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Environmental, Social and Governance Report

Environmental, Social and Governance Report

2018 Highlights

ESG Cover


Digital Realty seeks to lead the global data centre industry in sustainable environmental performance. We are committed to on-going efforts that benefit the environment and meet the needs of our customers whilst also strengthening our business.

This report contains data and information valid as of December 31, 2018.

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ESG Award logos

ESG Recognition

  • Nareit Leader in the Light Award Winner, Data Centre Sector
  • Top 10 on the EPA Green Power Partnership’s Tech and Telecom List
  • Green Lease Leader Award from the Institute for Market Transformation
  • Sustainability Award from Business Intelligence Group
  • GRESB “Green Star” Ranking
  • America’s Safest Companies from EHS Today

Memberships and Associations

  • ASHRAE technical working groups
  • BS EN 50600 Technical Committee
  • National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (Nareit)
  • Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC)
  • Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA)
  • Rocky Mountain Institute Business Renewables Centre (BRC)
  • techUK’s Data Centre Council
  • US Green Building Council (USGBC

Alignment with Industry Best Practices and Voluntary Disclosures

  • ASHRAE TC9.9
  • BOMA Waste and Water (W2) Challenge
  • BSR Future of Internet Power Documentation Requirements for Supplier Procured Renewable Energy
  • CDP
  • Energy Efficiency Ratings: US EPA ENERGY STAR Certification
  • EU Code of Conduct for Energy Efficiency in Data Centres
  • Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB)
  • Green building rating and certification systems
  • ISO, OHSAS, and other management frameworks
  • Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)
  • Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)
  • UK Climate Change Agreement Scheme (CCA)
  • US Department of Energy Better Buildings Challenge for Data Centre


Our customers trust our ability to provide resilient and secure data centre solutions. In addition to day-to-day reliability and uptime, our data centres are expected to withstand short-term extreme weather events as well as the long-term impacts of climate change.

Resilience to Climate Change Events: Digital Realty maintained 100% uptime throughout severe weather events including Hurricane Harvey, Superstorm Sandy and the Nor'easter that followed. Risks are assessed from construction or acquisition and throughout each property's life-cycle, sensitivity analyses and stress trialling are performed, appropriate levels of insurance for each asset are attained, and operational risk management procedures measures are implemented at each site.

Physical Security: We operate under defense-in-depth security consisting of multiple physical barriers, local security infrastructure and technology enhanced by centralized monitoring supported and enabled by on-site security professionals and process controls. Emergency Response and Business Continuity Plans that address risks, identify Crisis Management teams and outline operational and communications protocols in the event of an emergency are kept at all data centres and reviewed and tested on an annual basis.

Data Privacy & Cybersecurity: Our Information Security team addresses advance threats, intelligence correlation and enrichment, active threat hunting and adversary take-downs. Our strategy focuses on protecting company assets and customer privacy with built-in security, zero trust and automation as guiding principles.


Digital Realty recognizes the importance of delivering sustainable solutions whilst managing the life-cycle environmental impacts of its data centre portfolio from design and construction and throughout each site's operational lifetime.

Cumulative green chart

Green Buildings

  • 1.0 million square feet new green building certifications in 2018
  • 552 MW (7.1 million square feet) cumulative green building certifications, more than any other data centre provider
  • 23% of global portfolio receiving one or more green building certifications
  • Green building projects will be supported in part by Digital Realty's Green Euro Bonds, issued in January 2019.

Renewable Energy

  • 100% renewable goal announcement
  • 100% renewable energy for all EMEA properties
  • 100% wind power for US colocation business
  • 288 MW new solar and wind power under contract
  • 100% carbon-free and renewable power supplied to two Northern California properties
Energy Map
Energy Chart

100% data coverage for 2018 energy metrics. Data included properties where Digital Realty has operational control. Includes utility grid mixes, renewable energy credits from PPAs and green tariffs.

Energy Performance

Total Energy Consumption

6,448,300 MWh
Total Energy Consumption from Renewable Sources
1,904,300 MWh
Total Energy Consumption by Fuel Type
6,180,300 MWh
118,500 MWh
149,500 MWh

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions

Scope 1 Emissions 25,500 MTCO2e
Location-Based Scope 2 Emissions 2,770,400 MTCO2e
Market-Based Scope 2 Emissions 2,165,500 MTCO2e
Scope 3 Emissions 1,003,200 MTCO2e

Resource Conservation


  • 40 energy efficiency projects completed in 2018, annual energy savings of 19,100 MWh per year, enough to power 2,400 US homes per year
  • 24 data centres received US EPA ENERGY STAR Certification in 2018 (35% of US data centre portfolio), saving 720,000 MWh annually, enough to power 80,000 US homes per year

Water and Waste:

  • 35% of water needs supplied by reclaimed water
  • 1 billion gallons of water avoided annually from water-free cooling systems, enough to meet the needs of 20,500 homes per year
  • 24% of total waste generation diverted

Total Water Consumption

1,427,600 kGal

Total Reclaimed Water

498,600 kGal
Total Waste Generated 10,100 tonnes
Waste Recycled 2,400 tonnes
Waste Composted 27 tonnes
Consumption Chart

Management Standards

  • Expanded ISO programme by 40% globally in 2018
  • 100% existing ISO certification retention
  • 100% of Singapore operational portfolio certified under the SS564 Green Data Centres standard for Energy and Environmental Management Systems

2018 Management Standard Coverage



ISO 9001 (Quality Management) 97% 33%
ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) 97% 33%
ISO 27001 (Information Security Management) 97% 60%
ISO 50001 (Energy Management) 100% 8%
OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety) 21% 2%
Green leasing image

Green Leasing

  • First global data centre REIT to adopt green lease standards for use in data centres
  • Named a Green Lease Leader by the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT) and BOMA in 2018
  • Adopted green lease provisions for 100% of net-new eligible contracts


We seek to engage with stakeholders who are key to our business success, as well as those that may be affected by our business activities. Digital Realty's key stakeholders include employees, customers, investors, joint venture partners, governments and regulators, suppliers as well as communities and non-governmental organizations.

Do better image

Do Better Together

  • Community Involvement Programme: In 2018, community involvement efforts included packing 10,000 meals, sponsoring an event in Australia to raise vital funds for childhood genetic disease research and donating to relief funds for wildfires in Northern California.
  • Donate 8 Programme: Eight hours of paid time-off annually per employee during regularly scheduled work hours to volunteer for eligible organizations
  • Matching Gifts Programme: Dollar-for-dollar corporate matching against contributions to eligible charitable organizations
Health well being image

Health and Well-Being

  • Commuter benefits to encourage public and alternative transportation
  • Financial planning assistance
  • Identity, financial and privacy protection
  • CPR and first-aid training
  • Easily accessible Automatic External Defibrillators
  • Healthy snacks
  • Designated nursing rooms, meditation rooms and space for religious worship
  • Ergonomic assessments for employees
  • Company discounts for products, services and events
  • Annual flu shots
  • Annual biometric examinations
  • Teledoc to see licensed doctors using live video visits on smart devices
  • Annual Benefits Fair hosted to provide information on the coming year benefits, including vendor booths and an open forum for employees to ask questions

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Diversity and Equal Opportunity

  • In 2018, we updated our Corporate Governance Guidelines to confirm that the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of our Board of Directors will ensure that it includes candidates with diversity of race, ethnicity and gender in the pool from which director candidates are selected.
  • In 2018, Digital Realty established the Women’s Leadership Forum, a grassroots community to provide a safe space for female colleagues to come together to drive innovation and provide a collegial environment for sharing, collaboration and support.
  • Download the full report to view Digital Realty’s diversity metrics.


Digital Realty is dedicated to conducting business consistent with the highest standards of business ethics. All employees are required to both read our Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and Anti-Corruption Compliance Policy and Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and undergo training for these policies during Digital Realty's annual attestation period. We have a zero-tolerance policy on corruption and bribery and have a standard process for reporting questionable ethical behavior or violations of the Code of Conduct. We require that our suppliers and their employees, agents and subcontractors share the same high standards of ethics and integrity as outlined in our Supplier Code of Conduct.

For more information, see Digital Realty’s Investors page.

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