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Google Has Erased Its Entire ‘Carbon Legacy,’ Sets Sights on 100% Carbon-Free Power

Google was the first major company to become carbon neutral, in 2007. Now, the tech giant says it is the first company in the world to eliminate its entire carbon footprint.

Google has announced that, as of today, it has eliminated all of the carbon it has emitted since its founding in 1998.

Google was the first major company to become carbon neutral, in 2007. Now, the tech giant says it is the first company in the world to eliminate its entire carbon footprint — which CEO Sundar Pichai says it achieved through the purchase of “high-quality carbon offsets.” Google won't be alone for long: Earlier this year, Microsoft — which became carbon neutral in 2013 — set a goal to erase its 45-year carbon legacy by 2050.

Today, Google says it has erased all of its operational emissions from before it became carbon neutral in 2007 — as Pichai explains, every Gmail sent, Google search, route calculated via Google Maps and YouTube video watched creates zero carbon footprint from the company’s data centers. Now, it has set a new challenge of operating completely carbon free by 2030.

“We are the first major company to make a commitment to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy in all our data centers and campuses worldwide,” Pichai said. “This is far more challenging than the traditional approach of matching energy usage with renewable energy, but we’re working to get this done by 2030.”

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Google has definitely led the charge when it comes to setting and meeting bold sustainability targets. In 2017, Google began using 100 percent renewable energy across its global operations. Last year, the company made the largest corporate purchase of renewable energy in history. And last month, it issued $5.75 billion in sustainability bonds — which differ from “green bonds” because their proceeds support investment in both environmental and social initiatives — the largest offering of any company to date.

Aside from managing its own operations’ impacts, Pichai says Google is equally committed to creating tools and investing in technologies to create a carbon-free world. It aims to:

  • Enable 5 GW of carbon-free energy in manufacturing regions around the world by 2030

  • Help over 500 cities eliminate 1 GT of carbon annually by 2030

  • Help commercial buildings and data centers adopt AI to help reduce energy use

  • Work with environmental NGOs to remove carbon from the atmosphere through science-based reforestation

  • Help 1 billion people to live more sustainably by 2022, through use of products such as Search and Maps

Read more about Google’s achievement, and its commitments going forward, here.