LCL Data Centers from Belgium has signed up to the Science Based Targets program (SBTi) to minimize greenhouse gas emissions from its colocation data centers and so combat global warming. As a result, LCL has adopted the SBTi’s most ambitious goal: the data centers firm, together with 694 other businesses around the world, will try to limit global temperature increases below 1.5°C.

LCL Data Centers becomes the first Belgian data center operator to join the SBTi, as well as the tenth Belgian company to strive toward the mentioned goal.

As a data center expert, LCL has always attached great importance to environmental sustainability. As a result, it was only natural for LCL to sign the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact (CNDCP), a self-regulatory effort of the top cloud infrastructure providers and data center administrators, in January 2021. In support of the European Green Deal, this effort aims to assist all data centers in Europe in becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

Under the SBTi, LCL is now striving for a new goal of keeping global warming below 1.5°C. To do so, the corporation enlisted the assistance of a specialized consulting firm to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions from its data centers. They were able to create clear and attainable goals by working together.

“We have always viewed sustainable development as essential,” said Laurens van Reijen, Managing Director of LCL, speaking about this new stage. “Sustainable development is also about well-being at work – by creating a safe environment for everyone working at or visiting LCL – as well as studying ways to work more sustainably in all possible fields. These initiatives also benefit our customers, because they host their servers and telecommunications infrastructure on our premises. Thanks to this new and ambitious stage, we therefore also help our customers to work more sustainably.”

Science-Based Goal

The Science Based Targets initiative’s aims are based on science and are linked with what the most current climate research thinks critical to achieving the Paris climate agreement’s goals, which include keeping global warming far below 2°C or even 1.5°C. Small, medium, and large businesses from a wide range of industries can join the SBTi and establish a realistic, science-based goal to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

“Many large companies call on LCL to host their servers. This is a service that is often outsourced, because it’s a specialized activity that requires significant investment,” added Laurens van Reijen. “As a provider of this service, we can clearly contribute to a more environmentally friendly future, while also helping our customers to reduce their CO2 emissions, as this involves the consumption of their servers. We have deliberately chosen the most ambitious target, because we want to make a difference.”

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol

Photo Laurens Van Reijen
“LCL wants to be an example for the other Belgian and European stakeholders in the data centers sector and we’re making great efforts to achieve that,” concluded Laurens Van Reijen.

LCL Data Centers enlisted the help of Encon, an independent consulting firm, to help them define realistic goals. It aided LCL in making estimates for the Greenhouse Gas Protocol using the value chain standard (GHG Protocol). The computations are being done to map the emissions from LCL’s data centers. The GHG Protocol examines three main scopes: direct emissions (e.g., fuel usage), indirect emissions (e.g., power purchases), and indirect emissions for both upstream and downstream activities (e.g., cleaning team transportation or items purchased) (e.g. waste disposal).

“Initially the SBTi includes a calculation for the first two scopes mentioned above, so as to determine emissions and actions to be taken to reduce them,” said Johan Overloop, Data Center Facilities Manager at LCL. “We asked our consultancy to not only take into account the third scope, but also to start planning for this today. This enables us to anticipate what’s going to happen and to move forward immediately.”

Challenges for LCL Data Centers

“After the calculation was done for our data centers, we could see that LCL already has a good score. For instance, we purchase lots of green energy and we produce our own energy thanks to solar panels. Naturally, we can still make improvements,” said Mieke Germonprez, Quality Manager at LCL. “LCL sees this mainly as a more long-term project. For example, if you replace existing facilities with new technologies, you will make sustainable savings on energy consumption and thus on CO2 emissions. Sustainable investments are beneficial for our current economic situation, as well as for our future. This is how we can combat climate change and take future generations into account.”

LCL is therefore underlining its role as a pioneer in the sector. We want to be an example for the other Belgian and European stakeholders in the data centers sector and we’re making great efforts to achieve that,” concluded Laurens Van Reijen. “We’re committed to the environment by embracing the most ambitious target of the SBTi. This gives us a clear target and we’re all working together to reach it. It will certainly be a challenge, but it keeps us sharp and focused.”

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