Proposal 3: Google Reduces Its Carbon Footprint to Zero


With fossil fuel use as high as it is, there is a notable need for action from the government.  We need them to either prevent our use (which wouldn’t go over well) or incentivize people to gravitate toward cleaner sources of energy.  In addition to that, large companies need to promote sustainability in the workplace.  If businesses show the benefit of renewable energy in the office, people may begin to make changes in their personal lives.

Businesses in general are beginning to see how sustainable practices are helping the bottom line by attracting environmentally-conscious customers and cutting upfront costs. However, there are still some companies that don’t see how attempting to be sustainable can be helpful.  They believe that the transition will either be too difficult or too expensive to be worthwhile.  Luckily, some fledgling companies have incorporated environmental resourcefulness into their culture as they have grown.  As a result their operating decisions become sustainable without a second thought once they mature.

Google is a great example of a company that has made a concerted effort to go green.  In this document (found using Google Scholar), they explain their power purchase agreements (PPA’s) which describe how they get their electricity and where it comes from.  Google also explains why they are trying to reduce their carbon footprint to zero, which is a lofty goal to say the least.  In order to achieve this, they are aiming to generate power more efficiently, to purchase carbon credits to offset emissions, and to use carbon-free renewable electricity.  They determined ways to achieve their goal while also being economical and green.  Google then continues to explain how they want to invest in projects that will either cause a new renewable project to be built or increase demand for renewable energy.  This document makes a firm argument for corporate sustainability.

People don’t always consider a business’s operations when thinking about sustainability and carbon emissions, but operating machinery and buildings constitutes a significant portion of daily electricity use.  I’m glad to see companies being so open about their efforts and their shortcomings in this field.  This document helps bring another viewpoint to my idea of policy for carbon use/emissions.  The information presented in this paper is not research per se, but since it is a report about Google by Google, the information presented should be quite accurate.  I feel like this information could help a company that doesn’t know where to start on the road to sustainability by showing the answers Google found to questions it had.  I also believe that this information is telling of a larger movement in the corporate world: going green saves green (to be cliche).

I believe this information is rather reliable when focusing on Google.  Who else would know better about the company’s efforts to reduce their carbon emissions?  I’m sure there is some exaggeration in the paper to make Google look like the paragon of environmentality, but there is still a good bit of helpful information.  While the point of the paper is likely for users of Google’s services, other companies can use it as a starting point for making the transition to sustainability.

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