Facebook has reached a key environmental goal early: The social media company now purchases enough renewable energy to run all of its operations around the world, it announced this week. CBS News reports: Facebook joins a handful of tech companies that have committed to ambitious green energy goals, including Microsoft, Apple and Alphabet, the parent company of Google. Over the past few years, Facebook has cut its greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Since 2017, carbon emissions from the company’s operations have fallen by 94%, surpassing its goals of reducing emissions by three-quarters, according to its sustainability report. Emissions were cut primarily by focusing on the massive data centers that power the servers running Facebook’s services, as well as its office locations.
“Data centers for us are the primary sources of electricity consumption and the primary footprint we’ve been thinking about,” said Urvi Parekh, the company’s director of renewable energy. Cutting down emissions meant “making our data centers as efficient as possible and reducing the amount of electricity that’s consumed” as well as purchasing enormous amounts of wind and solar power to run those centers. Last year, when most of its employees started working remotely, Facebook said it purchased enough clean energy to match the amount used by employees working at home. The company still emits some carbon from its construction activity and natural-gas use in some locations where it has no other energy options, Parekh said. Last year, that was the equivalent of 38,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (or about as much carbon as is emitted from 8,900 cars driving for one year). Facebook is offsetting those emissions by investing in reforestation and other carbon-removal projects, Parekh said. The company has set a new goal of reaching net-zero emissions across its entire supply chain by 2030.
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