Over the course of the past year, the number of tech giants that have taken a more aggressive stance on climate change and their own environmental impact has seen a significant increase. Among others, Microsoft has pledged to become carbon negative, Amazon is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2040, and Intel has plotted a path to carbon-neutral computing by 2030.
Each company faces its own unique set of challenges. Amazon, for example, is heavily reliant on a delivery infrastructure that currently produces millions of tons of emissions, whereas Microsoft and Intel are not. However, one area that will require all tech giants to focus on is data centres. These computer server facilities consume roughly 1 percent of all electricity worldwide—addressing this and transforming them to be more sustainable will be critical if those tech companies are to meet the various zero carbon and energy pledges they have made.
It’s important to note that much progress has already been made on improving the sustainability credentials of data centres in the past decade. Despite the volume of computing increasing fourfold in data centres between 2010 and 2018, energy consumption only grew by 6 percent, thanks to the efforts invested in achieving efficiency gains.