Shailesh Haribhakti Joins Global Leaders at World Economic Forum to Drive Innovative Board Stewardship and Climate Action

In a phone interview with Team Board Stewardship, Shailesh Haribhakti spoke from Geneva about his invitation to join 40 board directors from diverse countries and sectors for a two-day roundtable workshop at the World Economic Forum headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The roundtable’s primary focus is on catalysing innovative board leadership to adopt a stewardship mindset and ensure a systemic approach to climate action.

Shailesh Haribhakti said, “By one official estimate, Sweden could see power demand from data centres roughly double over the course of this decade—and then double again by 2040. In the UK, AI is expected to consume 500% more energy over the next decade. In the US, data centres are projected to use 8% of total power by 2030, up from 3% in 2022, according to Goldman Sachs, which described it as ‘the kind of electricity growth that hasn’t been seen in a generation.’”

Globally, there are more than 7,000 data centres built or in various stages of development, up from 3,600 in 2015. These data centres have the capacity to consume a combined 508 terawatt hours of electricity per year if they were to run constantly. That’s greater than the total annual electricity production for Italy or Australia.

By 2034, global energy consumption by data centres is expected to top 1,580 TWh, about as much as is used by all of India.

While tech companies are quick to point out that data centres account for less than 2% of global energy use even with all the expansion, an April report from Goldman Sachs estimates that figure could rise to 4% by the end of the decade.

In the US, power demand is expected to grow by 40% over the next two decades, compared with just 9% growth over the past 20 years, according to John Ketchum, chief executive officer at NextEra Energy Inc., the world’s biggest builder of wind and solar energy that isn’t backed by a government. Data centres are the biggest reason for that demand boom, Ketchum said, citing electrification and manufacturing as other factors.

This is a huge opportunity for both electrification and the greening of energy. Let the world embrace every source: sun, wind, wave, hydro, hydrogen, biogas, nuclear, fusion, and any other new innovations. We have the ability to move completely to renewables in a decade. Let’s not lose this, just transition!“

The World Economic Forum, in partnership with the Climate Governance Initiative (CGI), is helping Boards navigate this complex landscape by equipping them with the necessary tools and insights to implement the Principles of Effective Climate Governance and embed climate in their organisational strategies.


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