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Building Environmentally and Socially Responsible Data Centers of the Future

Erik Ipsen, PE  (Senior Partner, ERM)

Carly Sibilia  (Nature Strategy Advisor, ERM)

Location: Room 207A

Date: Wednesday, April 17

Time: 1:30 pm - 2:20 pm

Pass Type: AFCOM Solution Provider, All Access Conference, Industry Conference, Standard Conference - Get your pass now!

Track: Sustainability Strategies, from Power to Recycling

Session Type: Conference Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: All Audiences

The global datacenter market was valued at approximately $50B in 2021 and is expected to grow annually by 10% through 2030. This rapid growth is fueled by the growing demand for cloud services and accelerated by the proliferation of AI applications, which require much more intensive computations than traditional workloads.

While attention until now has focused on the energy demand of data centers and renewable energy strategies to offset that impact, future data centers will require a more holistic approach to environmental and social impacts to meet corporate net-zero carbon goals and obtain a social license to operate.

Data center developers must incorporate strategies to mitigate risk in physical climate change impacts, social and community opposition, and loss of biodiversity and cultural resources early in the datacenter life-cycle – during new market entry and site selection. Effective strategies deployed in the early phases of capital project development will enable companies to avoid costly project delays and positively contribute to corporate ESG goals.

During this session, we'll explore the interplay of risk and opportunity on new data centers and other technology infrastructure developments in community acceptance, ecological/biodiversity, and climate change through the lens of corporate real estate, environmental, and community affairs.


The audience will gain an understanding of:

  • The business imperative of social and environmental responsibility in timely scaling of data center infrastructure
  • An understanding of "what's next" from an environmental and social site due diligence perspective
  • Practical steps companies can take to identify risks and opportunities on their development projects
  • Real-life case studies