Everyone is aware of the impact technology has on the way we live, and most people know that as the Internet of Things (IoT) gathers momentum a further transformation will happen. Smart cars, smart appliances, smart buildings, and smart clothing are just some of the things that promise to enhance our lives, and at the same time the soft aspects of life like medical, educational, financial, and legal services are being transformed by the application of big data. Fewer people understand that the 'the cloud' is in fact a world embracing network of physical servers, most of them located in data centres.

Advice and consultation

“I find that even companies that profess to be green, and committed to 100 percent renewable power are missing out on many opportunities to do better.” When you consider that for a bank, 70 percent of its energy costs are associated with IT, the amount of value that Fujitsu can add becomes apparent.

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His conversations with clients these days have moved up to board level as the reputational and financial gains to be made are made clear.But like charity, sustainability begins at home. Fujitsu has more than 100 data centres round the world. Six of these are in Australia, and the company has been among the first to grasp the energy nettle.

Sustainability - a global imperative

Most of the power available in Australia is generated from coal: renewable alternatives are making inroads but the electricity they generate is still more costly. Basically, most of Australian power is ‘dirty power’. Stewart tells how even his thinking, driven by a passion for sustainable development as it already was, was given a jolt at the Australian Emission Reduction conference in Melbourne. “The former Prime Minister of Kiribati Anote Tong spoke about how he has already bought land in Fiji to relocate his people. It was his speech to COP21 in Paris that swayed the adoption of a 1.5-degree target for global warming when he explained that even that would not be enough to save his entire country, which is only just above sea level, from being swamped.

Transparency for clients and regulators

In June 2016, Fujitsu achieved an Australian first, gaining NABERS Energy ratings across its six data centres. It publishes all its ratings on the NABERS website, so all its clients can be assured it's achieved an average rating of 3.75 stars. Its target is to take the portfolio up to 4.5 by 2020.

Suddenly the language changed, says Stewart “The customers get it: it gives them a credible assurance of our energy efficiency efforts and also provides us with a common language that works globally. And the internal stakeholders get it – I hear our data centre people discussing what they need to do to get a half star better. We were the first to adopt it, the first to submit a portfolio, and we are now driving the market to make sure our customers ask for a NABERS rating if they are looking for hosted space.

It has been a rewarding journey. Lee Stewart likes to differentiate Fujitsu from other data centre operators by the customers, whose interests he puts first. “Our industry often gets bogged down in the technical detail and tends to lose sight of the big picture, the overall transparency and assurance for our customers, which is a big driver.”

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