Data center innovations and the circular economy: Opening minds in Monaco

By Leigh Lloyd, Director of Sustainability, Yondr

Having previously written about the general willingness of the data center community to discuss and drive sustainability at the Datacloud Global Congress 2022, held in Monaco, I’d now like to share some of the more interesting conversations and concepts I heard, on and off stage, about sustainable innovations that could benefit the whole industry – and our clients.

It was the talk about cross-industry collaboration that was most heartening at the Grimaldi Forum. When thinking about sustainable solutions, we need to be smarter and work together with clients, suppliers, and beyond our immediate ecosystem. I was thrilled, for instance, to hear – for the first time – that heat generated by data centers might be used for food production in emerging countries.

We all have to be better at considering how our waste – in this case, heat – might help other people. The Nordic countries and Germany, in particular, are leaders in establishing circular economies.

A trusted and enabling partner for communities
Yondr is keen to work with local communities all around the globe to improve their lives in any way we can, be that with jobs, the economy, connectivity – obviously – and food production, maybe. In India, for instance, temperatures are hot enough, but by repurposing heat from data centers it could help fire up restaurants and feed more people.

This example opened my eyes to some of the possibilities, and we need more of this out-of-the-box thinking. Perhaps our engineers can consider potential circular economies as a criterion while conducting site selections? We certainly want to become a trusted partner that enables communities. 

But to understand what would be most beneficial, greater collaboration and knowledge sharing are essential. Also important is transparency, and some innovations are helping in this area, too. For example, it’s likely that regulators will soon require embodied carbon footprint data, so working with suppliers and partners to unlock this information now is vital.

In this spirit of collaboration and knowledge sharing, Yondr recently announced it had joined the iMasons Climate Accord alongside over 70 other companies. We acknowledge that the data center industry is lagging in carbon accounting and that an inability to measure embodied carbon accurately will slow progress to achieving carbon neutrality. 

By committing to initiatives such as the iMasons Climate Accord and being open-minded and exploring other innovations and ways to benefit society, we can keep sustainability at the top of the agenda for many years to come.

Get the latest news from Yondr