Febuary 15th, 2022
In the transition to a circular economy for any industry, the responsibilities boil down to designing out waste and pollution and extending the life of products and materials. It is important to realise that each element within the datacentre has a role to play to get closer to the attaining energy and efficiency roles. Even the humble lighting installed in the premises.
As a global society, we are incredibly and unsustainably wasteful. Today, we use 1.8 times the volume of resources that our planet can sustain, according to a report by WWF. Another study from the World Economic Forum states that one refuse truck full of plastic is dumped into our oceans every minute. If we continue, it is expected to increase to two per minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050 - m a situation that is very serious and one that calls for immediate action. For any business, this is as much a matter of ethics as much of business and profitability.
Addressing climate change issues must be at the heart of every company’s strategy. Data centres should be no different given the amount of heat and carbon they are known to generate. As the world continues to overuse its precious, limited resources, increasingly scarce materials will become more expensive and challenging to source. The only way to overcome this is to create a model of manufacturing products with minimal waste that can be upgraded, serviced, reused, refurbished, or recycled. Continuing the linear model of ‘take-make-dispose’ indefinitely is impossible, as we will run out of fossil fuels and other finite resources. The ‘dispose’ part of the model is already pulling us in the direction of adverse climate change, polluted oceans, and ever-increasing landfill.
Unfortunately, often outdated perceptions or a reluctance to change the status quo have been the main barriers in adopting this approach by the industry over the past several years. However, we are now witnessing a paradigm shift in the industry. There is a heightened awareness that has been driven by the outcomes of COP26 UN climate change conference, competitive incentives, new regulations, and government coercion is encouraging the move to a circular economy. The fact that many local, regional, and state government bodies are now formally committed to the transition towards a circular economy is a key motivator for businesses competing to sell products or services to these entities. In the long run it is the appetite for sustainability that will drive the demand for a circular economy.
As long-time advocates for the business and environmental benefits of circularity, we at Signify, advocate recycling and re-using equipment/hardware as we feel this plays a critical role in taking any datacentre even a step closer to its sustainability goals.