Facebook achieves net-zero operations, 100% renewable electricity

Facebook has revealed that it achieved net-zero operational emissions in 2020, after eliminating the majority of its greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint and investing in carbon removal projects.

Facebook achieves net-zero operations, 100% renewable electricity

Image: Facebook

The social media giant posted the milestone in the latest edition of its sustainability report. According to the report, emissions from the business’s operations were 94% lower in 2020 than in 2017.

This reduction in emissions was largely down to a switch to 100% renewable energy for global operations. Facebook first set a commitment to 100% renewable energy in 2011. Globally, the sustainability report states, Facebook has brought 2.8GW of wind and solar power online through a combination of onsite arrays and power purchase agreements (PPAs). Projects are located across the US, Asia and Europe.

The report also outlines how Facebook helped ensure that it paid for the renewable generation of the equivalent of the electricity consumed by employees working from home as a result of Covid-19.

Improving energy efficiency and water efficiency – with a particular focus on data centres – also helped Facebook to reduce operational emissions. The business claims that its data centres are now 80% more water-efficient than the average facility.

To address the residual emissions after the work on reducing them in-house, Facebook has invested in carbon removal projects to reach net-zero. Projects supported in 2020 include forest conservation and restoration in Africa and Mississippi. Facebook claims the projects it supported over the year account for 145,000 tonnes of carbon removal.

“These nature-based solutions will serve as a bridging mechanism toward long-term decarbonisation,” the sustainability report reads. “In the future, we hope to invest in emerging carbon removal technologies (e.g., direct air capture) that will advance carbon removal efforts everywhere.”

The delivery of net-zero operations comes as Facebook targets a net-zero value chain by 2030. Science-based targets are being drawn up to ensure that supply chain emissions are reduced in line with the Paris Agreement’s requirements.

edie’s Net-Zero Carbon Playbook and Net-Zero Carbon Reporting Guide 

Readers working on their organisation’s own transition to net-zero are encouraged to download edie’s latest free reports. 

The Net-Zero Carbon Playbook, produced in association with Centrica Business Solutions and featuring input from The Climate Group and our Countdown to COP26 Festival partner O2, inspires and empowers businesses to ramp up efforts across all areas of sustainable development to achieve net-zero. Wherever you are on your journey, the Playbook contains practical advice for accelerating progress. 

The Business Guide to Net-Zero Carbon Reporting, meanwhile, outlines how businesses should be measuring and reporting their climate impacts throughout the transition to net-zero. Featuring expert insight from Carbon Intelligence, the Guide provides this insight through the lens of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and science-based targets – two business-critical enablers of the net-zero carbon transition. 

Click here to access the Net-Zero Carbon Playbook. 

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Sarah George

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