What is Net Zero Week and how does it affect data centres?
Sustainability in the data centre industry is, and always has been an important part of the data centre industry and companies’ efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. This week marks “Net Zero Week” in the UK, so we take a look at what it is, and its significance in campaigning for a cleaner, more eco-friendly world. Net-Zero Week takes place between 17 and 23 July.
What is Net-Zero Week and why is it important?
On 27 June 2019, the UK became the first country in the world to pass laws preventing our contribution to climate change. The bills enforced a net-zero take for the whole of the UK by the year 2050, meaning that the resulting schemes would counterbalance any remaining emissions by that time and remove the same amount of greenhouse gases. Other nations, such as the EU, have followed suit, and are also working towards that goal.
With this in mind, Net-Zero Week 2021 is a seven-day event during which businesses can attend free webinars that look at how companies can achieve their sustainability missions and shed a light on the importance of taking care of our planet.
There is a difference between net-zero and carbon-neutral in that the latter involves offsetting the carbon emissions produced in a business or home. Net-zero, however, is the lowest possible reduction of emissions via energy-efficient techniques. Offsetting is considered as a last resort to ensure the remaining emissions are balanced out.
It’s clear that climate change is damaging the environment, and that’s why we need to do our best to reduce our carbon footprint. Net-Zero Week aims to raise awareness of this and highlights the challenge to achieve it. It is important because it provides expert advice and information to help us all better understand the challenge and how to benefit from making changes.
What does it mean for the data centre industry and how are they contributing to sustainability?
The data centre industry, like others, has contributed to the sustainability of our planet for years. Several companies, such as Schneider Electric and Equinix, have commitment policies outlining how they plan to achieve their net-zero emissions targets in time for the date set out by the UK’s legal framework.
Net-Zero Week aims to provide an opportunity for data centre organisations to develop their strategies and help them meet their goals both personally and legally. Google Cloud, for example, says that in its data centres, it plans to run on full carbon-neutral energy by 2030, twenty years before the deadline. Other companies have similar targets, and with Net-Zero Week webinars, there is hope that they will be able to accomplish them.
Microsoft hyperscale plans prompt Lab3 New Zealand launch
Lab3, an Australian cloud migration specialist, has announced it is launching in New Zealand after being prompted by a surge in demand for cloud services and Microsoft’s investment into hyperscale data centres.
The company, which was founded in 2017, has appointed David Boyes as Chief Executive Officer and Rich Anderson as Chief Operating Officer. According to Companies Office records, Boyes and Anderson each have a 10% share in Lab3’s New Zealand business. Commenting on cloud migration, Boyes said: “Across New Zealand, in government and every industry sector, organisations are looking to migrate to the cloud to modernise their technology environments.” He added that the Coronavirus pandemic was fuelling a “ need to tap into the power of data, facilitate remote work and meet public expectations of a virtual world.”
Chris Cook, Group CEO of Lab3 said the business was "first and foremost about client success" which drives the company’s product innovation and motivation to expand into New Zealand. “We look forward to working closely with Microsoft to deliver more for New Zealand clients,” he said.
Microsoft’s New Zealand hyperscale data centre investment plan
Microsoft’s investment into a hyperscale data centre region in New Zealand meant the resulting facilities will aim to provide several organisations with access to the security and scalability of a public cloud without sending data offshore.
Vanessa Sorenson, Managing Director of Microsoft New Zealand, said: “We’ve seen a tremendous acceleration in cloud migration over the past year as organisations have responded to global disruption and conversely, recognised the global opportunities a digital operation brings.
“Our research with IDC shows public cloud technologies are set to create 102,000 local jobs and add [NZ]$30 billion to the New Zealand economy over the next four years, so we’re delighted to welcome a partner of LAB3’s calibre to New Zealand, to help more organisations realise those gains even faster," she added.
Lab3’s clients include several fintech organisations, a global software vendor, Australian federal and state government agencies, and insurance and banking corporations. The company employs over 200 staff and has three advanced specialisations across migrations, Azure virtual desktop, and security.