Data flows through almost everything we do, from communication, to video streaming to business - and its use is increasing exponentially. By 2030, global dataflows are expected to be more than 20 times those of 2018. As our society uses more and more data, we need to simultaneously find ways to deliver that extra capacity without consuming excess energy.
In September 2020, ING worked with leading data center company Aligned Energy to sign the first ever sustainability-linked loan (SLL). In this innovative lending facility, the regular pricing system is based on sustainability targets, with the goal of supporting and rewarding clients planning on becoming more sustainable.
“Building data centers is a capital-intensive business. Closing this milestone financing enables us to converge those key components into an industry-first that benefits our customers and ensures Aligned is well-positioned for scalable, sustainable growth,”
Anubhav Raj, CFO, Aligned.
The $1 billion refinancing package includes a revolving credit facility and term loan tranches (commitments for end-dated loans), all structured with sustainability Key Performance Indicators related to energy efficiency, safety rate and certification. in short, sustainability KPIs are part of the loan package.
This financing helps Aligned Energy, already consistently a high scorer in power usage effectiveness (PUE), build on its sustainability credentials.
“Aligning our objectives to enable a greener digital economy isn’t just critical to creating a more sustainable future, it’s also smart business.”
Andrew Schaap, CEO Aligned Energy
The deal paused briefly in March 2020 as the Covid-19 crisis impacted the US. The deal teams quickly transitioned to working virtually, underscoring the relevance of placing data at the center of sustainability planning.
“This data center financing and our sustainability solutions are at the cross-roads of the convergence of two very large and impactful trends - the need to green all industries, and the acceleration of data usage in the digital age,”
Dan Shurey, VP Sustainable Finance Americas, ING.
Andrew Schaap, CEO of Aligned Energy explains that when dealing with the top technology creators and consumers in the world, there is an ongoing collaboration to make efficient use of space and infrastructure. This includes sustainable construction processes and materials, to efficient, water and energy-saving technologies such as Aligned Energy's Delta3 cooling system. Sustainability-linked financing is a part of the company's core environmental and growth objectives.