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How Google Cloud is Driving Climate Resilience

With a growing awareness of the impact of human activity on the environment, it is crucial that businesses take steps to reduce their carbon footprint and work towards a more sustainable future. Through bold and resolute measures, Google has spearheaded the charge towards sustainability, setting an inspiring example for other vendors within the cloud sector to follow in reducing their ecological footprint. That’s why choosing Google Cloud as your public Cloud provider can help you to reach your own sustainability objectives. Read this article to discover Google's latest sustainability initiatives and the steps the company has taken to become a leader in sustainable practices.

Google is carbon neutral for our operations today, but aiming higher: our goal is to run on carbon-free energy, 24/7, at all of our data centres by 2030. Plus, we’re sharing technology, methods, and funding to enable organisations around the world to transition to more carbon-free and sustainable systems. This will be Google’s most ambitious decade yet in terms of sustainability.

Google’s Sustainability Achievements

Back in 2007, Google became the first major company in history to become carbon neutral. It is no surprise that Google has been committed to sustainability for decades, with a goal to operate on 100% renewable energy. As part of this goal, the company has been purchasing renewable energy to match 100% of its electricity consumption since 2017. In addition to this, Google has set a goal to become carbon-free by 2020, which it achieved by purchasing carbon offsets for any remaining emissions.

In 2020, Google went one step further and announced a commitment to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030, as one of the only big tech giants to commit to this objective. Not only that, Google has also been the most consistent of public cloud vendors  with meeting its sustainability goals for many years. The company is investing in new technologies such as energy storage and clean energy generation to achieve this goal.

In addition to this ambitious goal of operating on carbon-free energy by 2030, Google has announced its goal to incorporate recycled or renewable materials in at least half of the plastic used in their consumer hardware product portfolio by the year 2025. Additionally, they are committed to achieving their objective of removing plastic from their packaging and ensuring 100% recyclability of their packaging materials by the same year.

Empowering Sustainability through Data

Using Climate Technology to Support Sustainability

Google’s efforts to curb carbon emissions, protect biodiversity, and move toward a more sustainable relationship between humans and our planet are underpinned by data from sources such as satellites and remote sensors, historical trends, and more. The more organisations and institutions fighting natural disasters know about what’s going on geospatially, the easier it is to predict and assess the risk of climate change-related events like wildfires, droughts, and floods or track and improve air quality. In the past, an enormous usability gap prevented this data from effecting change on a widespread basis.

Google Cloud has been working with its partners to democratise earth-based data and make it more accessible, usable, and actionable. One such partner is Climate Engine, which uses Google Cloud components such as BigQuery, Vertex AI, and Google Earth Engine to collect and process massive amounts of Earth and geospatial data. This data can provide private and public sector organisations insights into climate risks, such as wildfires, droughts, floods, and air quality.

By merging Earth data and asset location data, such as a farmer’s field or a highway, conditions can be monitored and analysed in near-real time to understand the risks and impacts of climate events before, during, and after they occur. With the ability to analyse historical, current, near-term, and future time horizons, organisations can assess the economic impacts and the sustainability and resilience of their operations.

Connecting Geospatial Data to Specific Locations and Economies

The economic strain of climate change extends far beyond the immediate and obvious impacts of an event like a wildfire. It also affects infrastructure, transportation networks, supply chains, etc. Building resilience in this new reality requires connecting geospatial data and insights to specific locations and economies.

SpatiaFi, which uses Google Cloud components, can help organisations monitor and even predict how changes in location-specific environmental and economic data may affect each other. This can drive better risk analysis and new financial instruments to help businesses build climate resilience into their operations.

Institutions like the BMO Climate Institute are working with Climate Engine to explore spatial finance tools like SpatiaFi to understand the local biodiversity impacts of, for example, mining or factory sites. With data insights, BMO can incentivise its clients to reduce carbon emissions, tracking progress via real-time satellite data versus requiring companies to self-report or adopt a third-party reporting system. 

Climate change and sustainability are critical global issues that require collective action. Google has been committed to sustainability for over a decade, achieving to operate on 100% renewable energy and setting the ambitious goal to operate on 24/7 carbon-free energy by 2030. The company has also been using technology to support sustainability efforts and mitigate the impact of climate change. By democratising earth-based data and making it more accessible, usable, and actionable, Google Cloud is empowering private and public sector organisations to make data-driven decisions to build climate resilience into their operations. All of these efforts differentiate Google as your perfect partner to achieve your own sustainability goals.