Alost, Antwerp, Diegem, Gembloux and Huizingen, 29 November 2021 – The company LCL Data Centers has joined the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its data centers and thereby fight global warming. LCL has therefore embraced the SBTi’s most ambitious target: the data centers company – just like 694 other businesses worldwide – will strive to keep the average increase in global temperatures below 1.5°C. LCL Data Centers thus becomes the first Belgian data centers company to join the SBTi and the 10th Belgian company to work towards the above-mentioned target.
The data centers specialist LCL has always attached great importance to sustainability and the environment. So it was only natural that LCL signed in January 2021 the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact (CNDCP), a self-regulatory initiative of the leading cloud infrastructure providers and data centers managers. The objective of this initiative is to help all data centers in Europe to become carbon neutral by 2030, in support of the European Green Deal. Today, LCL is aiming at an additional objective of limiting global warming to below 1.5°C under the SBTi. To do so, the company sought the help of a specialist consultancy firm to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions from its data centers. Together they were able to define clear and achievable objectives.
LCL Data Centers thus becomes the first Belgian data centers company to join the SBTi. Around the world, a total of 2,200 companies are now registered there. LCL is in fact the 10th Belgian company to commit to the most ambitious target of keeping global warming below the threshold of 1.5°C.
“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.”
Joining the SBTi to make a difference
The objectives of the Science Based Targets initiative are established on a scientific basis and are aligned with what the most recent climate study considers crucial to achieve the goals of the Paris climate agreement – namely limiting global warming to well below 2°C or even 1.5°C. Small, medium and large companies from a variety of sectors can join the SBTi and set an achievable, science-based target to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions
Laurens van Reijen, Managing Director of LCL, added: “Many large companies call on LCL to host their servers. This is a service that is often outsourced, because it’s a specialised activity that requires significant investment. 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
In order to set achievable targets, LCL Data Centers called on the services of the independent consultancy agency Encon. It helped LCL make calculations based on the value chain standard for the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol). The purpose of the calculations is to map the emissions from LCL’s data centers. The GHG Protocol looks at three different scopes: direct emissions (consumption of diesel, use of refrigerants, etc.), indirect emissions (e.g. the purchase of electricity), as well as indirect emissions for upstream activities (e.g. the cleaning team’s transport or goods purchased) and downstream activities (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,” noted 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,” said Johan Overloop.
The challenges for LCL
Mieke Germonprez, Quality Manager at LCL, said: “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. 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.”
A pioneering role in the world of data centers in Belgium
“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. 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,” concluded Laurens Van Reijen.
Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Value Chain Standard: overview of the different types of emissions