M+E Connections

Iron Mountain at EES: M&E Companies Need to Reduce Their Carbon Footprints

As organisations across all industries set impactful sustainability goals to help fight climate change, one issue is becoming crystal clear: Sustainability is a team sport and companies that have a clear programme tend to avoid getting selected last, according to Chris Pennington, director of energy and sustainability at Iron Mountain.

Translation: media and entertainment (M&E) companies need to reduce their environmental footprints.

When Pennington did research on MESA, he “found a whole list of companies that I had never even heard of before,” he said Sept. 21 at the Entertainment Evolution Symposium (EES), during the Efficiency & Sustainability breakout session “Your Digital Business has a Physical Carbon Footprint, and it Matters More Than You May Know.”

During the session, Pennington explored sustainability across the digital and physical realms and how companies can improve and achieve leadership without compromising their security or performance; the importance of supply chains, including data centres; and the steps they can take to assess the performance of achieving their sustainability goals.

“What emerged for me is this realisation [about a] really robust, diverse ecosystem of providers doing really unique niche services to deliver content,” he said.

When he searched among member companies for “some sort of public commitment in terms of what their responsibility was for the environment,” he said he “didn’t find much at all.”

When he asked attendees who worked for an organisation that has a public commitment and some sort of web action plan, only a small percentage of the audience raised their hands.

“That’s fine. It’s a journey though and it’s an evolution that’s changing,” he said, adding: “I think the time has come to recognise that it’s no longer going to work for businesses to turn this blind eye to this topic of sustainability.”

Iron Mountain’s facilities are in three continents and combine for a total of 3 million square feet, he said.

The company is “enabling that transition from on-site critical environments to the cloud to hybrid scenarios out to the edge, where all the eyeballs and heroes are,” he told attendees.

“Sustainability is more than just butterflies and green trees,” he went on to say, noting “we’re doing more remote work now than ever before,” so it’s not just a company’s office that must be sustainable.

“So when we talk about sustainability, what does that actually mean?” he asked rhetorically. “And so what I want to do here is really just kind of help share some insights as [a] sustainability practitioner in terms of how to understand the sustainability landscape,” he said.

There are “defined protocols that measure sustainability and it really comes down to greenhouse gas emissions,” he explained, adding “there’s a framework that’s been established” by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

On top of the framework that he said “sits as a foundation for how we talk about” sustainability, “sits this layer of reporting organisations that effectively keep score,” he said.

Additionally, a growing number of investors are “turning towards companies that have documented performance around environmental sustainability,” he pointed out.

“Iron Mountain has a science-based target goal,” he said, explaining: “We have a path towards reducing our emissions that aligns with what climate scientists say.”

Meanwhile, the “volume of data is growing exponentially,” he told attendees. “So we have this ability throughout our portfolio services to help customers with sustainable solutions, which really means that we’re buying a hundred percent renewable energy. We’re driving towards energy efficiency.”

The Entertainment Evolution Symposium (EES) was presented by the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School Institute for Entertainment, Media and Sports (IEMS) and the Hollywood IT Society (HITS) and was sponsored by Iron Mountain, Signiant, Whip Media, Atos, Fortinet, FPT Software, invenioLSI, Perforce, Vision Media, and EIDR.