What does “sustainability” mean?
At its core, sustainability is the capacity to endure. A product can have the ability to continue on with few inputs or maintenance, or it can be destined to fail. A lifestyle can be sustainable or not, depending on work/life balance, exercise, family time, community. In today’s business world, sustainability involves looking at the macro context: the sustainability of the current state of the world viewed from both an environmental and a social lens.
Humanity is headed for a theoretical iceberg, even as the polar ice caps melt. Our current course is not sustainable. Land development, population growth, water usage, CO2 emissions, biodiversity, social factors like income inequality and access to basic health services – measure any of one of these and the math is frightening. Changing our course is essential, and it brings me hope to observe progress along the axes of Individual Behavior, Regulation and Business Strategy.
At an individual level, consumers are questioning their values and using purchasing power to move business; regulators are working to establish level playing fields that account for externalities not captured in current cost structures; and business is beginning to embrace its responsibility to find the overlap between doing well and doing good. Simply put, the way to “win” in business will change drastically over the next 50 years.
What does sustainability mean at IO?
Sustainability spheres at IO are as follows:
- Colocation: Our colocation services consume energy and therefore lead to carbon emissions. This is the source of the majority of our environmental impact as a company. On a side note, a digital economy is a net win for the planet.
- IO.Anywhere® and IO.OS®: Our technology platform consumes materials and energy in its creation, transport, use and end of life. Changes to our IO.Anywhere or IO.OS are amplified through all of the data centers we sell. It’s important to consider how even the smallest improvements to our product can enhance sustainability over the full product lifecycle.
- IO. Corporate: We operate offices, consume products, engage with stakeholders and perform a host of other actions that we strive to perform in a highly sustainable manner.
- IO employs hundreds: We have to create a safe, healthy, fulfilling environment for our people, for the employees of our suppliers and for our suppliers’ suppliers.
- IO.DNA: We have the opportunity to create a culture that embraces sustainability. Individual actions at scale are the way to create change.
Sustainability mandates at IO include the following:
- Increase the efficiency of our data center platform in its design.
- Enable the customer to drive efficient value creation.
- Lower CO2 emissions and water usage at our data center sites, at PBIO locations and for enterprise customers who use our technology on their sites.
- Minimize emissions from our supply chain, in logistics, and throughout our business, including emissions from corporate travel.
- Reduce materials waste in our factory and by extending product life.
- Choose environmentally friendly materials for our product and in our operations.
- Support partners and associates as they strive to achieve efficiency across the broader systems in which we operate.
- Improve the health, safety and fulfillment of our employees and those in our supply chain.
Part 2 in the Sustainability series: Value Drivers