Measuring the IT Carbon Footprint at for “Plan Zero”
OVO Energy launched in 2009 and since then has grown to over four million customers, planting a million trees every year to help slow down climate change. In 2019 the company launched its “Plan Zero” designed to make the company a Net Zero carbon business by 2035.
The energy company is also committed to helping UK homes on their Path to Zero, with a toolkit of smart technology and advice to help customers reduce their energy bills and carbon footprint.
OVO also recently called for a new kitemark system for the green tariff market, helping customers avoid ‘greenwashing’ practices by clearly identifying which tariffs directly support decarbonisation or the generation of renewable energy.
OVO Energy won the Sunday Times 2023 award for Best Place to Work for Women for offering forward-thinking policies and better flexibility for everyone to balance work with life and also placed in the Top 10 for Best Places to Work: Very Big Organisation (2,000+ employees).
In January 2023 OVO Energy engaged sustainability specialists Px3 Ltd to evaluate the carbon footprint of its IT devices and data centres.
“Collaborating with Px3 Ltd has empowered us to acquire a depth of understanding that transcends the information typically provided by manufacturers concerning sustainable products. Previously, we were heavily reliant on manufacturers’ claims; now, our approach is more proactive and data-driven.” OVO Energy Project Sponsor, James Whitlock, Senior Technology Services Manager
Px3 Ltd used their world leading methodology based on published scientific research and a modelling tool which has been used to calculate the carbon emissions of nearly five million ICT devices in use across 164 countries.
The results indicated that the annual energy consumption of IT devices at data centres at OVO Energy is responsible for producing nearly 40,000 kg of CO2e each year. To put that in perspective, it is the equivalent of driving 150,000 miles in an average car, roughly 6 times round the world
As well as the “scope 2” emissions from the electricity use, Px3 Ltd also calculated the scope 3 “embodied emissions” for OVO Energy’s laptop and desktop devices.
This figure, which includes the manufacturing and shipping of the devices, came to a total of nearly 1.5m metric tonnes of CO2e, and would require a mature forest of 429 acres, an area the size of nearly 7,000 tennis courts, to remove the annual emissions from the atmosphere.
Net Zero and Carbon Reduction Planning
As part of the project Px3 Ltd looked at options and strategies which would help OVO Energy reduce their emissions as part of their overall Carbon Reduction Plan.
Px3 Ltd also provided OVO Energy with unlimited access to its online tools for IT carbon footprint calculation (ITCF TM) and sustainable IT device procurement (DCF TM).
“We are working diligently this year to ensure that the devices we provide to our staff, as well as our refresh cycles, align with the highest sustainability standards.
We’ve been able to actively use the data and tools provided by Px3 Ltd, which has significantly enhanced our ability to monitor and manage our device estate and lifecycle.” James Whitlock, OVO Energy
Comments from James Whitlock of OVO Energy on how the report findings and online tools would be used:
“We’ve recently launched a self-service onboarding portal which allows new hires to select their own hardware, we’re planning on adding the carbon emissions data to the portal so that there will be a total carbon cost to their associated bundle as well as packaging and delivery estimates.”
“Our strategic partnership with Px3 Ltd is instrumental in our pursuit of selecting the most environmentally friendly options and demonstrating our dedication to our sustainability commitments – it underscores our commitment to promote a greener and more sustainable future for everyone.”