December 9, 2021

Analysis of climate neutrality in the IT sector: How German companies and data centers fare in international comparison

  • Fujifilm researches data centers and companies in the EU regarding their climate neutrality measures.
  • Likewise, Fujifilm analyzed the CO₂ emissions of the countries in the production & consumption of electricity.
  • Only 14 percent of data centers in Germany participate in European Commission initiative to improve energy efficiency
  • 783 German companies participate in the UN's "Global Compact" for sustainability
  • According to data from the open source program Electricitymap, the CO₂ emission factor for the electricity mix in Germany is estimated at 170 grams CO₂ per kilowatt hour

Companies and data centers consume large amounts of energy - and the trend is rising, partly due to an ever-increasing volume of data. This in turn leads to increased CO₂ emissions. In this respect, they are of essential importance in measures to combat climate change. This prompted Fujifilm to investigate measures taken by data centers and companies to reduce their CO₂ emissions. In the efforts to reduce CO₂ emissions examined, Germany is usually in the top third compared to other European countries.

Only 14 percent of data centers in Germany participate in the European Commission's "Code of Conduct"

The "Code of Conduct" is an initiative of the "Joint Research Centre" and the "Institute for Energy" of the European Commission. The aim of the initiative is to sensitize operators and owners of data centers to the issue of green IT and to show them ways of saving energy. Data centers that join the "Code" must take appropriate measures, such as saving electricity through more sustainable storage media, in order to continuously improve their energy efficiency.

The largest percentage of all data centers participating in the Code of Conduct is in the UK with 18.5 percent. Germany ranks second with a 15.2 percent share of the initiative. France's data centers account for 10.7 percent. The UK also has the highest absolute number of data centers participating in the Code of Conduct (112 data centers). France comes second (76 data centers), followed by Germany (31 data centers).

Of the 1741 data centers in Europe, 347 (20 percent) in 25 countries are participating in the European Code of Conduct. By comparison, there are almost 5,000 data centers worldwide.

782 German companies participate in the UN Global Compact

"Global Compact" is an initiative of the United Nations, which wants to create a place for solutions regarding social as well as environmental sustainability in companies. Among the ten principles that serve as a guiding principle for participating companies, three explicitly relate to environmental protection. To date, 19,127 companies from 162 countries worldwide have taken part in this initiative. Companies from Spain participate most frequently in the initiative with a number of over 2,100, similar to companies from France (over 1,500 companies) or Brazil (over 1,400). Germany lands in sixth place in the global comparison with 783 companies participating in the initiative. Most of the participating companies come from services (about 1,800), IT (about 1,200) and general industries (about 900).

Estonia produces the largest amount of CO₂ equivalents per kilowatt hour in electricity generation

The production and consumption of electricity also produces a large amount of carbon dioxide. This happens with all types of electricity production, although some sources of electricity release more CO₂ than others. More action by companies and data centers to reduce their electricity consumption is therefore on the way to becoming an important part of the climate neutrality to be achieved.

Estonia leads Europe when it comes to CO₂-equivalent emissions (gCO₂eq) in grams per kilowatt-hour - both in production (around 1,100 gCO₂eq/kWh) and consumption (around 730 gCO₂eq/kWh). Cyprus lands in second place with around 640 gCO₂eq/kWh in each case. Poland has the third-highest carbon dioxide emissions in electricity generation (production: approx. 550 gCO₂eq/kWh and consumption: approx. 500 gCO₂eq/kWh). Germany ranks 24th out of 34 countries with around 170 gCO₂eq/kWh each, although no information on CO₂ emissions per kilowatt hour could be found for five countries.

"Quite a few data centers and companies are already taking steps to become climate neutral, or more energy efficient. This development represents a model for all companies and data centers to strive for. However, the analysis shows us that there is still a lot of room for improvement. It is not enough to source electricity from renewable sources, as some companies and data centers are already doing, electricity consumption should also be massively reduced. Many companies are not aware that the type of data storage plays an important role in this: for the cold data that is hardly accessed, if at all, there is not only an energy-saving variant, but also one that reduces costs and is safe from cyber attacks - magnetic tapes. Since LTO tapes only consume power when reading and writing data, they can reduce CO₂ emissions from data storage by up to 95 percent compared to hard disk drives,"

comments **** on the study results.


About the survey

Fujifilm investigated all companies that have participated in the United Nations Global Compact by November 22, 2021. Furthermore, the number of existing data centers in Europe was compared with those that have signed the "Code of Conduct" of the European Commission. The cut-off date here was November 08, 2021. The data on CO₂ emissions in the production and consumption of electricity was taken on the same day from the open-source Electricitymap portal, which in turn obtains its data mainly from the Association of European Transmission System Operators.

For inquiries about information in this press release, please contact:

Anne Arians
Sales Manager DACH
Phone: +49 (0)2821 509 457
Mobile: +49 (0)151 19007104