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Equinix: Fostering a Commitment to Sustainability on Five Continents
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By Ken Phillips
Launched in 1998 as a multitenant data center operator, Equinix’s founding goal to provide the ironclad, high-performance facilities that innovative organizations need remains just as applicable today. Even the company’s name reflects its focus on EQUality, Neutrality, and Internet EXchange.
Today the company’s centers connect enterprises, networks, and services worldwide. Its customers include leaders in a diverse array of industries, including finance, government, healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation. These organizations rely on Equinix’s rich ecosystem of cloud solutions and services– as the foundation of their businesses. Connecting digital infrastructure and services on demand with secure, software-defined interconnections that draw on the power of the VMware stack, Equinix makes it possible for partners and providers to connect easily and securely anywhere in the world.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Equinix’s pursuit of service excellence is matched with an equally vibrant effort to achieve its sustainability goals. A pioneering partner in VMware’s Zero Carbon Committed Initiative, the company at the forefront of a growing effort among the operators of the world’s most advanced data centers to significantly lower their carbon footprint. In addition, Equinix is an strategic partner with VMware Cloud and Networking Business Units to advance high performance, low latency network connections for enterprise’ hybrid multicloud architectures and deliver global scale for Secure Access Service Edge (‘SASE’).
We recently caught up with Steve Steinhilber, vice president of business development at Equinix, to learn more about its efforts to safeguard the environment and achieve the transition to zero carbon clouds by 2030. We also learned why Equinix sees its commitment to its environmental, social, and governance initiatives as a cornerstone of its business development efforts and plans for growth.
“We believe in building a better future and that today’s actions impact our collective future,” says Steinhilber. “Equinix can play a positive role in protecting our environment and our climate. Our recent announcement to become climate neutral by 2030 builds on our previous pledge to reach 100% renewable energy. Since our renewable energy goal was set in 2015, we have been actively working toward the reduction of carbon emissions globally and increasing the impact of our procurement of renewable energy.”
He notes that change will not occur overnight.
“Power markets are complex and change is regrettably happening more slowly than the world needs,” says Steinhilber. “The transformation of economies to lower carbon business models will only happen through concerted efforts and critical partnerships. Working with a high-impact partner such as VMware to achieve these goals exponentially elevates our impact and will collectively accelerate this transition to a zero-carbon world.”
Following a ‘Future First’ sustainability strategy
Steinhilber says Equinix follows a “Future First” sustainability strategy in which the company and its partners envision a better future and then do what it takes to make that happen.
“The impact that today’s actions can have on tomorrow is top of mind in everything we do,” he adds. “As the leader in our industry, and one with a significant presence around the world, we have a responsibility to harness the power of technology to create a more accessible, equitable, and sustainable future. Through our platform, our purpose is to create the innovations that enrich how people work, their lives, and our planet.”
Since 2011, Equinix has invested more than $130 million in energy-efficiency initiatives, and today more than 90% of the energy it uses for its data centers is clean and renewable, adds Steinhilber.
“It was evident early on that we needed to manage the efficiency of our energy use both to minimize our operational costs and to ensure that the source of our power was as green as possible,” he says. “Most importantly, it was the right thing to do to manage resources and address climate concerns.”
The impact of this can be seen in the company’s newest data center in San Jose. SV11, opened on June 30, was built from the ground up with reliability, efficiency, and renewable energy in mind. It is the first Equinix facility to use a 20 megawatt Bloom Energy fuel cell system as its primary source of power, with the electric utility grid and generators serving as backup sources of power.
Currently 180 of Equinix’s data centers are covered by 100% renewable energy. Some of the many sources of power include wind-farms in Oklahoma and Texas, renewable energy certificates and local clean energy and low-carbon programs in the U.S. and Brazil, certified green power from suppliers in Europe, and international certificates from renewable energy projects in China, Japan, and Vietnam.
“Future First means constantly envisioning a better future and doing whatever it takes – innovation, investment, research – to make that better future happen. That’s really the core of our sustainability beliefs here at Equinix,” says Steinhilber. “In a world threatened by climate change and resource scarcity, we seize every opportunity to build a future where the planet is healthy, our global communities thrive, and every business leads with integrity.”
Learn more about Equinix and its partnership with VMware here.