15 October 2018

Talking about climate change and our impact on the environmentThousands of column inches over the past month have been dedicated to climate change. Donald Trump’s claims that it’s a falsity and his subsequent backtracking today have sparked conversations across the globe. Equally the announcement of new research has sent shockwaves throughout the world.

This week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC – the UN team monitoring global warming) released their latest report. It warns that we have 12 years to turn things around or face a climate catastrophe.

“It’s a line in the sand and what it says to our species is that this is the moment and we must act now,” said Debra Roberts, a co-chair of the working group on impacts, in the Guardian. “This is the largest clarion bell from the science community and I hope it mobilises people and dents the mood of complacency.”

In a positive step, today the BBC reports that the UK is moving towards a zero-carbon economy, with this week declared as Green GB Week. Although the campaign group Global Witness disagrees. They called the UK’s claim of being a climate change leader ‘laughable’. Unsurprising when you look at the UK’s ties with oil refineries and the likes of the Heathrow expansion and fracking.

A collective responsibility

We’ve seen a real rise in the push to combat single-use plastics throughout 2018. Restaurants are either cutting straws completely or replacing them with a paper alternative, for example. Plus, the reusable bottle, mug and straw markets are booming. More and more people are taking responsibility for the waste they create and the footprint they leave on the earth.

But, the individual effect of each person on the planet is invariably impacted by the businesses that facilitate modern life. If supermarkets continue to wrap food in layer upon layer of plastic, if the likes of Amazon continue to use huge packages for tiny products… the list goes on. Unless businesses and manufacturers change, the impact we can have as a population is to some extent limited.

So, are businesses taking the appropriate level of responsibility to protect the world that we live in?

For us, as part of the data centre industry, there is no denying that we are at the heart of one of the single most power-intensive industries. Our data centre facilities use enough energy to power all of the hospitals in Manchester. That’s why we’re committed to reducing the impact of this. We’re 100% carbon neutral and all of our energy comes from green sources. Equally, we look to reduce that level of energy consumption as much as possible by using efficient technologies and employing techniques like cold-aisle containment.

Making changes

That being said, of course there is always further to go. I’ve always dreamt of one day creating our own hydropower plant. So much so that we looked at sites in Wales and in Scotland. However these things invariably take a huge amount of time and resource to bring to fruition.

In the meantime, we’re looking at ways to improve our impact as a business however we can – from changing the single-use plastic milk cartons to encouraging more of the team to cycle or run to work.

Ultimately, the business world has to step up and take responsibility. The research suggested that carbon pollution must be reduced by 45% by 2030 – that’s a huge ask and something we can only achieve by working together.

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