Tracking our annual carbon footprint

As the world looks toward global climate negotiations at COP21 in Paris this December, we’d like to share updates on our commitment to carbon neutrality. The latest figures just posted on our Google Green website show that we're a carbon neutral company for the eighth year in a row, our carbon footprint is growing more slowly than our business, and our use of renewables continues to increase.

For 2014, we reported a carbon footprint of 2.49 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a global nonprofit that collects and shares climate change data. Our carbon intensity, which is a way to measure the level of greenhouse gas emissions per million dollars of revenue, has dropped for the sixth year in a row: for every million dollars of revenue we generated in 2014, we emitted 22.9 metric tons of CO2e from our operations and buildings. That means that our footprint continues to grow more slowly than our business because we’re able to get more done with each gram of carbon we emit.

Improved data center efficiency initiatives, renewable energy purchases, and high-quality carbon offset purchases all help bring our net carbon footprint back down to zero. For example, compared to five years ago in our data centers, we now get 3.5 times the computing power out of the same amount of energy. Our focus on keeping our carbon footprint in check means that people using Google’s products can also feel good about the minimal environmental impact of their searches, Gmail messages, YouTube views, and more. Our calculation still holds true that serving an active Google user for one month is like driving a car just one mile.

We are the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world. As of 2014, 37% of the electricity for our operations—which includes our offices, data centers and other infrastructure—came from renewable sources. That’s up from 35% in 2013, which is striking given how we’re growing as a company. To keep up with that growth, we’re continuing to sign new long-term energy contracts, including one that can power our entire main campus in Mountain View with 100% local wind energy. These long term commitments are not only good for the environment, but they also make good business sense.

We are committed to making investments that ensure the amount of energy we get from renewable sources will increase significantly in the next couple of years and at the same time add new capacity to the grid. It's a pattern we anticipate will accelerate; we’ve also doubled down—make that tripled down!—this past summer with our climate pledge to the White House to triple our renewable energy purchases over the next decade.

Climate change is one of the most significant global challenges of our time; Google wants to do its part and make a difference. We’ll continue to update you on that progress.