Five large technology companies emitted more CO2e than Belgium and Romania. This is what emerges from the 2nd edition of the ESG Big Tech Observatory in which we analysed the sustainability reports published by Amazon, Google, Apple, Meta and Microsoft over the last four years.
The Impact of Big Tech
The ESG Big Tech Observatory analysed both the aggregated data of the five companies, as well as company-specific data, and the results were presented at a press conference by Ale Agostini, founder of the Karma Metrix project, the first digital sustainability path for big brands sensitive to digital sustainability issues.
Over the past four years, the five companies have consumed an enormous amount of energy, which in 2021 reached a total of 75.6 million MWh. This value even exceeds the energy consumption of countries such as Austria, Algeria or Venezuela.
In the last year alone, the big five technology companies emitted 125.9 million tonnes of CO2e, surpassing the whole of Belgium, which reached 125.4 million tonnes. This represents a 30.8% increase in total emissions from 2018 to 2021.
Commitment to sustainability, also in digital
The analysed sustainability reports show the commitment of all five companies towards improving their sustainability, reducing their carbon footprint and addressing the challenges of climate change.
Among the most popular initiatives are:
- increasing the use of renewable energy sources;
- reducing the use of fossil fuels and resourcer;
- continuously striving for maximum energy efficiency in data centres.
Regarding the last point, it’s important to remember that a website generates emissions both from inefficient ways of building web pages and from the fossil fuels that power data centres and end devices used by the user.
“To combat climate change, it is not enough to plant trees or switch to electric cars: we need to save energy and reduce CO2e even from digital activities. With 60 per cent of users unaware that internet use generates emissions,” comments Ale Agostini, CEO of Karma Metrix, “we have a moral duty to raise awareness by measuring the impact of digital and saving. Hence the idea of the ESG Big Tech observatory. Big Tech, 3 of which are world leaders in cloud computing services, can and must do more to reduce their carbon footprint by making companies and users more aware that the web also pollutes. The climate crisis is advancing rapidly and everyone needs to do their part now’.
The Karma Metrix project
Karma Metrix is the 1st digital sustainability journey, chosen by top brands, that measures, certifies and improves the environmental impact of a website.
The measurement uses an innovative, patented algorithm that considers many «on-page» elements on web pages affecting energy efficiency.
They talked about us: