One small movement for mankind — investing in our planet

Apr 28, 2023

By Ásdís Ólafsdóttir

Last weekend we celebrated the 53rd Earth Day. With the passing of this day, most of us around the world are reminded of the everyday impact we have on our planet. But, at atNorth, we are reminded of this across all our operations every single day, not just on Earth Day. While it is hard to pin down exact numbers, it’s widely known that our industry is one of the biggest consumers of power, estimated to account for approximately 1 to 1.5% of global electricity use, and as digital technology continues to grow at pace, this will result in a massive energy demand from data centers. 

Rather than seeing this as a negative, atNorth see it as an opportunity for the industry to embrace sustainable initiatives, which is why we build our services to be environmentally responsible, power our sites with low carbon energy and support the circular economy with our innovative use of heat recovery. To reiterate our sustainable commitments, atNorth have received the ISO 14001certification for Environmental Management for both our Iceland and Sweden sites. I’m extremely proud to have been part of this process and for the dedication to sustainability across the whole of our business. We strive for continuous improvement in ecological matters and having a functional environmental management system is a key dimension in our ongoing sustainability strategy.

In exploring what it means for our organization and industry to invest” in sustainability and reduce our carbon footprint, I reflected on what Earth Day means to me. How does this impact the decisions I make on a daily basis, as well as the plans I help put in place within our business so that we can be as environmentally responsible as is truly possible, as we continue our mission to drive more sustainable IT operations. 

atNorth's Sustainability Manager, Ásdís Ólafsdóttir
atNorth’s Sustainability Manager, Ásdís Ólafsdóttir

Earth Day represents the point where nature meets humanity for me and with every year that goes by, a stark reminder of the state of our climate today. Every spring on April 22nd we celebrate’ our earth, but what I see is nature waking up from its winter hibernation, snow melting and rain drying up to reveal the once again shocking amount of rubbish and debris that has spread around our earth from country to country. Disappointing at best, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to looking after our planet. 

I am so incredibly proud to live in a place that recognizes this and that puts our earth at the core of our government and our people. In Iceland, we dedicate Earth Day to cleaning up our environment, where citizens are encouraged to go out and pick up trash in their local area. It is something we have done collectively for years, and the turnout is positive and promising. And in more recent years we have seen an increase in plogging too, which has been so encouraging. President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson himself takes part in weekly plogging and has even joined local groups and schools in Iceland to lead by example that small steps can lead to big changes, and we can all play a part, no matter how big or small.

Believe it or not, Plogging is a relatively new movement that combines jogging with picking up litter. Having emerged in Sweden in 2016, the name is derived from the Swedish plocka upp (meaning pick up) and jogga (jog). It started as an organized activity in Sweden around 2016 and spread to other countries in 2018, following increased concern about plastic pollution. Iceland was quick to take up plogging in 2018, and already has numerous plogging trails for residents across the country to experience exercising in nature while looking after the land around them. 

These initiatives demonstrate a real willingness to help clean up the litter that surrounds us all and are a great way to unite communities to take better care of their local area and the unique planet we are so fortunate to inhabit. Taking good care of the earth is not the exclusive business of any individual or company, everyone can do something to increase the stability of the climate on earth and we can all lead by exam​ple​.It is refreshing to work for a company that puts sustainability at its heart. At atNorth, we understand and take responsibility for the impact of our operations on both the environment and society, and we continue to prioritize the critical role that the IT industry plays in global sustainability. Moreover, we are fortunate to be part of an industry that cares and is passionate about change. As we continue to work together, we can invest in our Earth and make the right difference to protect and future proof our planet.

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