‘Why we’re choosing to go carbon neutral’
Peter Groucutt, Co-Founder, Databarracks
Databarracks is now carbon neutral
It’s early days, and so far, this has been an offsetting exercise for us to assess the impact of what we do. The next step is to reduce the amount of carbon we produce. Long-term, we want to reach carbon zero.
Carbon zero is reducing emissions to an absolute minimum and offsetting the remainder, rather than simply offsetting them.
There’s no perfect fix, but I think it's much worse to be at this point in history and not do something. We need to be part of the solution, rather than just the problem.
There’s very little people can do quickly to change their use of technology. Our digital economy and the way we use tech means it's not going to be removed overnight. But if everybody plays a part in reducing the impact of their activities, that's a good thing for us and the planet.
Right now, we’re investing in a wide range of offsetting initiatives – to get the ball rolling. Over time we want to invest directly with meaningful, identified projects. One I’m particularly interested in is kelp farming; kelp absorbs a lot of carbon and benefits ocean biodiversity. Right now, these projects are difficult to find in the UK.
I’m a commercial entrepreneur, and I'm also an ocean person. Before starting Databarracks I ran a water sports company in Guernsey. There's something about being out on the ocean that makes you realise we have a responsibility to leave things in a better state than we found them.
You might ask why we’re only starting this now. The answer is, this is the first time I've had the space.
I spent almost 20 years as Databarracks’ Managing Director and stepped back only last year to take a more strategic role. When you’re in the MD position, your diary is full 9-5 with meetings. I can now do things I've wanted to do for the business for a long time.
First and foremost, making more environmentally conscious choices is the right thing to do.
When we choose new suppliers, we look at what initiatives they take to reduce their own carbon impact. For those that offset, like AWS and Microsoft, we offset on top of that to double the impact.
In future, we hope to be able to partner with data centres that use carbon neutral power. Next year, we will be switching to carbon neutral power supplies in our London office.
The project began about this time last year when we began reviewing our activities and their impact, starting with a company questionnaire including questions on commuting and vehicles. We wanted to take the time to understand the data we gathered.
From our last 12-month review, we found that our use of data centres for cloud storage was our biggest source of emissions, which isn’t surprising. We know what our emissions are, and we now have projects in place to offset them.
One of the challenges was calculating the carbon footprint of individual customers to include those numbers in our own. Accessing that information on a shared customer cloud platform has been an obstacle, but with time we plan to include more detailed data from our suppliers.
What’s most important to us is being able to provide carbon neutral services to our customers, and eventually carbon net zero services.