The announcement builds on what was presented in late 2021 that Zscaler has reached 100% renewable energy across its global offices and data centers. Zscaler is clearly keen on dispatching sustainable cloud credentials, which makes sense in a market where potential customers seek to hone their Domain 3 credentials, thus becoming more inquisitive about supply chain sustainability.
“As we continue to focus on supporting our customers, it is important that we make a positive impact on our planet,” said Jay Choudhury, CEO, Chairman and Founder of Zscaler. “Zscaler partners with IT leaders to modernize their operations with a Zero Trust security approach that eliminates the need for on-premises security devices, resulting in less IT waste and reduced energy use – all while working towards our shared carbon reduction goals.”
Zscaler determines that carbon neutrality for the 2022 calendar year was obtained by combining renewable energy credits (RECs) and offset carbon purchases, matching their projected electricity consumption and carbon emissions, respectively. Zscaler is also working with an external third party on a validated methodology for carbon inventory and total emissions determination.
The company has contacted 2 . range emissions By “Updating the Data Center Selection Process to Incorporate Renewable Energy Use Standards.” Zscaler goes on to state that it is buying RECs that support local wind and solar projects. Scope 1 and broader 3 emissions from office, business travel, side-customer procurement and public cloud use are offset by permanent and additional carbon credits from verified third-party projects.
More details required
These statements raise some questions. How much energy does Zscaler generate through renewables? What exactly type of RECs is bridging the gap? There is great variance in the type and quality of RECs and there are no global standards for certification. Computing contacted Zscaler for clarification on these points and got the following answer:
“Access to 100% renewable energy to power our offices and over 150 data centers is the result of action taken by our data center providers and RECs purchased by Zscaler. Through the Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange, approximately 75% of the energy used is Renewable and purchased directly by data center providers Some of our largest providers have virtual power purchase agreements To access 100% renewable energy Zscaler addresses the balance in non-renewable energy use by purchasing RECs that support local solar and wind projects. We choose this approach because as a secure service provider, our footprint is not concentrated in any one place, but is spread across many global locations.
“Our customers have access to a comprehensive dashboard that includes the amount of traffic in specific data centers and the associated renewables purchased directly by these providers. Additionally, customers have the ability to choose specific data centers to process their traffic.
“Carbon offsets are used to match emissions from other sources, including office Scope 1 emissions, and Scope 3 emissions covering business travel and procurement as well as customer and public cloud use.”
On this last point, Zscaler also provided the 2021 Greenhouse Gas Inventory Verification, which shows the extent to which Scope 3 is included. The verification provides for the exclusion of 7 categories including staff mobility, process waste, and fuel and energy-related activities (not included in Scope 2. ) Some basic carbon accounting is included so that Scope 2 emissions are shown based on location and market but there are no details to offset Scope 3.
It also remains a question of third party verification of carbon projects for which carbon credits have been claimed. There are several criteria for carbon offset, and they differ widely in the strictness of their criteria for avoidance and survival. The most used is Certified Carbon Standard (VCS) But you can also choose gold scalesfor example, who does not testify REDD + Carbon credits given to avoid deforestation but especially Controversial Carbon credit type.
Carbon neutrality is not enough
Zscaler acknowledges that, like the rest of the tech sector, it needs to do more:
“We recognize that carbon neutral is not the end goal, and that deeper reductions and improvements are necessary to reach net zero. Over the years, cloud platform improvements have increased productivity by 12 times per unit of account, operating and environmental benefits. To reach our goal of reaching To net zero by 2025 we will continue to use data to evaluate our operations to track emissions drivers. We also know that deeper engagement with suppliers is essential. As we have identified customer use of our cloud as the largest source of emissions, we continue to strive and work with our data center providers to increase efficiency and use Renewable energy is a priority. We will address the remaining balance of the greenhouse gas footprint from Bands 1 and 3 by continuing to improve our procurement processes and policies as we pave the way to net zero by 2025.”
Zscaler can add to this list of commitments, to make its emissions and carbon accounting data, as well as key sustainability data on water, waste, etc., available within publicly available ESG reports in line with other cloud vendors. Even if this data is buried away at the end of a glossy report (and it usually is), it helps potential clients seeking to examine the impact of the services they subscribe to if they can easily access them.