Dimension Data is widely known for bold innovations and stalwart cloud solutions and services that enable enterprises to dramatically improve their businesses; now it is on mission to benefit the planet – and in the process, the communities it services and the economies it influences.
Whether it is using the Internet of Things (IoT) to help prevent poaching with its Connected Conversation initiative or using excess heat from its data center in Berlin to help heat the surrounding community, Dimension Data, and global parent company NTT, are well-known for innovation and using technology for good. Using cutting-edge technologies and its robust portfolio of multi-cloud solutions relied on by the world’s largest enterprises, the Johannesburg, South Africa-based company has a track record of taking on big challenges.
Now Dimension Data is in the midst of an aggressive effort to achieve net-zero emissions across all of its operations by 2030, and across thier value chain by 2040. It is an effort that is also intentionally focused on helping customers dramatically accelerate their own sustainability efforts, as well. And in keeping with its can-do history, Dimension Data’s efforts extend far beyond goals to only address the sustainability of IT operations.
Specifically, the company – part of the NTT Group – conducted an assessment to identify which of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals its people, operations and solutions can impact the most. Ultimately, it identified three themes and committed to achieving numerous goals to bring about positive change in each.
We recently connected with Alan Turnley-Jones, CEO of Dimension Data, to find out more about these efforts. We also took the opportunity learn what prompted Dimension Data to join the VMware Zero Carbon Committed Initiative, and what comes next.
“A year ago, we set out our sustainability ambitions which put us on the path to achieve operational and net zero emissions by 2030 and across our value chain by 2040,” says Turnley-Jones. “Our approach, guided by the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and scientific targets, focuses on connected planet, connected economy, and connected communities. And I am proud to say that we are already making an impact. Over the past 12 months, through commitment, determination, and our passion to make a difference, NTT and the technology we deploy helped to created better outcomes for our clients, partners and society.”
He notes that after providing employees with three extra days of leave they can use for volunteer efforts, more than 1,500 employees, around the globe, have already made use of the volunteering leave and given back to their communities. And in its efforts for a connected planet, the company achieved 1 million mWh of renewable energy – putting it right on track achieve its target of using 100% renewable energy by 2030.
It is an effort that he stresses cannot be done alone.
“We have a long and wonderful relationship with VMware, and the Zero Carbon Committed initiative is a perfect example of how leading technology companies can bring about change,” he says. “As VMware has shown, it is imperative to reduce the carbon footprint of data centers, and in that way enable us to use the applications and technologies they make possible to make a real difference in the fight against climate change.”
Notably, Dimension Data launched two technology initiatives designed specifically to further sustainability efforts. Introduced last May, its Internet Of Things for Sustainability uses connected 5G devices and sensors to help enterprises better understand their carbon footprint and manage their energy consumption.
And the company’s Net Zero Climate Action solution, unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Vegas in 2022, is a full-stack Sustainability-as-a-Service offering that builds on those capabilities and features connected IoT devices, a private 5G network, digital twins and machine learning that lets organizations closely monitor, measure and report on their emissions at a very granular level. Bridgestone America is already using the solution to gain real-time visibility into its carbon footprint.
Notably, Turnley-Jones also stresses that sustainability at now at the heart of Dimension Data’s strategy. This strategy will be overseen by the company’s recently appointed Chief Risk and Sustainability Officer Zellah Fuphe.
“We are very proud of what we have achieved so far, but it is just the beginning,” adds Turnley-Jones. “We are committed to doing more and to having an even greater impact by connecting data, things and people in ways that transform business, society and the planet for the better.”
Immediate goals include helping Dimension Data clients in reducing 200 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2026. It is an effort that includes engaging partners to embed sustainability impact data into their purchasing decisions while also embracing circular IT strategies that optimize the use of existing hardware while minimizing waste. Employees will also play a very different role, regardless of what position they hold.
Among the many additional goals Dimension Data and NTT are committed to achieving are establishing a Sustainability Innovation Fund and mentorship program for climate technology and smart solutions, introducing solutions for biodiversity on every continent the company operates in by 2025, providing 5 million young people from underprivileged areas with digital access and educational opportunities, and doubling the diversity of Dimension Data’s executive leadership team by 2025.
“It was Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who said, ‘The future belongs to us, because we have taken charge of it. We have the commitment, we have the resourcefulness, and we have the strength of our people to share the dream across Africa,’” says Turnley-Jones. “I believe that at NTT and Dimension Data we are doing things today that will change all our collective futures for the better. Our best is yet to come. That is certainly the case in the fight against climate change.”
Learn more about Dimension Data and its partnership with VMware here and NTT/ Dimension Data’s sustainability ambitions here.
Cloud Management, Green IT, IT Leadership