Google Inc. is an American multinational technology company, most widely known for its online search engine. Google has since its establishment in 1998 developed numerous online software services (e.g. Google Maps, Gmail) as well as hardware products (Google glasses) in which all are distributed world wide.
Google has dedicated a website called “google.com/green” to explain the company’s goals and achievements within actions intended to lower the company’s environmental impact. On this website, Google explains, how the company is determined to rely on 100% renewable power, some undefined day in the future. And up until today, the company has committed to purchase nearly 2.5 gigawatt of renewable energy, equivalent to taking over 1 million cars off the road, making Google the largest corporate renewable energy purchaser in the world. However, Google does not stop there. In fact, the company has taken a long series of initiatives to lower its environmental impact throughout the company’s entire supply chain. This is also the reason why the company often is rewarded and recognized for its green efforts. An example of such a reward is the “Green Power Leadership Award” given out by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), which Google won in 2011 and 2014.
The most vital part of the supply chain involved in Google’s online services are the company’s massive data centers, where all Google’s information and software is stored and shared over the internet. Data centers in general have a very high usage of energy. However, Google is constantly trying to develop ways to minimize the data center’s energy usage. Google does this by building their own specially designed centers with features such as smart temperature controls, “free-cooling”-systems where reused water is used for cooling, as well as redesigned power distribution systems, aimed to optimize the energy distribution by lowering the energy waste. In addition, Google make a large effort to recycle and repair electronic equipment in their data centers. In fact, in 2015, 75% of all electronic repairs were done with refurbished components. And when the company cannot find a use for a refurbished component, they resell the components, putting nearly 2 million functional components back into the market in 2015.
Moreover, another important aspect of Google’s logistical activities are transportation. Though not in the traditional sense, where a product has to be physically delivered and distributed. Since Google’s online services are delivered through the internet, is there no need for physical product delivery. However, the company has just above 57.000 employees world wide (Bort, 2015), and all of these employees have to commute from their home to one of Google’s offices or data centers. In order to lower the environmental impact caused by all of these thousands of workers commuting to and from work every day, Google has implemented a few initiatives. The company has built its own sustainable transportation system, where biodiesel shuttles drive back and forth from pick up points to offices and data centers. Google has also installed a whole lot of electric vehicle chargers, making its charging infrastructure the largest corporate charging infrastructure in the US. In addition, to the charging infrastructure, Google offers a car-sharing program made up by only electric cars, saving more than 29.00 metric tons of CO2 each year, equivalent to taking about 5.700 cars off the road.
Written by: Emil Soegaard