Following the news in June this year that carbon reporting is to become mandatory for all FTSE-listed companies social media giant Facebook has revealed its carbon emissions nine months ahead of the imposed April deadline.

The report shows that Facebook’s total carbon emission were 285,000 metric tons and that it used 532m kWh of energy last year.

Of this energy 23% was from clean and renewable sources, however the majority came from coal at 27%, with 17% natural gas, 13% nuclear and 20% uncategorized.

Facebook has resolved to become greener by setting a goal to derive at least 25% of its energy mix from clean and renewable sources by 2015.

The vast majority of the company’s energy usage (509m kWh), and therefore carbon emissions (207,000 metric tons), comes from its data centres.

In a bid to reduce emissions, and meet its renewable energy target, Facebook announced last year that it would open its first data centre outside the US in 2014.

Currently under construction in Lulea, Sweden, the centre will benefit from a colder climate that will reduce energy consumption used to keep servers cool. It also has access to a source of hydro-electric power meaning it will operate using 100% renewable energy.

Facebook said: “We’re releasing this data because we believe in the power of openness, and because we hope that adding another data point to our collective understanding of our industry’s environmental impact will help us all keep improving.”

Google precipitated the trend for internet companies to reveal their carbon footprints in 2010, announcing that i had generated 1.5m metric tons of carbon that year.

Conor McGlone

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