CyrusOne's Climate-Neutral Strategy
As a responsible corporate citizen, CyrusOne recognizes the importance of reducing its carbon footprint to contribute to global efforts to mitigate climate change and its associated risks. Consequently, we have taken several actions to address our climate impact from energy use and its associated carbon emissions. In this commitment, we include both the carbon emissions from our support infrastructure (cooling, lighting, power handling, etc.) and those of our customers’ IT equipment (such as servers). Overall, our targets are set to contribute to staying below 1.5°C warming, striving for the SSP1-1.9 scenario (a world of sustainability-focused growth and equality). To reach our goals, CyrusOne will upgrade the efficiency of our existing facilities, build new facilities with higher efficiency, increase renewable electricity at existing facilities, and start new facilities with renewable electricity.
Since our largest Scope 3 emissions category is “Fuel and Energy Related Activities” (the upstream emissions from extracting, refining, and transporting fuels, as well as distributing electricity), using less electricity and switching to renewable types will reduce both our Scope 2 and 3 emissions.
CyrusOne is a founding member of the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact—an agreement among data center operators, cloud service providers, and industry bodies in Europe to reach climate neutrality by 2030. By participating in this pact, CyrusOne is supporting the European Union’s carbon neutral by 2050 goal through a variety of targets related to efficiency, renewable electricity, water use, and circular economy.
In addition to being a founding member, our own EVP and Managing Director of Europe, Matt Pullen, is Chair of the CNDCP’s Board of Directors. As of the end of 2021, we procure 100% renewable electricity for our facilities in Europe.
Our last remaining sources of carbon in Europe are our diesel backup generators, a small amount of natural gas, and refrigerant loss. This represents less than 1% of our potential carbon footprint, so we purchased carbon offsets to balance the emissions from these minor sources, making our European operations climate neutral since mid-2021.
The first step toward more sustainable, efficient data centers is to decrease our environmental impact by increasing energy efficiency. CyrusOne's standard energy-efficient data center design incorporates efficiency at every level. The three primary efficiency strategies we employ are: (1) minimize data hall heat, (2) right cooling, right place, right time, and (3) supplier partnerships.
Even the most efficient data center still requires significant energy. Therefore, in order to reach our climate goals we are aggressively pursuing new renewable electricity contracts. In addition to helping us meet our goals, switching to renewable power can reduce both financial and physical risks. By lowering the carbon footprint of our power supply, we reduce our exposure to impacts from a potential carbon tax. Signing long-term energy purchase agreements allows us to avoid energy price volatility and maintain our rates during severe weather events that influence market prices. Renewable electricity generation is also less water-intensive and therefore results in a reduction of energy supply chain water consumption.
In addition to reducing our impact on climate change, we think about how the changing climate might impact our business—in other words, our climate risk. We understand that even if we mitigate our climate impact by reducing carbon emissions to zero, we will still need to prepare for the potential effects of climate change on our business. CyrusOne’s approach to understanding and addressing climate risk is multi-faceted. We consider physical risks of climate change such as changes in water scarcity and flooding, as well as transitional risks such as changes in regulations, cost to operate, and customer preference. By anticipating and planning for these risks, we can navigate the potential challenges of climate change.