Published 29 Feb 2024

Insights into the next steps on the road to sustainable business

By, Pulsant

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At Pulsant, we are pleased to share that we ended 2023 with strong improvements in our energy efficiency results.  This is mainly thanks to infrastructure upgrades and consolidation, but also the ongoing efforts of the teams across our sites. 

Our estate power usage effectiveness metric (PUE) dropped to 1.523 in 2023 - overachieving on our target of 1.53. With infrastructure power consumption down 9% and plans to reach 1.495 in 2024, we're on a good trajectory.  In the coming year, energy consumption will be further reduced by moves to migrate older platforms to our new Cloud environment.

However, the picture is bleaker at a global level, where greenhouse gas emissions remain stubbornly high. The latest science data highlights that we're on track for a 2.5-2.9°C temperature rise, missing the Paris Agreement goals. We are seeing the impact of that here in the UK, where nature and wildlife is already under increasing threat from the impacts of climate change.

It’s a reminder to us all that we cannot become complacent. We have to look wider than our direct footprint: our influence has to stretch across our entire value chain to drive greener business process at every touch point. In particular, there are three areas I see requiring particular focus now for us as a business: renewable energy procurement, supplier engagement and consumption data transparency.


Firstly, for our supply of renewable energy, we currently purchase our energy through a supplier tariff. But more direct ways of supporting new renewable assets exist, like signing power purchase agreements (PPAs).  Physical PPAs can provide long-term contracted pricing, to enable us to lock in competitive electricity rates and reduce exposure to market price volatility. It can help provide a clear path for achieving our energy and carbon reduction goals, and directly support new renewable generation capacity. While we do not have PPAs in place at the moment, we have started to explore how we can include them in our energy procurement strategy in the future, to bring benefits for driving new renewable generation while managing energy spend. 

Secondly, engaging suppliers on decarbonisation is tough. Many have set science-based targets, but progress reducing emissions remains slow, and our impact in this area increased in 2023 due to investments we have made in our infrastructure.  Coal is still a cornerstone of power generation in many key manufacturing grids, and while everyone must work on buying less wastefully, we also need to catalyse real change across the players in our supply chain.  This year, we are starting with those suppliers where our influence is greatest.  In particular, we are embarking on a supportive engagement program with a number of SME suppliers who may not have had the resources or demand to develop their decarbonisation strategy.  

Finally, we need better visibility of power consumption data. Currently we encompass colocation client IT power as our own Scope 2 emissions, as we don’t report the consumption back to our clients in a way that enables them to take accountability for it under their operational boundaries.  Clearer feedback loops with more granular consumption data could help clients understand how their choices impact energy use as well as greenhouse gas emissions.  We are looking at this opportunity and considering ways to enable reporting improvements in this area.

In 2024, decarbonisation strategies have to become a core priority and we all need to start to communicate impacts more openly and transparently. The challenges ahead are undoubtedly complex. But by focusing on renewable procurement, supplier engagement and data transparency, we can stretch our influence further. Sustainability is a marathon not a sprint, and there are still many miles ahead of us, but the strides we've already made prove we're heading in the right direction. We are learning as we go, but maintaining an open mind focused on continuous improvement is key, as every business needs to realise it has a part to play in slowing the impact of climate change.