In 2014, data centers made up nearly two percent of electricity usage in the United States, and while colocation data center (colo) usage continues to grow, so do ambitious environmental sustainability and renewable energy commitments by colo service providers and their clients. In 2016, corporate members of BSR’s Future of Internet Power, a collaborative initiative dedicated to powering the internet with 100 percent renewable energy, set out to develop guidelines related to colo procurement of renewable energy that would support zero-carbon claims by clients against their colo data center energy usage. 

This working paper provides details about greenhouse gas scope accounting and reporting per the World Resources Institute’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol, explains the implications of scope double-counting for zero-carbon reporting when a renewable energy purchase is made, and proposes recommendations for consideration by key stakeholders.

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