Guide to Environmental Sustainability Metrics for Data Centres

by Paul Lin and Robert Bunger

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Executive summary

Many companies are now reporting on sustainability as a supplement to financial reporting. They are communicating their commitment to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) programs. The data centre industry has unique characteristics, such as high energy intensity, rapid growth, large power consumption and water usage that require specialised metrics. Standardising these metrics will help with adoption, improve benchmarking, and progress sustainability within the industry. We propose five categories, which include 23 key metrics for data centre operators who are in the Beginning, Advanced and Leading stages of their sustainability journey. We also identify the 17 most relevant sustainability frameworks and standards to guide data centre operators in target setting, reporting, and certifying.


As the world becomes more automated and digital, the data centre industry is undergoing rapid growth to support this transformation. As a result, energy consumption and overall environmental sustainability have come into focus. Data centre operators are making commitments on sustainability as part of their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) programs. In addition to social and environmental responsibilities, there are other drivers for reporting progress on sustainability

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