It’s fitting that the Infrastructure Masons Global Member Summit, held on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, brought together digital infrastructure leaders from around the world — virtually — to launch our new sustainability vision. Attendees heard from leaders at Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Switch, and participated in developing a plan to neutralize the environmental impact of inevitable growth.
“The Summit served as the liftoff event to a sustainable digital future. Between us, we can make the digital infrastructure industry carbon neutral by 2030.”
iMasons founder and chairman Dean Nelson introduced the vision: “Every click improves the future.” That means digital infrastructure will contribute to the global economy and society without harming the planet.
Four core values guide decision-making relative to the vision. The efforts we choose to pursue shall:
- Reduce emissions, starting with life-cycle carbon emissions.
- Eliminate waste, including energy, heat, water, unused capacity, and unneeded redundancy. Reduce, reuse, recycle!
- Be people-positive. Increase the quality of life in the communities where we live and work.
- Compound our impact. Individuals and companies can do more working together.
To the question of why Infrastructure Masons is leading the charge on neutralizing the environmental impact of inevitable growth, Summit participants had a quick response: “If not iMasons, then who?” One said, “If anyone can do it, this is the group.” Indeed, iM members are responsible for well over $100 billion of infrastructure projects in 139 countries.
The individuals in the iMasons community and the companies they represent are by and large aligned to our vision. As Kate Brandt, Google Sustainability Officer, explained in her fireside chat with Dean Nelson, “Our vision around sustainability is that we need to put tech into the service of building a more sustainable world. We’ve had tools and partnerships but we also see a huge opportunity for technology we’re all working with like cloud computing, geo mapping, and machine learning.”
Noelle Walsh-Elwell, Corporate VP at Microsoft, said in her fireside chat with Dean, “At Microsoft our vision is to inspire every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. It’s not just what you do but how you get there. I aspire to do so safely and sustainably. To leave the planet in as good — if not a better — place because we do consume considerable power, land, and water.” About the iMasons vision, Walsh-Elwell said, “I like the concept of iMasons and the collective effort it will take to impact the planet as we aspire to.”
Christian Belady, GM of Data Center Services at Microsoft, said in his panel discussion, “For me the vision is all about the long term. For industry leaders there’s a responsibility for [ensuring a safe and sustainable future for our planet]. We owe it to our future. We owe it to humanity. When I interview people, I always ask ‘What’s your definition of sustainability?’ One response in particular sticks with me: ‘Sustainability is to be around for the long term, and deservedly so.’”
“This is our decisive decade. There is a critical role to play for companies like all of ours.”