With bees and other pollinators in decline around the world, Host in Ireland has called on data center operators to adopt plans to support biodiversity.
The DCs for Bees initiative has launched a Pollinator Plan this week, giving ideas for making data centers and campuses more friendly to pollinators, including preserving increasing wild flowers and making nesting sites available. The plan is backed by the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan from Ireland's National Biodiversity Data Centre.
"One third of Ireland’s 98 wild bee species are threatened with extinction and our common bumblebees continue to show startling declines in abundance. Rare species are disappearing through habitat loss and our common species are struggling because the way we currently manage the rest of the landscape means there simply isn’t enough food for them to survive. Pollinators are in enormous difficulties, but we don't have to accept that. We can change their fate," said Úna FitzPatrick, co-founder of the All-Ireland plan.
Data center operators own substantial amounts of land, and even highly-developed plots can support bee-friendly initiatives, according to DCs for Bees. The plan, launched at an online event, includes 42 suggested actions, including preserving existing hedges which contain forage plants, and reducing the mowing of lawns to allow wild flowers to grow. Bees can be given nesting places, with "bee hotels" hanging on walls, and earth banks for mining bees. DCs for Bees also suggests drilling holes in wood on site to allow more nesting space.
The data center sector was the first industry to come on board and support the All-Ireland Pollinator plan, said FitzPatrick: “Host in Ireland was the first industry-wide organization to approach us about how they could help address bee declines in Ireland. We have worked in partnership to ensure they were creating the right plan of action at the right time for the right results."
Among the data centers operators that have signed up is CyrusOne, whose managing director and EVO Matt Pullen said: “The specific plan of action in the DCs for Bees Pollinator Plan makes it easy to roll out across our company and gives our employees a tangible way to give back to our community."
It also provides benefits to the business, according to the brochure, which says it could make data centers nicer for staff and "help attract new talent to the industry, who are looking for a greater purpose to their working life. It also suggests that connecting with colleagues around pollinator support could spark other collaboration, "because it’s good to connect."
It also points out that DCs for Bees can tick a community and social responsibility (CSR) box, and give the company a success story to talk about.
“We hope this initiative acts as an exemplar for other industries to follow suit and make an even bigger difference for this very important global issue," said Garry Connolly, founder of Host in Ireland.