Sustainable Operations and Carbon Emissions Reductions
A core tenet of our approach to corporate responsibility is our ability to balance the achievement of financial results with sustainability goals that align with our commitment to driving shareholder value. As a company employing more than 5,000 people around the world, ICE is committed to preserving our planet’s natural resources and ensuring the health and safety of our employees, families and communities. ICE is not a manufacturer or transportation company where activity levels can easily be measured for their impact to our environment. Our biggest environmental impact relates to the footprint of our office facilities and data centers, as well as our employee travel. During our 16-year history, as we have grown, we have worked to reduce our environmental footprint, consolidate offices and improve the efficiency of our facilities and their surroundings. Toward this end, we have achieved significant milestones in our efforts to operate more efficiently, reduce waste and realize cost savings.
Our Procurement and Purchasing Guidelines consider energy and environmental factors, and our goal is to ensure that suppliers’ activities are performed to high environmental and health and safety standards. These guidelines consider many factors, including energy usage, waste minimization, waste disposal implications and noise levels. These procedures apply to the energy, services, products and equipment purchased by ICE NYSE. We also subscribe to the European Code of Conduct for Energy Efficiency in Data Centre and Best Practices for the EU Code on Data Centres.
We operate our global businesses around the clock each business day on multiple continents. The safety and security of our employees is paramount in all of our locations, and we work to provide locations that serve our employees. Recognizing that our office facilities are a component of our environmental footprint, we strive to implement programs and initiatives that reduce that footprint in the following areas:
Intercontinental Exchange is a leader in financial services technology, and this includes our data centers. Our customers expect to be able to trade with extraordinary speed, reliability and ease. They require global access, risk management and super high-performance data and execution capabilities, all with ultra-low latency. Our data centers enable a global trading ecosystem that helps build our capital markets through the interplay of our listed companies, market participants and general investors.
Two of our primary data centers are located in Mahwah, NJ and Basildon, UK, and currently host thousands of ultra-high performance servers. These state-of-the-art data centers have been designed to meet the demand for high availability and lowest latency access to the market, but were also built to support our sustainability goals.
We designed the data centers from the ground up with expansion capacity to support our needs for a number of years into the future. We selected the land, designed and built the structures, installed the technology and manage the operations on a 24x7 basis.
Our Basildon data center was built to stringent specifications, allowing us to later attain the following ISO accreditations:
At Basildon, electricity is purchased only from renewable sources, in particular hydro and wind energy. Energy systems also ensure compliance with lighting codes and regulations around energy-saving initiatives.
Both centers have implemented industry leading techniques to improve energy efficiency, reduce waste and offset operating emissions. The building structures provide a high level of insulation and minimize outside air infiltration, reducing solar heat gains, lowering thermal losses and delivering a more efficient cooling profile and a lower energy demand. The design and operation of the cooling plants, using variable speed controllers and intelligent plant control algorithms, provide the best match of the cooling supply to the cooling demand, minimizing capacity overprovisioning and reducing peak power consumption.
Equipment selection has been made to provide a high level of operating efficiency, including low consumption luminaires and smart lighting control systems, which help to reduce electrical lighting demand in the data centers by up to 30 percent. The on-premise solar photovoltaic renewable energy sources at the two sites produced 2069 MWh of energy in 2015. We are purchasing “Green” power for the Basildon center from renewable hydro and water sources and we have reduced our sulfur oxide (SOX) emissions for the standby generators at both data centers by using only low sulfur fuel and an advanced engine management system that minimizes pollutant emissions.
Serving carbon emissions and renewable markets
ICE considers sustainability not only in terms of reducing its operational footprint and realizing cost savings, but also in terms of how we address business opportunities provided by the development of environmental markets and market mechanisms to mitigate climate change and environmental risk. Today, through these markets, we provide critical risk management tools to facilitate the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and acid rain and encourage the use of renewable energy. Our environmental markets also help businesses meet government-mandated emissions reduction targets and other regulations in a cost-effective manner. The establishment of a transparent, market-based pricing system helps companies make decisions on how to allocate resources and invest in new technologies and innovative solutions. ICE's products provide open markets, price discovery and transparency for the environmental markets, as well as an effective means to comply with the requirements of various government programs.
We invested in environmental markets as early as 2003, through a partnership with the Climate Exchange PLC which we acquired in 2010. As the world’s leading carbon market, ICE has now over a decade of investing in our exchange and clearing businesses to drive the adoption of carbon emission markets to support the reduction of greenhouse gases. Today, ICE is the market leader in European and North American (both in the U.S. and Canada) emissions and renewable energy markets. We continue to innovate and design contracts that meet the demand for new products and areas of compliance as these markets expand globally. ICE invests in employees, systems and services to support the development of these markets and new emissions products on an annual basis.
ICE lists futures and options contracts in the U.S. and Europe that are based on government programs that seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the use of renewable forms of energy, such as wind and solar. ICE Futures Europe is the world’s leading market for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Similarly, ICE Futures U.S. is the leading operator of markets for U.S. regional carbon reduction programs, including state-run renewable energy certificates, and the EPA’s Clean Air Act.
In addition to our traded environmental markets, ICE also supports market-based initiatives through the operation of allowance auctions and an offset registry.
European Emissions Trading System
The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) is a cornerstone of the European Union's policy to combat climate change and is a key tool for reducing industrial greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively. Being the first — and largest — international system for trading greenhouse gas emission allowances, the EU ETS covers more than 11,000 power stations and industrial plants in 31 countries, as well as airlines.
ICE Futures Europe lists futures and options contracts for EU allowances, EU aviation allowances, and Certified Emissions Reductions. Since launching in 2005, contracts accounting for more than 45 billion tons of carbon emissions have traded on the ICE platform.
California Cap and Trade Program
The State of California passed a law in 2006 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The program, which covers large industrial emitters as well as electricity generators and importers, kicked off in 2013 and expanded to include transportation fuels in 2015. In 2014, the Canadian province of Quebec linked its carbon cap and trade program to California’s.
ICE Futures US lists futures and options contracts based on the California Carbon Allowances that form the basis of California’s cap and trade program. Since launching in August of 2011 ICE has traded contracts accounting for 938 million tons of emissions related to California’s program.
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) was the first market-based greenhouse gas reduction program in the U.S. It launched in 2009 with participation from several states in the Northeast. Following a program review in 2012, RGGI set a new 2014 cap of 91 million short tons that will decline by 2.5% a year through 2020. RGGI states sell nearly all emission allowances through auctions and invest proceeds in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and other consumer benefit programs. These programs are spurring innovation in the clean energy economy and creating green jobs in the RGGI states.
ICE Futures US lists futures and options contracts based on RGGI allowances and has traded contracts accounting for more than 1.5 billion tons since trading began in 2008.
EPA Criteria Pollutant Markets (SO2 and NOx)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized rules in 2011 that reduce air pollution and attain clean air standards. These rules, known as the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), require states to significantly improve air quality by reducing power plant emissions that contribute to ozone and/or fine particle pollution in other states.
ICE Futures US lists futures and options contracts based on the various programs for SO2 and NOx reduction.
Renewable Energy Certificates
Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are used to track and account for the use of renewable energy including for the purposes of state-administered programs that require electric utilities to use a prescribed amount of renewable energy.
ICE Futures US lists futures and options contracts based on renewable energy programs run by the States of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Texas. Since launching trading of RECs in 2009, ICE has traded contracts accounting for more than 25 million certificates.
Advocating for sustainability and the environment
ICE is a member of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) and the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative (UN SSEI). Since 2014, ICE has been a participating member of the WFE’s Sustainability Working Group, comprising representatives from 22 global stock exchanges. Creation of this group in 2014 signaled the industry’s commitment to explore and integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics. In participating in industry initiatives and forums such as the WFE and the UN SSEI, ICE has played a role in developing ESG guidelines. A more uniform approach and framework to ESG reporting ultimately benefits our members by reducing cost and uncertainty around reporting standards, while enhancing corporate transparency. We encourage the use of a company and industry specific framework.
We contributed to the WFE Sustainability Working Group’s year-long project that culminated in a set of voluntary recommendations to WFE member exchanges on how to implement their sustainability policies. This guidance includes a recommendation to review disclosure guidelines for issuers as they consider reporting on ESG factors in their respective businesses. ICE supports the efforts of companies to determine the best way for them to achieve their sustainability goals, and we support disclosure of these goals and their progress to investors and other stakeholders.
In addition to our participation in the WFE’s Sustainability Working Group, the NYSE also serves the investor community by creating forums for listed companies to exchange information and share best practices on ESG by hosting sustainability events. We address business and societal impacts of our operating practices and participate in evolving conversations to best serve customers and investors.