Global data storage giant Iron Mountain Incorporated announced on Monday that it had received formal approval from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) of its 2025 greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals, one of only 150 or so companies which have received such approval.
Iron Mountain bills itself as “a global business dedicated to storing, protecting and managing, information and assets” and is one of the world’s leading online storage companies. The company’s newly-approved targets will see Iron Mountain reduce its absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2025 on a 2016 baseline and includes both indirect and direct emissions (Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol). Specifically, Iron Mountain — including the effects of expected business growth — will need to reduce more than 50% of business-as-usual carbon usage by 2025.
“As a global organization, we recognize the impact that our daily operations can have on the world, and in 2013 began a journey to better understand and mitigate that impact,” said William Meaney, president and chief executive officer, Iron Mountain. “That understanding has led us to today, where we look at sustainability as an opportunity to make our operations more efficient and uncover insights that we can pass on to our customers and industry peers to do the same. Our commitment and progress to realizing this opportunity has helped us improve both our business and our customers’ businesses, and we’re proud to join the ranks of the SBTi-approved companies in setting aggressive targets to reduce our GHG emissions.”
The Science Based Target initiative has set itself the goal of mobilizing “companies to set science-based targets and boost their competitive advantage in the transition to the low-carbon economy.” A collaboration between CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) — as well as being one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments — SBTi provides companies with best science practice routes to setting greenhouse gas reduction targets that are in line with the latest science.
“It is fantastic to see our RE100 member Iron Mountain continuing to set ambitious targets for climate action,” said Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100, The Climate Group, an international non-profit dedicated to accelerating climate action. “Committing to 100 percent renewable electricity is a key practical step companies can, and must, take to achieve their SBTi goals. Sourcing clean energy cuts emissions, future-proofs business operations and delivers benefits to the bottom line as the cost of renewables continues to fall. It is a choice all companies should be making; it simply makes business sense.”
Iron Mountain’s announcement comes only days after SBTi announced that it would be updating its target validation criteria in line with the latest science published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) in its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, published in October 2018 which warned that limiting global warming to 1.5°C will “require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” Specifically, SBTi will publish new technical resources and its updated set of target validation criteria for companies in April and will also release new resources set to enable companies to set targets with a well-below 2°C pathway which, under the SBTi’s new criteria, will become the new minimum level of ambition accepted by the initiative.
“Last October’s IPCC report was a wake-up call for the global economy,” said Alexander Farsan, Global Lead for science-based targets at WWF, one of the Science Based Targets initiative partners, speaking to CleanTechnica via email. “It showed there is an urgent need to step up ambition in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and avoid devastating global warming. In response, the Science Based Targets initiative is providing companies with the tools they need to respond to the latest science, and set emissions reduction goals in line with a 1.5C world. We urge companies around the world to rise to the challenge.”
This means that Iron Mountain’s newly-announced science-based target will need to be revised later this year, as SBTi’s new criteria will only be published in April 2019 and come into force in autumn.
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