Google, presently the world’s largest media company, reduced its carbon emissions by 9% from the previous year, based on large investments in renewable energy. More remarkable is the fact that for a fourth year in a row, Google is emitting less greenhouse gases per dollar of revenue generated. Efficiency! In Google’s words:
”This means that our footprint is growing more slowly than our business because we’re able to get more done with each gram of carbon we emit.”
For the wonks out there, Google follows reporting guidelines from the Carbon Disclosure Project, and participates in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s Scope 2 Accounting Process. In simple terms, though, what this all means is that Google is powering more of its operations with clean, low-carbon energy — mostly wind power in Iowa, Oklahoma (US) and Sweden.
Interestingly, Google also noted the average carbon pollution it generates to serve an active Google user, measured in relation to the amount of Google products and services such a user would consume over a whole month. Google estimates this as being the equivalent of driving one mile. Yup, that’s probably you and me; our online activities using Google platforms generate about 8 grams of carbon a day! Not bad, but I’m glad this number is going down each year, as Google ramps up its reliance on renewable energy.
Why this is cool: Google has over 70 offices in 40 countries, and is growing. Currently, about 34% of its operations are powered by renewable energy. It has data centers in at least four continents, and hundreds of thousands (if not over a million) servers. It’s a company whose value depends, to a great extent, on being continually powered, fast, and reliable. If Google can steadily reduce its carbon pollution and increase its use of clean energy, this should definitely be an option for less complex, less energy-guzzling companies to explore.