“We want our customers to know that achieving zero carbon emissions isn’t our final goal, it’s just part of the journey. We want to continue improving the energy efficiency of our data centers, generate renewable energy on site, and integrate circular economy concepts into the lifecycle of our IT equipment and our operations. Corporate climate change discussions typically focus on customers, regulations, and efforts to reduce costs, which of course are all important. But it’s sometimes easy to forget that climate change intrinsically is linked to, and impacts, people, health, and equality.” — Randeep Sanghera, Head of Sustainability at IONOS
Founded more than 30 years ago with the goal of making information easy to understand and use, IONOS is the largest hosting company in Europe with an extensive portfolio that extends from website building packages to a robust IaaS offering for enterprises.
We recently connected with the company’s Head of Sustainability, Randeep Sanghera, to learn more about IONOS’s sustainability initiatives and values, and why they extend beyond its efforts to address climate change.
“At IONOS, we recognize different elements of sustainability and have defined four pillars – planet, people, digital responsibility, and customer – that are intertwined and must be addressed to sustain a thriving business that makes a positive impact on the planet and people,” says Sanghera. “As a provider of cloud services and solutions, lowering the emissions associated with our energy use – and committing to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050 – is of singular importance for the planet and also includes supporting a circular economy by maximizing the repair, reuse, and recycling of our equipment.”
Sanghera explains that the remaining three pillars are equally applicable. The company furthers its commitment to people through its diversity and inclusion efforts, supports its digital responsibility with the highest standards for data privacy and information security, and targets the customer with a relentless commitment to their success and satisfaction.
“We believe that, as a business, it’s crucial to view sustainability broadly in this way because you can’t succeed in any one area for very long if the other three pillars are not in place,” adds Sanghera.
By all accounts, IONOS’s approach is working. The company’s 10 state-of-the-art data centers—including its massive facility in Lenexa, Kansas (which has capacity for more than 40,000 servers) as well as other facilities in France, Germany, Spain, and the U.K.— all run on 100% renewable electricity
Notably, these power an ever-increasing number of IONOS private cloud deployments. A robust offering based on VMware technologies can be operated as an ironclad, dedicated cloud or integrated in a multi-cloud deployment.
Power usage at other facilities, including its U.S. headquarters in Philadelphia and European headquarters in Karlsruhe, Germany are addressed with carbon offsets. In 2021, 99.4% of all energy used at the company’s data centers came from renewable sources except for emergency power.
Sanghera is particularly proud of the company’s collaboration with AfB.
“As a result of our longstanding relationship with AfB, an organization that creates jobs for people with disabilities through green IT practices, we have been able to reuse and recycle 450 tons of IT equipment in Germany in the past three years alone,” he says. “Not only does this contribute to a circular economy, avoid carbon emissions, and avoid water use, but it also delivers a positive social impact to people.”
Sanghera notes that IONOS views its success to date as just the beginning. In 2018, it put a certified Energy Management System (ISO 50001) in place for all of its directly operated data centers. The company’s energy management team sets annual energy efficiency targets for each facility and has reduced absolute energy consumption by 12.84% since 2018.
Efforts are also under way to use data science and machine learning to optimize cooling, and to tap innovations like evaporative cooling. It’s also expected that a new data center being built in the U.K. this year will be at least 20% more efficient than its predecessor.
“Digitization can make a major contribution to the green economy, but the entire value chain must be taken into account,” says Sanghera. “VMware’s Zero Carbon Committed initiative makes an important contribution and puts IT as a problem solver on the agenda.”
Learn more about IONOS and its partnership with VMware here.