Biodiversity In Our Own Backyard
Biodiversity is a growing topic of concern for us at CyrusOne. Since our first sustainability report, we have developed a more nuanced means of viewing our impacts on biodiversity. We realize that there are opportunities to support biodiversity on our sites, as well as through our offsite activities. This article discusses what we do on our sites – stay tuned for a discussion of our offsite strategy.
For onsite activities, our work begins before we even break ground for a facility! Specifically, this means trying to build our data centers in areas that are already developed. By doing so, we avoid removing existing habitat that supports biodiversity.
Once our data centers are built, we can take a more active approach in supporting biodiversity. We have started to upgrade the landscaping at our facilities with nature in mind. We use the available greenspace to benefit biodiversity by landscaping with native species, thereby attracting local pollinators and migratory birds! Our improved landscape designs include attention to variety of foraging opportunities throughout the year as well as creating shelter and nesting locations. Some of this was discussed in our blog post back in May of 2021.
Native species not only benefit wildlife, they also generally require less maintenance since they have evolved to cope with the local weather patterns. By cultivating locally adapted species, we can minimize the water and other resources needed for maintenance while benefiting nature; a real win-win for sustainability! Although most of our facilities have minimal landscaping, small areas can have a big impact if we create wildlife habitat through careful plant selection and placement, creating “oases” of refuge in otherwise disturbed areas.
Though we are in the early stages of implementing habitat landscape improvement across our facilities, we have learned from the projects that we’ve pursued thus far and are applying our methods to new sites and existing facility upgrades going forward. So far, we have completed four landscape habitat improvement projects at our Allen, Carrollton, Dublin, and Amsterdam facilities.
As with biodiversity itself, our efforts are linked with those of others. Within our industry we participate in Host In Ireland’s DCs for Bees program, an industry partnership to provide pollinator habitat at data centers, in addition to other offsite efforts to improve biodiversity. As part of this program, we’ve planned our habitat landscape at our Dublin facility to include habitat for pollinators.
We are proud of what we have accomplished thus far, and we look forward to what the future holds! We are closely following the development of reporting frameworks like the Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) and Science-Based Targets for Nature (SBTN). While these frameworks are intended for industries with major biodiversity impacts (such as agriculture or forestry), we want to do our part. For onsite strategies, the draft guidance from TNFD and SBTN suggest a similar hierarchy of control to ours, indicating we’re on the right track.
For more information about our Biodiversity actions, see our Sustainability Report.