An energy firm, Schneider Electric, has appealed to organisations to always measure their total carbon footprint, including outsourced information technology services from cloud and colocation providers.

The proactive approach, it said, would allow businesses to prioritise efforts towards impactful carbon reductions.

In its recently published white paper, ‘Guide to Environmental Sustainability Metrics for Data Centers’, Schneider Electric released comprehensive insights and strategies to tackle the challenge of what it called Scope 3 emissions.

The firm stated that as data centres shift towards renewable energy sources, Scope 3 emissions have emerged as the predominant contributor to their greenhouse gas output.

 Scope 3 has to do with indirect emissions from various sources within an organisation’s value chain, including business travel and waste management.

 Those emissions, it was learnt, remained the least reported and understood.

While acknowledging the push for data centres and other firms to attain carbon neutrality and net-zero status, Schneider Electric noted the need for a standardised approach to navigate the complexities of Scope 3 requirements.

It proposed a structured framework, outlining five key categories for environmental sustainability reporting metrics: energy, greenhouse gas emissions, water, waste, and local ecosystems.

 It stated that the intent was to streamline the adoption of those metrics, enhance bench-marking practices, and propel sustainability initiatives across the industry.

 Recognising the challenges faced by data centre operators in measuring and managing Scope 3 emissions, Schneider Electric advocated for a data-driven approach.

 The company stressed the significance of scrutinising outsourced IT services from cloud and colocation providers, aiming for a comprehensive assessment of environmental impact.

It acknowledged the current hurdles, including a lack of reliable supplier data, quantitative tools, and standardised accounting/reporting methodologies.

 To address these challenges, Schneider Electric recommended the establishment of a GHG framework that incorporates accurate carbon counting, target setting, and systematic reviews of data and emission sources.

 In addition to meeting environmental goals, it noted the strategic advantages of sustainability reporting, saying that it positioned companies as responsible entities in an environmentally conscious market while enhancing investors’ confidence.

At a time when many organisations focus on measuring and reporting Scope 1 and 2 emissions, Schneider Electric said it was offering a roadmap to enhance understanding of Scope 3 emissions and reducing environmental impact.