Equinix survey reveals half of businesses in Ireland say sustainability challenges are a threat to their business

Equinix, Inc., the world’s digital infrastructure company, has announced the results of research which uncovers a concern amongst businesses in Ireland about the consequences of failing to meet their sustainability targets. Equinix’s research found that as a result, 63% of IT leaders in Ireland have made reducing environmental impact a priority for their technology strategy.

However, many are struggling and half (49%) of those surveyed believe that the challenges they face in meeting their environmental sustainability targets are a threat to their business.

The research, which was carried out for the Equinix 2022 Global Tech Trends Survey, included 2,900 IT decision-makers globally, of which 100 were based in Ireland. The results indicate that the majority of businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental footprint of their IT, with 65% reporting that they are actively measuring and trying to limit the impact of their IT infrastructure and equipment.

The survey findings show that organisations that lack sustainability credentials could face severe business damage. More than half (55%) of those surveyed say they will only work with IT partners who can meet key carbon reduction targets. This is a fundamental consideration for their customers also, as 58% of IT decision-makers say their customers want to know that they are taking steps to reduce the carbon footprint of their business’ IT infrastructure.

The Global Tech Trends Survey also lifts the lid on the crucial role that data centres – the home of the cloud – are playing in helping tech decision-makers in Ireland to reduce the environmental impact of their IT infrastructure. It found that 56% of businesses in Ireland have plans in place to manage the environmental impact of their growing data usage and some 68% of IT decision-makers say that their data centre is helping them to achieve this.  Furthermore, 74% of businesses in Ireland believe that the cloud is an essential element in reducing their company’s carbon footprint.

The research found that almost all businesses in Ireland (92%) are now utilising the cloud, while 58% are moving more functions to the cloud this year. Meanwhile, 31% are increasing their spend on carrier-neutral data centres this year. As their reliance on data centres and the cloud increases in tandem with data volumes, 62% of those surveyed report that their number one criterion when choosing a data centre provider is its sustainability credentials.

Judith Gardiner, Vice President, Growth and Emerging Markets, Equinix, said: “With the increased use of data and technology comes a responsibility on all of us to not only find a sustainable way to manage this increase, but to proactively reduce the environmental impact of our entire digital footprint. Our research found that, like Equinix, 54% of businesses in Ireland have committed to science-based targets, which provide organisations with a clearly defined pathway to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and reach net zero. 

“No medium or large-sized organisation can achieve climate neutrality by themselves. They are relying on their partners, like Equinix, who share the same values and can help them to pursue a green agenda. The majority of businesses now realise that the greater efficiency gained from moving functions off-premise and to the cloud can significantly reduce their carbon footprint.

“The survey findings reflect our own experiences, whereby businesses will only partner with other businesses that can support their sustainability goals. As a digital infrastructure and data centre provider, it is right that we play a central role in the sustainable growth of Ireland’s digital economy. We must be able to show our customers that we will help them achieve their own sustainability goals and demonstrate how our colocation and interconnection services enable companies to operate more sustainably and with greater agility in the face of market uncertainties. 

“Equinix is an environmentally conscious business committed to climate neutrality globally by 2030. In Ireland, we have partnered with energy agency Codema to carry out a feasibility study to discover ways to reuse waste heat from data centres to heat vital public infrastructure in Dublin. We are also part of an EU-funded consortium that is developing low-carbon fuel cells that can power data centres.”

Equinix is continuously innovating to help reduce the carbon footprint of the world’s data centre industry, while also passing these efficiencies on to businesses. In January this year, Equinix announced the opening of its first Co-Innovation Facility (CIF) in Washington D.C., where it works with partners to develop and trial the latest environmental technology. One such trial, in partnership with a company called ZutaCore, aims to enable High Density Liquid Cooling, which minimises the use of scarce resources including energy, land, construction and water; and dramatically shrinks the data centre footprint.

Furthermore, in April this year, Equinix issued $1.2BN in green bonds, which will be used for sustainable projects such as green buildings, renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable water and wastewater management, waste management and clean transportation. The company is the fourth-largest global issuer in the investment grade green bond market.

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