AusTiger's Carbon Neutral Journey Update - October 2018
At AusTiger, we are proud to have a 100% green web hosting initiative. We are a 100% Carbon Neutral Provider and 100% Australian Owned and Operated.
Following on from our previous Carbon Neutral Journey post in August 2017, we wanted to give you an update on the online industry and what AusTiger has been doing since to continue this journey, a year on.
The online industry is constantly growing with more and more people and businesses becoming dependant on technology in their daily lives. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, There were 14.2 million internet subscribers in Australia at the end of December 2017. This is an increase of 3.4% from the end of June 2017. As stated in The Guardian (2017), “The communications industry could use 20% of all the world’s electricity by 2025…” This is a staggering figure and what worries us, is that it looks almost definite unless people change their views.
How many times a day do you check your social media, visit a website, read a blog or use an app? If you’re anything like me it will be a large number! Most of the time we aren’t even conscious about our online usage because it has become so ingrained in everyday life that we simply can’t operate without it.
To put it plainly, every website we visit, every “like” we make on Facebook, every image we upload to Instagram may be contributing to carbon pollution. Even just liking a post on a Facebook sends a request across the internet through dozens of routers and countless network devices before finally reaching Facebook’s servers. At every step of the way each device needs to be powered and kept in a cooled environment, which contributes directly to carbon pollution. It’s because of this we, at Austiger, do things a little differently.
So, What Does AusTiger Do?
At AusTiger, we’re very committed to the ideals behind the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and the Environmental Principles of the UN Global Compact:
Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges
Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
We employ a number of different technologies, like virtual machines and energy efficient servers to minimise our power usage and maximize the performance we offer our clients. For the areas we can’t control we purchase carbon credits to offset our usage to make us beyond 100% carbon neutral. Eco-friendly web hosting is a way of life for us.
When we started Telligence and AusTiger Hosting in Australia over 10 years ago, the one core value that drove how we built our business was “step lightly on our planet”. We started off by purchasing carbon credits to offset our hosting environment and office power usage. We employed other initiatives like turning devices off at the PowerPoint when not in use and encouraged our team members to take the same initiatives at home.
Since then, our company has expanded to an office, which gives us far greater opportunities to step lightly on our planet. We have installed a large solar installation that offsets all of our daily power usage and sends plenty back into the grid. We run energy efficient LED lights amongst many other initiatives. We are now in the process of planning a large battery installation so we can reduce all reliance on the grid and to be net positive in power.
What About Other Companies?
Propelled by Greenpeace and other environmental organisations, important technology companies, such as Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon, promised to use renewable energy to power data centres. In most cases they are buying it off grid but some are planning to build solar and wind farms close to their centres. We have recently moved everything to Google Cloud Platform in Sydney as Google is now providing a 100% green-powered cloud platform.
It’s interesting that a number of companies are now offering a “green option”. This merely says they aren’t committed to reducing climate change and see a “green option” as a way to try and generate more business. We believe there shouldn’t be an option and we don’t offer one. When you do business with us you get a 100% green service—no exceptions, no compromise.
Greenpeace IT analyst Gary Cook says only about 20% of the electricity used in the world’s data centres is so far renewable, with 80% of the power still coming from fossil fuels. The United States gets 81% of its total energy from oil, coal, and natural gas, all of which are fossil fuels.
2018 has been watching the development of technologies that remove carbon dioxide as it is being emitted, to reverse climate change; however, such methods may only have limited potential to prevent global warming. As explained in The Independent; “Negative emissions technologies include directly sucking carbon dioxide out of the air, and collecting it as it is released from fuel combustion. Carbon captured in this way could potentially be stored underground to prevent it re-entering the atmosphere as carbon dioxide”. This is a great idea but if all companies were to begin their own green initiative plans, then there would be less fuel burnt and produced into the atmosphere as it is. The world is producing carbon dioxide too rapidly for nature to recycle the carbon. Even so, “The removal of human-emitted CO2 from the atmosphere by natural processes will take a few hundred thousand years”. (onlyzerocarbon.org)
Many companies are still arguing the existence and reality of climate change. Phil McDuff, from the Guardian, explains that a large amount of companies’ logic is; “Climate change isn’t happening… and even if it is happening it’s nothing to do with us, and even if it is something to do with us it would be too expensive to change it.”
According to the Global Carbon Emissions website, In September 2018, the world hit 406.01 parts per million (ppm) with the carbon dioxide production.
"The science is in, climate change is happening at an alarming rate. We believe we have an ethical and social responsibility to look after our planet and leave it in a better state for the next generation and generations to come. That’s why we do what we do," Jeff Pond, Technical Operations Director of Austiger explains. If more companies picked up the green initiative, the more chance there is for change.
Even the largest changes start with small steps in the right direction. We are making all the right steps we can and will continue to encourage others to do the same. When it comes to climate change, we all have the power to make a difference.
The Guardian, 2017, ‘Tsunami of Data’ could Consume One Fifth of Global Electricity by 2025, viewed 11/09/2018, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/11/tsunami-of-data-could-consume-fifth-global-electricity-by-2025
Cook, Gary, Greenpeace International 2017, Why We Need Netflix to Join The Race Towards a Green Internet, viewed 11/09/2018, https://www.greenpeace.org/archive-international/en/news/Blogs/makingwaves/click-clean-netflix-green-internet-tech/blog/58602/
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine n.d., Fossil Fuels, viewed 11/09/2018, http://needtoknow.nas.edu/energy/energy-sources/fossil-fuels/
The Australian Bureau of Statistics, viewed 17/09/2018, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/0/00FD2E732C939C06CA257E19000FB410?Opendocument
Gabbatiss, J, The Independant, Future Technology ‘cannot rescue’ mankind from climate change, say experts, February 2018, viewed 24/09/2018 https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/future-technology-cannot-rescue-mankind-climate-change-global-warming-a8187806.html
McDuff, Phil, Guardian News, Climate change denial won’t even benefit oil companies soon, July 2018, accessed 24/09/2018 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/31/climate-change-denial-oil-companies-fossil-fuels
Global Carbon Emissions, accessed 24/09/2018, https://www.co2.earth/global-co2-emissions
Only Zero Carbon, accessed 24/09/2018)