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Introduction to Case Studies in Sustainable Infrastructure

Digital infrastructure has experienced unprecedented growth, becoming the backbone of today’s interconnected world. As attention shifts beyond efficiency and towards more holistic sustainable practices, understanding the carbon impact of power, equipment, and materials becomes paramount and is therefore key focus area of the iMasons Climate Accord (ICA).

Therefore, the ICA launched three respective Working Groups (Power, Equipment, and Materials), led by Data Center industry leaders, who created these case studies in order to provide data and insight for the forthcoming requirements for active Climate Accord members.

Case studies serve as critical tools in this context, illuminating the path forward.

  1. Real-world Implications – Our case studies offer a snapshot of real-world applications and challenges, ensuring that solutions are theoretically viable and also practically effective. They offer transparency and insight into the processes for determining the carbon intensity of digital infrastructure components, from data centers to telecommunications.
  2. Holistic Understanding – ICA case studies holistic life-cycle impacts, addressing both operational and embodied carbon. Inclusive of carbon emissions from raw material extraction, manufacturing, transport, use, and end-of-life disposal or recycling of digital equipment and infrastructure.
  3. Stimulating Innovation – Detailed case studies expose gaps in current practices, driving research and innovation. Discovering high carbon emissions in certain materials or processes will push our industry to search for sustainable alternatives or more efficient methods – ultimately, guiding industry players on new best practices.
  4. Influencing Policy, Regulation and Reporting – Policymakers can rely on case studies to shape regulations and incentives; carbon performance reporting is becoming increasingly more important for regulatory compliance, as well as general best ESG practices. When a case study highlights significant carbon emissions reduction through a particular strategy, it informs subsidies, tax breaks, and/or regulations to encourage its adoption.
  5. Enhancing Stakeholder Trust – Our transparent case studies will serve as evidence to stakeholders, including customers, investors, and the general public, that organizations are actively addressing sustainability challenges. This will enhance trust and brand loyalty, as sustainability is a key concern for the future of our industry.

ICA’s progress is made by our Working Groups (WGs) and their case studies provide an invaluable path to understanding and addressing the carbon impact of digital infrastructure. As global information and communication technology continues to expand, we will provide tangible insights, drive innovation, inform best practices, and foster trust among stakeholders – all of which are increasingly critical to securing a zero-carbon digital future.

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