Contact centre sustainability: Is your reporting accurate enough?

Net zero progress must be comprehensively reported for credibility, so contact centre operators need appropriate reporting for their cloud-based private data centre services.

Contact centre sustainability: Is your reporting accurate enough?

Net zero progress must be comprehensively reported for credibility, so contact centre operators need appropriate reporting for their cloud-based private data centre services.

Sarwar Khan
Sarwar KhanSenior Manager, Global Digital Sustainability, Business

Today, more than 2,200 companies – a third of the global economy’s market – report their sustainability performance, but do they have the tools to measure their total carbon footprint accurately?

Increasingly, society will expect full accountability, including hard-to-measure Scope 3 emissions – the indirect emissions from an organisation’s value chain.

It’s critical that organisations can rely on their sustainability monitoring data so that their progress tracking is accurate, and they don’t run the risk of making false claims that could negatively impact their brand reputation.

Surprisingly, however, feedback within the sustainability landscape is that around 40% of emissions claims are incorrect.

Tackling the Scope 3 issue

For our customers, our private cloud contact centre services fall into Scope 3, and we’ve been working on providing transparent sustainability data for some time. Although the net operational emission from our data centres is zero, customers need gross emissions data for their reporting since we are powered by 100% renewable electricity.

Our ambition is to develop a solution in the contact centre sustainability space that captures the data and measurements necessary for visibility.

We’re providing a monitoring and reporting mechanism for our cloud-based contact centre services hosted in BT private data centres. Independent third parties will be able to verify this, making it easy for our customers to validate their sustainability progress.

Key partnerships accelerated our progress

Our customers told us credibility is important, so we sought an academic partner to help us build a methodology that offered organisations an objective, standardised, and auditable measurement of total carbon emissions across their private data centre estate.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands had published innovative work on the matter. They recognised that consumers of cloud-based IT services cannot access their suppliers’ data centre operations or understand their total energy consumption. Their experience in this area made it an ideal partner.

Our other partner, QiO, brought expertise in optimising industrial asset performance to achieve net zero emissions. QiO joined the project to build out the pilot work of the University of Groningen into a more widely applicable model.

Our joint project was in three phases:

1. Creating a prototype

Initially, we developed a first draft of a monitoring and visualisation system capable of measuring the carbon footprint of privately hosted services in our data centres. Using a data centre in the Netherlands as our prototype, we identified all the factors and variables that could affect energy consumption there. 

But there were limitations, mainly focused on missing data points, such as the power consumption of data centre lighting, cooling and airflow for data centres we don’t own. Plus, our methodology relied on manual data gathering, which meant we could only provide a monthly report instead of one in real time.

2. Consolidating and automating the model

In our second development phase, we explored how to accurately estimate the missing data, and how to automate the process across other data centres.

The University of Groningen created an imputation methodology that accurately represented missing data, so our model could give a complete picture of energy use.

QiO joined the project to help us expand our model by connecting all our servers and data centres, ensuring it could work for data centres around the globe. It also automated the data collection process, opening the door to offering a real-time view of energy consumption.

3. Creating an effective sustainability tool

Our ultimate goal is enabling our customers to combine all their emissions data into a single reporting measurement. To help with this, we aligned our methodology with the GHG Corporate Protocol Standard to make consolidating data easy, and a foundation of rigorous academic research.

We continue to work on expanding our capabilities so we’ll be able to measure public cloud offerings as well. This is important in a multi-cloud world, mainly since research shows that moving core infrastructure into the public cloud can create energy efficiency savings of up to 93% – making cloud contact centres, for example, potentially more sustainable than on-premises operations.

True sustainability stats at a glance

Our vision is to offer a live dashboard to help your organisation access a credible and auditable methodology for measuring its cloud contact centre carbon footprint. Incorporating QiO’s dashboard tool, you can generate real-time reports, showing the total energy emissions of your cloud contact centre services at any time in close detail.

We intend to include control settings recommended by artificial intelligence (AI) to improve your energy efficiency further. This will help identify and implement operating systems that reduce energy consumption, cost, and carbon emissions in real time.

We’re committed to building a sustainable operational future for our business, and our customers’ organisations. We’re proud that our Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) environmental rating is ‘A’ on climate. This puts us in the top 3% of 9,500 global reporters. Also, we are proud to be ranked ‘Platinum’ by EcoVadis.

Find out more about our work on sustainability and how we are developing tools to help your organisation achieve its environmental targets.