As we turn the corner into a new year, company leaders are strategizing and setting goals for 2023. Sustainability will decidedly continue to be a priority. This year, Fortune reported that 58% of Fortune 500 CEOs they surveyed said they planned to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, up from 38% in 2021. However, just over half had a plan to reach the goal.
Transitioning ESG initiatives from written goals into actionable steps was a big topic of conversation on a recent virtual roundtable hosted by Jaymie Scotto & Associates (JSA) titled Infrastructure & Sustainability Predictions for 2023: What You Need to Know. Scott Hanna, Chief Revenue Officer for Cumulus Data, joined a panel of data center and telecom industry experts to weigh in on the near-term future of sustainability in the digital infrastructure industry. Check out the full discussion HERE or keep reading for an overview.
Sustainability in the Infrastructure Industry
Moderator Rob Powell, founder and chief editor of TelecomRamblings, started by asking how sustainability has manifested in the infrastructure industry in recent years and what work still needs to be done. From using drones to map out future data center sites to increasing construction efficiencies and lowering PUE within facilities once they’re built, sustainability is now being taken into account at all stages. Once systems are in place, tools like Google Cloud help companies measure and report on emissions associated with their cloud applications.
Hanna stated that Cumulus Data’s groundbreaking data center facility will usher in another option for companies searching for more sustainable data center options: a data center backed by 100% nuclear power. Cumulus Data’s flagship data center campus in northeast Pennsylvania will be powered by a direct connection to the adjacent Susquehanna nuclear power plant, delivering zero-carbon, low-cost, and reliable power to its data center facilities. With nuclear being zero-carbon and the most reliable source of electricity, it will be a major piece of solving the sustainability puzzle.
Turning Goals into Actions
The conversation progressed from why ESG remains top of mind and what new tools are in place to how. With no shortage of sustainability initiatives being implemented, the biggest question in 2023 will be how to start getting things done and how to better measure success.
“It’s likely that you’re going to see movement from a voluntary tracking system to mandatory tracking where we’re going to have a tiering system,” commented Hanna.
Hanna and other panelists agreed that creating a unified way to set and track key KPIs is the best way for all industries to benchmark their paths to net zero. Not only does there have to be consensus on what to measure and track, but people within organizations need to step up and make tough choices if the company direction doesn’t align with its sustainability goals.
How Will Nuclear Energy Advance Infrastructure Sustainability?
Hanna posed the question: How do we use renewable energy, which can be intermittent, to consistently power facilities? Strides have been made with renewable sources, however, they typically must be backstopped by another source of non-renewable energy preventing full adoption. With nuclear power being the most reliable form of carbon-free energy, Hanna said utilizing that further is important.
The White House administration recently announced $150 million in funding to enhance nuclear energy research and development, and a major breakthrough with a nuclear fusion reaction creating a net energy gain bodes well for the future of nuclear power. It’s continued proof that nuclear power is a viable source of reliable, zero-carbon energy for data centers.
Check out the full virtual roundtable discussion to hear more about successfully tracking and measuring sustainability and how companies can better approach ESG initiatives. If you have questions about our nuclear-powered data center, contact us any time.