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Is Google A Sustainability Leader In Hiding?

Date: 14 April 2010

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5 pages, 1 figure

Executive Summary

This case study is one in a series of Verdantix reports that analyse corporate climate change and sustainability strategies. Google is an internet search engine provider, generating revenue of $21.8 billion in 2008 with 10,000 employees worldwide. Google’s sustainability goals include water management and a commitment to carbon neutrality. In order to achieve this Google has set in motion a high-profile portfolio of initiatives including investments in renewable energy firms and plug-in vehicle fleets. Uncertainties remain over Google’s environmental footprint as it does not publicly disclose its emissions data in either annual reports or to third parties such as the Carbon Disclosure Project. The firm does not set annual targets for absolute emissions reductions nor for carbon intensity. Google’s sustainability initiatives currently bear fruit in the form of brand enhancement and risk management, but under some future scenarios Google’s sustainability ventures may become extremely valuable.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

GOOGLE AIMS FOR CARBON NEUTRALITY BRAND BENEFITS
Innovation Driven Strategy Centres On Corporate Carbon Footprint
Sustainability Initiatives Focus Primarily On Brand and Risk Management
Non-Disclosure Of Emissions Threatens Credibility

TABLE OF FIGURES

Figure 1. Google’s Sustainability Strategy Focuses On Brand And Cost Reduction

COMPANIES MENTIONED

AltaRock Energy, Bloom Energy, BP, BrightSource Energy, Carbon Disclosure Project, eSolar, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Google, Google Energy, Google Foundation, HP, Intel, National Resource Defence Council, Potter Drilling, Southern Methodist University, Winrock International, Yahoo!