AirTrunk takes action on ESG with new Sustainability Report and net zero roadmap

Inaugural Sustainability Report details achievements and future commitments across Planet, People and Progress pillars.

Sydney, 19 October 2021  Asia-Pacific hyperscale data centre specialist, AirTrunk, today announced the release of its first sustainability report as well as a series of ambitious targets across its Planet, People and Progress pillars.

The company also announced that it will develop and release its net zero emissions roadmap in 2022.

The announcements follow the company’s recent conversion of its more than $2.1 billion corporate loan facility to a Sustainability Linked Loan, linking its financing to KPIs across diversity and inclusion, carbon neutrality, and energy efficiency; as well as its achievement of a strong score of 86 out of 100 in the global 2021 GRESB infrastructure asset assessment, 14 points above the peer average.

The report comes just four years after AirTrunk opened its first data centre, SYD1, in Western Sydney. The company has since expanded its Asia-Pacific hyperscale data centre platform to five facilities across four tier-one markets, with its sixth data centre scheduled to launch in Japan later this year.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Robin Khuda, said that as a young and private company, AirTrunk made the call to release a detailed sustainability report to demonstrate its commitment to driving sustainable change.

“As the largest independent hyperscale data centre operator in the Asia-Pacific region, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect the environments and communities in which we operate,” Mr Khuda said.

“Our inaugural sustainability report demonstrates that we’re serious about taking accountability and action when it comes to sustainability. This includes choosing a high level of transparency, publishing commitments to reduce our carbon emissions and an actual operating PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) target,” he added.

Prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative Standards: Core option, the report outlines AirTrunk’s FY21 sustainability strategy and commitments, across its three sustainability pillars of: Planet, People and Progress. This report also demonstrates AirTrunk’s contribution to several UN Sustainable Development Goals.

AirTrunk’s Chief Operating Officer, Dana Adams, explained, “This is just the beginning as we work towards achieving our goal of setting the standard in data centre sustainability. We continue to put sustainability at the heart of our strategy, working with our customers, partners, and investors to create solid foundations for a scalable yet sustainable future.

“As part of our ongoing commitment, we will be developing a roadmap to drive us towards a progressive net zero emissions target. In 2022, we plan to share our net zero emissions strategy which is being developed in line with market best practices and the Paris Agreement,” she added.

The release of the report also sees AirTrunk announce the development of a two-year roadmap to adopt the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework. AirTrunk plans to implement the TCFD recommendations across four pillars – governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets.

A selection of achievements and future commitments in AirTrunk’s sustainability report are outlined below.

Planet highlights and targets

In FY21, AirTrunk achieved carbon neutrality for 100 per cent of its corporate emissions relating to scope 1 (direct) emissions at its SYD1 and MEL1 data centres, and scope 2 (indirect) emissions for electricity consumption at its head offices and SYD1 and MEL1 data centres, excluding electricity consumption where costs are passed through to customers.

In addition to offsetting its FY21 scope 1 emissions, AirTrunk has offset 100 per cent of its estimated scope 1 emissions since 2017 (when it opened its first data centre in Sydney), using Australian Carbon Credit Units from high quality, meaningful, measurable, and certified Emissions Reduction Fund projects in Australia. As a next step, the company will set its emission reduction targets to align with the Paris Agreement in 2022.

In terms of renewable energy, AirTrunk has committed to work closely with customers to provide renewable energy supply choices at all AirTrunk facilities with the goal of enabling all customers to eliminate their market-based scope 2 emissions through matching with renewable energy supply.

AirTrunk also achieved industry-leading Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) with an average operating PUE of 1.37 for SYD1 and MEL1 during FY21, which is almost 20% lower than the Asia-Pacific average PUE. Moving forward, AirTrunk has set an ambitious target to reach an annual average operating PUE range of 1.23-1.28 across its stabilised portfolio, with some locations able to achieve as low as 1.14.

To drive AirTrunk’s continuous improvement in this area, AirTrunk appointed a Head of Energy and Climate to its leadership team.

From a waste management perspective, the company launched Zero Waste to Landfill pilot programs with a goal to achieve its waste targets in 2022.

AirTrunk’s Chief Technology Officer, Damien Spillane, said, “Being a relatively young company that pioneered hyper-efficient hyperscale data centres in the Asia-Pacific region, we were able to embed sustainability initiatives right from the start. As we balance scale with sustainability, we continue to innovate across our lifecycle from design and build through to operations to maximise efficiency and target carbon neutrality.”

AirTrunk’s scope 1 and 2 emissions, and scope 1 carbon offset values were independently assured by KPMG for SYD1 and MEL1 data centres, and Singapore and Sydney head offices, in line with the reported methodology and Australian Standard on Assurance Engagement ASAE 3000 (Standard).

People highlights and targets

In FY21, AirTrunk increased its focus on diversity & inclusion, including the establishment of a Women in Leadership program and a target to accelerate the representation of women across the business to 30% by 2025, maintaining its leadership position in the industry.

The company also created a framework for community engagement focusing on the pillars of youth and education, environment, and community care; implementing initiatives in all operational markets, with further initiatives planned in the coming year.

In the area of environmental health and safety, AirTrunk achieved zero lost time injuries (LTIs) at its MEL1 and SGP1 data centres, across one million and two million work hours respectively. A Chief Safety Officer was appointed to the executive team to maintain the commitment of safe delivery every day.

Customer data privacy and protection remained paramount at the company to ensure a best-in-class control environment to secure and protect customer data.

AirTrunk’s Chief Operating Officer, Dana Adams, said: “AirTrunk is paving the way with our People sustainability strategy. We’re proud of what we’ve achieved so far and have developed an action plan to further enhance the lives of all people including providing a safe work environment, the highest cyber security, engaging and inspiring employees, and making a positive economic, social and environmental impact on local communities.”

Progress highlights and targets

AirTrunk significantly grew its operations in FY21 with new data centres opening in Hong Kong (HKG1), Singapore (SGP1) and Sydney (SYD2). Plans progressed for TOK1, AirTrunk’s sixth data centre, which is set to be the largest independent data centre in Japan, by megawatts.

An innovative ‘Kit of Parts’ program was also launched to increase offsite manufacturing and improve efficiency, quality and safer practices, reducing rework and waste.

AirTrunk’s customer growth rate was solid as a result of consistent and strong customer satisfaction levels. A new voice of the customer program, as well as a range of customer-focused initiatives are planned to ensure AirTrunk continues to deliver on its customer commitments.

To ensure robust governance structures, a Head of Risk & Sustainability was appointed into the leadership team, strengthening the effectiveness of AirTrunk’s risk management system and sustainability program.

Mr Khuda said: “As internet consumption continues to grow across the region, our bold sustainability commitments guide all aspects of our business, directing our focus to actionable ways we can shape a sustainable data-driven future. We will continue reducing our carbon footprint, increasing resource efficiencies, and enhancing the lives of our people and communities for generations to come.”

A copy of AirTrunk’s sustainability report is available to download here.