While world leaders gather for President Biden’s climate meeting, the global carbon emissions show no signs of slowing down and the time is well past ambitious targets and nice-to-have treaties. Great efforts are being made, but our own industry still emits as much CO2 as the much-more-attacked airline industry. Data is at the backbone of every industry and we should take the lead to go green.

Data is the lifeblood of the global economy and the foundation of our way of life. Thus, it is not surprising that there are more than seven million data centers around the world, supporting businesses and powering digital transformation. What is more surprising – and most concerning – is that in 2021, a large share of these still run on fossil fuels. If we aim to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement, this is not enough.

Is your data green?

Digitization is moving faster than ever and around the world, industries are becoming more dependent on data. Despite that, consumers and businesses still have little to no insight to whether their data is green or not and no chance in making informed decisions when choosing services or suppliers. Our research shows that things would change if they could. People want green data, and they are prepared to pay for it.

We’ve asked more than 4000 consumers from around the world, and the results are striking: Almost two out of three believe internet companies should help fight climate change and one in two believe that business are primarily responsible to handle climate change – compared to politicians or consumers. Moreover, nine out of ten would opt for using web services that help fight climate change and as many as seven out of ten would be willing to pay more for green services.

So, going green is not only good for the environment; it is also good for business.

The last few years, we have seen the making of great plans, targets, and collaborations. The EU has launched a Green deal, tech companies are promising carbon neutrality – or more – and are signing pledges. Everyone is showing ambition. That is no longer enough. So today, and tomorrow, we will still have data centers running on fossil fuels, and the planet will keep on getting warmer.

We applaud the 300 business leaders who joined forces to urge President Biden to set an even more ambitious climate target. But the time for goals and plans has passed, and the data center industry is in a perfect position to act. So, let us forget about 2030, 2045 or later. Let us instead aim for 2025 by starting now.

Let us therefore immediately implement the following:

  • Certified green
    Consumers are worried about the climate, they are prepared to choose a green provider, and they are prepared to pay for it. Let us therefore implement a label for websites, streaming and other services that shows consumer and business if the data they are using is green. Only then can we change the conversation.
  • 24/7 matching
    Let us call a spade a spade; let us stop calling PPA:s and RECS carbon neutral. With 24/7 matching we can show that the energy used in providing the data is green, in real time, all the time. We have the technology, so let us use it.
  • Open up power saving technology for everyone
    The time is long gone to sit on technology that helps us reduce the carbon impact of our data centers. Let us freely share this technology among us, to give every player the same chance to help.

We are not suggesting anyone to sign a pledge or asking you to write a blog post about your sustainability work. We are simply urging you to do your part by turning your data green.