The backstory on Iron Mountain's 20 ambitious sustainability goals

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We saw a wave of higher expectations for Iron Mountain from a boom in socially responsible investing (SRI) and demand for ESG disclosure to employees motivated to make a difference and customers asking us to match their ESG efforts.

Kevin Hagen
Kevin Hagen
Vice President, ESG Strategy
June 4, 20217 mins
Early last year we realized we would achieve the long range environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals we had announced in previous years. For example, in the case of our Science based Greenhouse goal we not only doubled the reduction, we did it six years early. Those achievements and the data to support them are represented in our new 2020 Annual Corporate Responsibility Report.

As we got closer to those achievements, we knew we needed new, bolder goals.

To kick off our new goal-setting process, we started with a double check of our most significant E, S & G issues - in the trade it’s called a “materiality assessment.” From the inside view, we learned a lot about our ESG impacts and measurements, as well as what we were capable of, which shifted our thinking and made us ready for more.

We recognized that we needed to CLIMB HIGHER™ in several areas. For example:
  • Changes Industry expectations and regulatory shifts in secure data and information destruction meant that we needed to take a more proactive approach to Circular Economy solutions for customers and zero waste in our own operations.
  • The rapid growth of our Data Center Business and its energy consumption meant that we needed strong steps for renewable energy, climate neutral operations and we had to make sure our construction was environmentally and socially responsible so we would be able to help our customers reach their goals.
  • The growth of our international business meant that we needed to take another look at what inclusion, diversity and equity means in a global context. How can we better serve customers and our communities? And how can we influence social change and advantage our business by ensuring that women and minorities are well represented in leadership.
From the outside perspective, 2020 proved that from social justice to climate change, our stakeholder expectations were moving. We saw a wave of higher expectations for Iron Mountain – from a boom in socially responsible investing (SRI) and demand for ESG disclosure to employees motivated to make a difference to social justice on the front page and customers asking us to match their ESG efforts.

Based on these internal and external factors, Iron Mountain developed six long-range, ambitious Social and Environmental commitments for 2030 to 2040 that set direction, inspire innovation and encourage others to join us. A few of these long-range goals include:
  • Iron Mountain will join The Climate Pledge and achieve Net Zero emissions by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Climate Accord.
  • By 2040 we will use 100% clean electricity, 100% of the time in our data centers. To accelerate decarbonization of the grid, we are going beyond our RE100 commitment of 100% renewable electricity. We will use the Google methodology for matching site by site electricity use with local clean power generation every hour, every day to achieve 24/7 clean power.
  • By 2040 we will drive Circular Economy innovation by working toward zero waste in our operations and collaborating with others to create closed-loop Products and Services.
  • By 2030 all Iron Mountain Data Centers worldwide will be Climate Neutral, as part of our commitment as a signatory to the EU Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact.
In addition to setting bold long-term commitments, we also want to deliver real action in the near term, so we are also committed to reaching 14 goals by 2025 or sooner to hold ourselves accountable for delivering real impact “on our way there”:
  • By 2025 all new construction multi-tenant data center facilities will be certified to the BREEAM Green Building Standard.
  • By 2025, women will represent 40% of our global leadership
  • By 2025, people who identify as BIPOC will represent 30% of U.S. leadership
You can find the full list of all 20 goals in the 2020 Annual Corporate Responsibility Report.

I hope you’ll find these newly set goals encouraging and hopeful, and that you’ll join us on the journey to Secure a Sustainable future. I invite you to send us feedback that can help us improve. We are well on our way to creating a more sustainable future, and we look forward to the support from our industry, customers and Mountaineers to help us get there.

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