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Social Networking Giant Discloses its Carbon Footprint

Carbon Footprint Black on Sand

After years of pressure from environmental groups like Greenpeace, Facebook has finally relented and disclosed its carbon footprint. The ubiquitous brand’s revelation has been hailed by green activists everywhere. Facebook’s carbon footprint is generated by its operational activities and over 900 million users worldwide. Each poke, status update, post, album upload, etc. adds to Facebook’s carbon footprint. Although surprisingly the data revealed by Facebook shows that it is far less polluting than the other Internet giant- Google by a mile.

Google’s carbon dioxide emission in the year 2010 was 1.5 metric tonnes whereas Facebook emitted a measly 285,000 metric tonnes of CO2 and its equivalents in 2011.  Further calculations show that each active Facebook user’s annual carbon footprint is just short of 270 grams which is the same as the carbon footprint of a cup of coffee! In the past week, Facebook uploaded its energy data on its website, which shows its total energy usage, energy mix and total carbon footprint for the year 2011 in attractive charts highlighting the key areas.

Greenpeace senior IT analyst, Gary Cook, congratulated Facebook on its move towards transparency and openness adding that the company’s sincerity towards renewable energy and full disclosure of its carbon footprint will inspire other major IT firms to increase their clean energy intake. Greenpeace had previously attacked Facebook on its coal based energy dependency and had also started an “Unfriend Coal” page on the social network.

Facebook’s Carbon Footprint

An analysis of the carbon footprint data shows Facebook’s data centers located in the U.S are responsible for over 70% of its emissions. To combat this, Facebook has revealed its plans of opening a large eco-friendly data center in Lulea, Sweden using the cold climate as a natural coolant for its servers. At present its energy mix is 27% coal power and 23% renewable power with the rest being comprised of gas and nuclear power. Once the Lulea data center is ready Facebook’s renewable energy quotient will rise to more than 25%, meeting company energy goals for 2015.

How a Carbon Footprint Encourages Eco-Friendly Promotional Items

The commitment shown towards environment protection by major Internet firms will help create awareness among their users and customers. Facebook’s promotion of green ideas on its website will boost the use of wholesale reusable bags, totes, sacks, green gadgets, etc. among millions people and companies. Facebook can easily promote eco friendly policies, ideas and products by tapping into its enormous network of users. Its Green page already has more than 100,000 fans who share, learn and promote sustainability and re-usability ideas. Many apps on the social network such as the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) app and “A Billion Acts of Green” app are promoting the use of reusable and green products.


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