The Internet’s Environmental Footprint. What We Can Do Better: Regulation.

Environmental Reporting: Status Quo

Currently, environmental reporting in the tech sector is entirely voluntary. Taking action to reduce and mitigate therefore is too.

The GHG Protocol

The most common standard for greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) accounting is the GHG Protocol, which provides guidance for calculating seven major greenhouse gases. These can then be converted into metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, mtCO2e. This is the value that makes results comparable across companies, sectors, and regions.

Material Climate Commitments?

As a consumer who is trying to make conscious choices, reading ambitious climate commitments is certainly encouraging. Yet, in the voluntary market of reporting, how does one know whether a company is really taking responsibility for all its emissions?

Next: Mandatory, Transparent Environmental Accounting

With big impact comes big responsibility. It is hardly surprising that big tech players, who dominate the market in profit and reach, also contribute significantly to the internet’s overall environmental impact.

Further Reading

If this caught your interest and you’d like to dig deeper on the reports of other tech players, here are the commitments and, where available, inventories from Amazon (51.17 million mtCO2e in 2019), Google (12.5 million mtCO2e in 2019), Microsoft (11.16 million mtCO2e in 2020), Salesforce, and Alibaba.



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Cathleen Berger

Cathleen Berger

Strategy expert, focusing in intersection of technology, human rights, global governance, and sustianability