Google is an impressive company in many ways. But one thing I didn’t know is that they’ve been carbon neutral since 2007. This is actually Google Chrome’s fault! Since it is my preferred browser, I never go to Google.com. Today I found myself there, looking for a potential Google Doodle to write about, and instead, I saw the Carbon Neutral button.
he exciting thing about them being carbon neutral since 2007 is that they were one of the first major companies to accomplish this! Yes, Google is that hipster that did it before it was cool. And that’s pretty amazing.
Ecosia vs. Google: Carbon Neutral
While Google has always been easier for me to use, I have done my best to use Ecosia as much as possible. Ecosia is responsible for planting over 120 million trees and counting. I’ll be writing a follow-up all about them; I can’t believe I haven’t already done an article about them.
Based in Berlin, Germany, Ecosia is a search engine that donates 80% or more of its profits to nonprofit organizations. Most of their donations go towards reforestation and planting trees, so Ecosia considers itself a social business. They are not just carbon neutral like Google is. They are CO₂-negative, plus they are transparent about where their profits go.
Google is not as transparent with how it spends its money. In fact, I couldn’t find out much about what it does with its profits. I did find this one infographic from 2011, and it was nice to see that Google employees got an 11% raise based on the company’s success. So Google is definitely doing many good things, even though they may not be as selfless as Ecosia.
Google: Carbon Neutral vs Carbon Free
According to well,… Google, Google has been carbon neutral since 2007, and they plan to be carbon-free by 2030. But what do all these words mean?
Carbon Neutrality Defined
To be carbon neutral refers to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by balancing carbon dioxide emissions with removal (often through carbon offsetting) or simply eliminating carbon dioxide emissions altogether (the transition to the “post-carbon economy.”).
Carbon Free Defined
Containing no carbon, free of carbon. Not producing any carbon compounds such as carbon dioxide might contribute to pollution; not associated with the atmosphere’s net emission of carbon dioxide.
Carbon Neutral vs. Carbon Free
To be carbon neutral refers to compensating for the carbon produced. Carbon-free means that no carbon was produced in the first place, which is Google’s goal by 2030.
Carbon Negative Defined
The term carbon-negative takes the concept of carbon neutrality a step further. Where carbon neutral is an equal balance between the carbon dioxide you emit into the atmosphere and how much you remove it, carbon-negative means you remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than you emit.
A company that is carbon negative like Ecosia is either ‘overcompensating’ for the carbon they produce or it they do not produce any AND they work towards removing carbon produced by others.
Google: Carbon Neutral to Carbon Free
Google’s goal is to be carbon-free by 2030. This means that they will take their efforts one step further. However, being carbon-free by 2030 is considered a stretch goal, according to CEO Sundar Pichai. Because in order for Google to achieve this, they will need to go beyond the tech industry norm of offsetting carbon emissions from electricity use. He claims that it will require technological and political breakthroughs to achieve.
To achieve and maintain carbon neutrality, 61% of Google’s global hourly electricity usage in 2019 was created by wind, solar, and other renewable sources. Even achieving carbon neutrality was a big undertaking:
“Google has been carbon-neutral since 2007, meaning it has planted trees, bought carbon credits and funded large amounts of wind power in places where it is abundant to offset its tapping of coal and natural gas power in other regions. It also said Monday that its estimated 1 million metric tons of emissions between 2006 and its 1998 launch now have been offset.
The company’s new goals include bringing 5 gigawatts of renewable energy near some suppliers, funding tree planting beyond its offset needs and sharing data or forging partnerships with 500 governments around the world to try to cut 1 gigaton of carbon emissions annually by 2030.”NY Post
Summary: Google Carbon Neutral
The great news is, Google is doing more than most major companies when it comes to the environment. Whether it is out of the kindness of their hearts, worry for humanity, or just for show, it’s a good thing either way. Knowing that it is trying so hard makes me feel better about using them so much. However, I have added the Ecosia extension again. While trying to get information about Google on Ecosia, I was prompted to switch back to Google Search. But I can’t blame them for promoting themselves.
Follow The Travel Bug Bite for more great content. I will be writing about Ecosia soon because they are fantastic and they need more recognition for what they do.