Google

RATING

SECTOR

Technology

WEBSITE

CONTACT

GooglePlex
1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy,
Mountain View,
CA 94043
USA

STOCK EXCHANGE

LISTING

  • Forbes America’s Best Employers #6

EMPLOYEES

127,498 

CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER

Kate Brandt

AWARDS

CONTENT SOURCE

FURTHER READING

Report created by Cec Ehrhard

Google, LLC

SECTIONS :  Sustainability    Evaluation  •  Progress  •  Watch  •  Overview

Company Activity

Google, LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, a search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware.

Google’s goal is to “develop services that significantly improve the lives of as many people as possible”. They state that Google believes in technology’s potential to have a positive impact on the world. 

Google generates revenues primarily by delivering both performance advertising and brand advertising. Google’s core products — Android, Chrome, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, Google Play, Search, and YouTube — each have more than 1 billion monthly active users. 

Google also offers a broad collection of cloud-based products and services, including G Suite business productivity apps like Docs, Drive, and Calendar and satellite mapping and analysis platforms like Google Earth and Google Earth Engine. In recent years, they’ve expanded into consumer electronics with products including Chromecast, Google Home, Google Nest Hub, Google Pixel, and Google Pixelbook. 

Google is wholly owned subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., which had $161.8 billion in total revenues in 2019 and 127,498 full-time employees as of December 31, 2019.

Google owns and leases office and building space, as well as research and development sites, across more than 150 cities, primarily in North America, Europe, South America, and Asia, and they own and operate 15 data centers across four continents.

Company Sustainability Activity

Google believes that “technology can be used to help address the biggest issues facing humanity. Climate change is a pressing global issue that poses an imminent threat to our planet. It’s clear that immediate action must be taken on a global scale if the impacts of climate change are to be mitigated and, ideally, reversed.”

Google has a commitment to climate action and environmental stewardship as well as having a diversity commitment. The company claims that it matched 100% of the electricity consumption of its global operations with renewable energy.

Google invests in exploring the role of artificial intelligence in helping them achieve even greater energy efficiency gains in their data centers, and prioritize the use of healthy materials with safe chemistry across Google’s built spaces. Beyond Google’s operations, they engage in most sustainable development goals. 

Highlights

  • By the end of 2018, Google Nest Thermostats have helped customers cumulatively save more than 29 billion kWh of energy.
  • Carbon neutral since 2007, and now for the second year in a row, they’ve matched 100% of the electricity their operations use with renewables 
  • 1.2 million square meters (13 million square feet) of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified offices, and to products
  • All of the products in their Cloud are carbon neutral
  • By the end of 2018, they had contracts to purchase more than 3.75 gigawatts (GW) of output from renewable energy projects. These contracts have led to nearly $5 billion in new capital investment in projects around the world.
  • Through Google.org, they’ve awarded millions of dollars in grants to promising water-conservation solutions.
  • By the end of 2018, they achieved a 3% reduction in potable water intensity at their Bay Area headquarters — equivalent to avoiding the use of over 42 million liters (11 million gallons) of potable water.
  • They diverted 87% of waste from their global data center operations away from landfills.
  • By using Google shuttles in the Bay Area, they saved 40,000 tons CO2 e emissions — equivalent to taking 8,760 cars off the road every workday.
  • From 2017 to 2018, they reduced carbon emissions for product shipments by 40% per unit, on average.
  • Google Maps provides more than 1 billion kilometers’ (621 million miles’) worth of transit results per day, helping limit carbon emissions by giving people access to mass transit options, bike routes, and traffic information.
  • Since 2015, Project Sunroof has mapped more than 107 million rooftops in 21,500 cities across Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
  • By the end of 2018, Project Air View had captured more than 475 million cumulative air quality measurements in 62 cities worldwide.
  • Earth Engine has enabled tens of thousands of active users around the world to easily analyze 20 petabytes of geospatial information, resulting in a deeper understanding of the planet.

Targets

Reducing environmental footprint

  • Maintain or improve quarterly power usage effectiveness (PUE) at each Google data center, year over year. The average annual PUE for their global fleet of data centers was 1.11. Google’s fleet-wide PUE has stayed at or below 1.12 since 2013.
  • Triple Google’s purchases of renewable energy from 1.1 GW to 3.4 GW by 2025. On July 27, 2015, as part of the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, Google committed to tripling its purchases of renewable energy from 1.1 GW to 3.4 GW by 2025. 
  • Reduce metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per full-time employee (FTE) 50% by 2025 at Google’s office in New York City. 
  • 100% of device orders shipping to and from Google customers will be carbon neutral by 2020.
  • 100% of flagship consumer hardware products launching in 2020 and beyond will have published product environmental reports.
  • 100% of Made by Google products launching in 2022 and every year after will include recycled materials.
  • By 2023, Google Nest will install 1 million energy- and money-saving thermostats in homes that need them most.

Biodiversity 

  • Google supports global fishing catch platforms
  • Google helps to detect deforestation by mapping

Minimizing waste & littering 

  • Achieve Zero Waste to Landfill for their global data center operation.
  • Google’s global landfill diversion rate for data center operations was 87% in 2018.

Managing water 

  • Reduce potable water intensity at their Bay Area headquarters by 5% by the end of 2019, against a 2017 baseline.

Progress

Energy

  • The average annual PUE for our global fleet of data centers was 1.11. Google’s fleet-wide PUE has stayed at or below 1.12 since 2013
  • By the end of 2018, they’ve signed 34 agreements totalling more than 3.75 GW of renewable energy, exceeding their target seven years early (commitment to tripling purchases of renewable energy from 1.1 GW to 3.4 GW by 2025)
  • Google’s wind and solar deals produced enough renewable energy to match 100% of the electricity consumption of their data centers and offices for the second consecutive year
  • On July 27, 2015, as part of the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, Google committed to tripling its purchases of renewable energy from 1.1 GW to 3.4 GW by 2025. By the end of 2018, Google signed 34 agreements totalling more than 3.75 GW of renewable energy, exceeding their target seven years early

Waste

  • 87% global landfill diversion rate for data center operations in 2018
  • Google achieved a 15% reduction in landfill waste per Googler at its Bay Area headquarters

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

  • Google purchased enough renewable energy and high-quality carbon offsets to bring its net operational carbon emissions to zero. Google has been carbon neutral since 2007 – for twelve consecutive years
  • By the end of 2018, Google had met their target ahead of schedule – reducing emissions by 54% per FTE
  • Google has achieved a design standard of approximately 10% of parking spaces for new construction and tenant improvement projects at its Bay Area headquarters

Water

  • In 2018, Google achieved a 3% reduction in its Bay Area potable water intensity

Certificates

  • ISO 50001 – 12 of 15 data centers which represent 91% of their IT energy use
  • LEED1.2 million square meters (13 million square feet) certified offices

UN Sustainable Development Goals

UN SDGs Compliance

SDG 3

  • In 2017, Google published a new manufacturing restricted substances list (MRSL) that they incorporated into the restricted substances specification for its consumer hardware products
  • Active from 2016 to 2018, Google’s Portico database helped build a library of healthy building products to use in Google building projects.

SDG 4

  • Google’s initial $50 million commitment, announced earlier this year, is already showing progress. Their grantees are launching new learning platforms, building apps for self-directed learning, and creating new online lesson plans for teachers.
  • With a grant from Google.org, Pratham Books has accelerated the development of Storyweaver, an open-source platform that connects readers, authors, illustrators, and translators to create free books for children around the world. 

SDG 6

  • The St. Ghislain data centre also has an on-site water purification facility that allows Google to recycle water from a nearby industrial canal rather than use the city’s water supply.
  • Through Google.org, they’ve awarded millions of dollars in grants to promising water-conservation solutions

SDG 7

  • Google purchased all the electricity from a 114-megawatt wind farm in Iowa, in 2010. Today, they are the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power, with commitments reaching 2.6 gigawatts (2,600 megawatts) of wind and solar energy. 

SDG 8

  • For Google, partnering with the humanitarian nonprofit Pact in 2016 was a natural next step in their mission to help eradicate child labor in the tin and cobalt industries of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

SDG 9

  • The Congo Power program is built on the foundation that renewable energy can be a building block for resilience in the Congo, which has an electrification rate of only 9% across the nation. 

SDG 11

  • The Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE) uses exclusive data sources and modeling capabilities in a freely available platform to help cities measure emission sources, run analyses, and identify strategies to reduce emissions — creating a foundation for effective action

SDG 12

  • 100% of the Nest products launching in 2019 are built with recycled plastic. The Nest Temperature Sensor contains 65% PCR content in the enclosure. Google’s more recent Nest Wifi and Nest Mini products contain 45% and 35% PCR plastic, respectively, in their enclosures. Since 2018, they’ve shipped millions of Nest products with recycled plastic.

SDG 13

  • Google has signed 19 more agreements with a variety of structures (including PPAs) totaling nearly 2.6 gigawatts of renewable energy in the U.S., Europe, and South America, and the U.S. corporate PPA market has grown 60% year over year.

SDG 14

  • A SkyTruth and Google technical team began collaborating on an early conceptual prototype. Then, adding Oceana, the world’s largest nonprofit dedicated solely to the oceans, the three partners grew the concept into the Global Fishing Watch (GFW) platform (Catching illegal fishing).

SDG 15

  • Created a new map using details of the plan overlaid on the 3-D satellite imagery in Google Earth. Moore’s visualization illuminated what was really at stake: where exactly the 1,000 acres of logging would occur, the threats to water and old-growth redwoods, even the narrow mountain roads where logging trucks would be navigating blind curves near kids walking to school.

Secondary SDGs : 5, 10, 16, 17

Evaluation

Google is a leading multinational technology company who has made significant efforts to incorporate sustainability throughout its business model.

In addition to their numerous targets and progress, Google invests in projects for giving back to communities in terms of education, employment, and investing in not well-developed countries.

Google has received a few awards, is listed in Forbes, and have certificates (ISO 50001, LEED). They are quite compliant with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Cooperating with numerous NGOs, providing finances and implementing own sustainable policies. 

The company is rated as B for their effort to protect our planet. 

Analyst Outlook: Positive

Google’s environment and diversity reports are easy to find and they clearly state their progress in these reports.

Google emphasizes the usage of technology for a better world and they try to minimize their carbon footprint. They are the first cloud company that announced that they would not create customized algorithms for the oil and gas industry. Google got applause from big environment organizations such as Greenpeace for their action. 

Key Points

  • Google publishes its diversity report and they claim that they work hard on improving diversity and inclusion but only 32% of their global employees are women
  • Every year they launch new Pixel phones and motivates users to upgrade their devices 
  • How Google targets to reduce its carbon footprint in its supply chain is not clearly stated
  • One of Google’s contractors, HCL is accused of discouraging workers from belonging to a union, and of failing to bargain with the union in good faith.
  • Antitrust law reports in the USA for abusing their market power.
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