Digital Realty has published its inaugural Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report, covering the company's ESG performance for 2018, as well as a comprehensive overview of its clean energy commitment, resource conservation and other sustainable business practices. 

"The initiatives highlighted in this report demonstrate Digital Realty's commitment to being a good corporate citizen while driving value for our customers, employees, shareholders and communities," said A. William Stein, chief executive officer, Digital Realty. "As a leader in the data center industry, we recognize the importance of balancing our business goals and the impact we have on people, places and society at large. While we are proud of our progress, we will continue to strive for and invest in excellence across our environmental, social and governance initiatives to ensure a positive impact today and beyond." 

2018 ESG Report Highlights

Clean energy: Digital Realty sourced renewable energy to meet 30% of its global electricity needs in 2018, totaling over 1.9 million megawatt-hours, equivalent to the annual electricity needs of 234,000 U.S. households, reflecting steady progress towards the company's goal of sourcing 100% renewable energy. Digital Realty added 104 megawatts of new renewable energy supply in 2018, in addition to the 184 megawatts previously contracted, and generated 428,470 megawatt-hours of clean power from utility-scale wind and solar projects, sufficient to power 52,800 homes for a year. Many data center customers have adopted strict renewable energy requirements, and Digital Realty is committed to providing energy solutions to meet their needs. The company's current renewable energy procurement program includes:

  • 100% renewable energy for all EMEA properties
  • 100% wind power for the U.S. colocation business
  • 288 megawatts of solar and wind power under contract
  • 100% carbon-free and renewable energy for two Northern California data centers

Resource conservation: Digital Realty continues to fund and explore initiatives to use resources responsibly, including the electricity used to power data centers and the water used to cool them.

Energy: In 2018, Digital Realty completed over 40 energy-efficient projects, expected to save 19,100 megawatt-hours per year, enough to power 2,400 homes. Digital Realty also received U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR recognition for 24 properties in the U.S., or 35% of its U.S. portfolio. Digital Realty's ENERGY STAR properties perform more efficiently than 87% of U.S. data centers based on the EPA industry benchmark. Compared to the industry average, these data centers save 720,000 megawatt-hours annually, enough to power 80,000 U.S. homes and prevent 535,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.

Water: Digital Realty used reclaimed water to meet 35% of its water needs in 2018 and reduced overall water-usage intensity by 9% year-over-year through the pioneering usage of non-water-based cooling systems. By using water-free cooling systems, Digital Realty is avoiding the use of one billion gallons of water annually, enough to meet the needs of 20,500 homes per year. Since 2013, the company has deployed more than 344 megawatts of non-water-based cooling systems across its global portfolio. 

Sustainable buildings: As an owner and operator of over 210 properties worldwide, Digital Realty recognizes the importance of green building practices. From 2007 to 2018, the company completed 60 sustainable building certifications, encompassing 23% of its global portfolio, in accordance with LEED, BREEAM and other green building rating systems. In 2018, Digital Realty achieved certifications for four projects totaling more than one million square feet. 

Resiliency: Digital Realty has compiled a strong track record of reliability and resilience to operational, security, weather and climate change-related events. Digital Realty delivered "five nines" of uptime for the 12th consecutive year in 2018, exceeding 99.999% availability for the company's owned and operated data center portfolio. This track record of operational excellence is supported by regular risk assessments, physical and cyber-security safeguards, training and supply chain preparedness. In addition, Digital Realty launched a Global Operations Command Center in October 2018 to provide 24/7/365 communication, centralized network monitoring, product support, event management, infrastructure monitoring and security on customers' behalf. 

Strong governance and employee engagement: The 2018 ESG report highlights Digital Realty's commitment to diversity, global employee engagement and strong governance practices. In 2018, Digital Realty launched the Women's Leadership Forum and the Do Better Together program to strengthen engagement with employees and local communities. Finally, Digital Realty's Board of Directors approved changes to shareholder rights in 2018, providing shareholders the ability to propose binding amendments to the company's bylaws.