Cloud Providers: Adapting to the Sustainability Challenge

As the world becomes increasingly aware of the importance of preserving the environment, it is becoming clear that the technology sector will need to make significant changes in order to reduce its environmental impact. One area that has been affected is cloud service providers, and that of course includes us at Leaseweb 

The Growth of Cloud 

In her last article, Dr. Dambisa Moyo listed Cloud computing as a sector poised for a future “growth spurt” as it will enable ground-breaking innovation, and effectively, help companies to optimize their infrastructure costs. In a Deloitte article, David Linthicum shared in detail how cloud computing can help save energy through multitenancy and resource optimization. 

Cloud computing has become an increasingly popular way for businesses to store and manage their data. By using cloud services, businesses can avoid the need to build and maintain their own IT infrastructure, which can be costly and time-consuming. Instead, they can access computing resources and storage on demand, paying only for what they use. 

The Environmental Impact of Cloud 

As mentioned above, cloud computing can save energy compared to dedicated servers because they can spin up or down depending on the resources needed. In this way, cloud computing could be a more sustainable option for businesses. However, at the end of the day cloud computing still needs to run on vast amounts of energy for things like cooling systems, and as the demand for cloud grows, so will energy consumption. This puts the spotlight on providers to ensure that energy in the data centers is used efficiently and sourced sustainably.  

Sustainability Projects at Leaseweb 

At Leaseweb, we have taken meaningful actions in our business as listed in our environmental statement with a bold commitment to “use over 90% sustainable energy in data centers by 2025”. We are already running on 100% clean energy at our Canadian and Dutch data center locations and are in the process of getting certifications globally. Since we are headquartered in the Netherlands, we must comply with the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive for which the requirements are continuously being scrutinized and increased. We are also working on getting our ISO 14001 Certification, and are making improvements in the following specific areas: 

Supply chain 

As we grow with our clients globally, our needs for hardware and delivering that hardware increase. On the transportation side, we favor shipping hardware appliances in bulk as frequently as possible and by doing so, we can avoid unnecessary movements and thus produce less emissions. With careful transportation planning, we are able to choose a transport method with lower CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, we are in discussion with our logistic partners about tracking our CO2 emissions and working together with them to find a greener solution.  

We are progressing to only buying equipment from suppliers that meet environmental standards, and only buying equipment that is energy efficient. Packaging cannot be ignored and as we continuously work on this point, we believe that implementing a waste reduction program that includes the use of recyclable and biodegradable materials, as well as the adoption of closed-loop systems that minimize waste, is the way forward. 


In order to reduce the amount of energy and water used by our cooling systems, we are investigating using cold aisle isolation and blind plating, especially for our data centers located in warmer climates. 


Our Facilities team has arranged an eco-friendly cleaning service for our Dutch headquarters, as well as sustainably sourced coffee beans, and recycling bins for paper, plastic, bio and residual waste. Electric company cars are increasingly being used and every detail of office catering is being scrutinized for improvement. Our travel policy includes 1st class train tickets to stimulate rail rather than air travel and encourages remote meetings wherever possible.  


Ultimately, the environmental concerns surrounding cloud computing are likely to have a significant impact on the industry. As the world becomes increasingly focused on sustainability, it is clear that the technology sector will need to play its part in reducing its environmental impact, and cloud service providers will be no exception. 

Considering the global impact on the environment, this task cannot be left alone to cloud providers to resolve. Environmental challenges should concern all of us, including cloud service users. How does your cloud provider address climate crisis challenges? How engaged are they in the subject? These questions cannot be left unanswered, so we encourage you to inquire about them. 

To learn more about Leaseweb’s sustainability efforts, visit our webpage. 

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