Most of us want to make more sustainable choices in our lives and increasingly expect the companies we work with and our governments to do the same. According to google , “how to reduce my carbon footprint”, is sought after more than ever, along with questions about greenwashing. This was the background of the first Google Cloud Sustainability Summit that took place earlier this week, and saw the announcement by Google Cloud of a comprehensive portfolio of sustainability tools.
Justin Keeble, Managing Director of Global Sustainability at Google Cloud, spoke at a press conference ahead of the summit about the challenges facing all organizations and individuals:
“At Google, we believe the path to a sustainable future starts with the small decisions we make every day. But industries, governments and businesses are challenged to make these decisions without the right data or insights to inform them. Even a small Choosing for an organization – which raw material to choose for a new product, when to proactively water crops before a drought, in which green funds to invest – requires insight into unique and often complex information.”
“Everyone wants to better understand how we can become more sustainable and take actions that have a meaningful impact. Both companies and individuals are wondering how to turn sustainability ambition into action.”
Broadening access to climate insight
Google has announced that Google Earth Engine, originally launched in 2010 for scientists and NGOs, will now be available for the first time as an enterprise-level commercial offering to all businesses and governments. To support the work of government researchers, least developed countries, indigenous peoples and news media, Earth Engine will also be available at no cost to those organizations and will continue to be available at no cost for non-profit academic research and education. to use.
During the press conference, Rebecca Moore, director of Google Earth, Earth Engine & Outreach, said:
“Google Earth Engine is at the forefront of planetary-scale environmental monitoring. With one of the world’s largest publicly available Earth observation data catalogs, it combines data from hundreds of satellites and other sources continuously streamed to Earth Engine.”
“This data is then combined with massive geospatial cloud computing resources, enabling this raw data to be turned into high-resolution, timely, accurate, decision-relevant insights about the state of the world. This could include forests, water, ecosystems, agriculture, and how these all interact. change over time. Essentially, it makes it possible to detect trends and understand the correlations between human activities and environmental impact.”
For their ecosystem of Google Cloud Partners, Google has announced two initiatives. The first is Google Cloud Ready (GCR) – Sustainability, a new partner validation program with an enterprise-ready solution available on Google Cloud that helps customers achieve sustainability goals. Partners with the designation GCR-Sustainability provide solutions that reduce carbon emissions, increase the sustainability of value chains, help organizations process ESG data or help them identify climate risks for greater resilience.
The second related initiative to be launched later this year is Google Cloud Marketplace Sustainability Hub, which will provide customers with easy access to validated sustainability solutions.
Measuring carbon footprint
Building on last year carbon footprint for Google Cloud, which allows customers to quantify the gross carbon emissions of Google Cloud services, the company has added Carbon Footprint for Google Workspace, which allows companies to measure, reduce and report emissions from applications such as Gmail.
There will also be a dedicated IAM Carbon Footprint role that will allow non-technical Google Cloud users to easily access emissions data and use it for tracking or in disclosures.
Low-carbon mode allows Google Cloud customers to limit their cloud resources to low-carbon locations in the Google infrastructure. Google claims this means “relative to other choices” that customers could potentially cut emissions significantly.
Carbon Footprint also adds both scope 1 and scope 3 emissions to its reporting data. Scope 3 emissions reporting is a challenge. There are 15 emission categories and quantifying both upstream and downstream emissions is difficult. When asked at the press conference about the magnitude of the Scope 3 emissions included, a Google spokesperson later noted:
“The Scope 3 data/reporting includes emissions from data center operations, employee commuting, and embodied emissions from data center hardware and construction. It is relevant scope 3 categories for Google Cloud – for example, the concrete to build the data center would be included.”
Pilot with carbon-free energy
Over the past decade, Google, working with partners, has gathered insights and knowledge on how to grow their business towards a zero-carbon future. Google is now starting to share carbon-free energy insights with Google Cloud customers 24/7 through a new pilot program.
This program provides access to historical and real-time data so that Google customers can get a clear picture of their electricity emissions profile. The pilot will enable customers to determine their existing carbon-free energy (CFE) score and their scope 2 carbon footprint. This, in turn, should help them predict and plan for an optimized energy portfolio, and ultimately execute carbon-free energy transactions.
This kind of knowledge and data sharing will be crucial to achieve ambitious net-zero targets.