres Slow to Respond to Investors’ Sustainability Concerns

Despite evidence that ESG factors are increasingly important to investment in data centres, many in the sector have been found to be lagging behind in their lifecycle sustainability programmes. A report by global law firm DLA Piper showed significant growth in global data centre infrastructure investment, up from US$24 billion in 2020 to nearly US$54 billion in 2021. The report also said 94% of senior IT and data centre sector executives claim ESG scrutiny and due diligence has increased over the past two years, with 75% of debt providers and equity investors willing to pay a premium to invest in a site with strong ESG credentials. Yet research commissioned by Schneider Electric, a French energy management firm, has revealed sustainability action gaps in the IT and data centre industries. Data collected by Forrester, 451 Research and Canalys highlighted discrepancies between company policies and actual implementation. A quarter of participating IT professionals told 451 Research their firms had full lifecycle sustainability programmes covering all IT infrastructure, but only 14% were taking the actions needed to implement the programmes. A further 22% were identified as not addressing sustainability as a major focus. Pankaj Sharma, Schneider’s Secure Power Division Executive Vice President, said: The research is clear – the industry knows sustainability needs to be prioritised but challenges still exist to taking action and will take a collaborative effort to overcome.”  

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