Google Cloud | Sustainability

Announcing New Tools To Measure—And Reduce—Your Environmental Impact

Google Cloud is proud to support our customers with the cleanest cloud in the industry. For the past four years, we’ve matched 100% of our electricity use with renewable energy purchases, and we were the first company of our size to commit going even further by running on carbon-free energy 24/7 by 2030.  As we work to achieve 24/7 carbon-free energy, we help you take immediate action to decarbonize your digital applications and infrastructure. We’re also working with our customers across every industry to develop new solutions for the unique climate change challenges that organizations face. Today, we’re excited to expand our portfolio of carbon-free solutions and announce new partnerships that will help every company build a more sustainable future. 

First, we’re launching Carbon Footprint, a new product that provides customers with the gross carbon emissions associated with their Google Cloud Platform usage. Now available to every GCP user for free in the Cloud Console, this tool helps you measure, track and report on the gross carbon emissions associated with the electricity of your cloud usage. Of course, the net operational emissions associated with your Google Cloud usage is still zero. With growing requirements for Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) reporting, companies are looking for ways to show their employees, boards and customers their progress against climate targets. Using Carbon Footprint, you have access to the gross energy related emissions data you need for internal carbon inventories and external carbon disclosures, with one click. 

Built in collaboration with customers like Atos, Etsy, HSBC, L’Oréal, Salesforce, Thoughtworks and Twitter, our Carbon Footprint reporting introduces a new standard of transparency to support you in meeting your climate goals. You can monitor your gross cloud emissions over time, by project, by product and by region, giving IT teams and developers metrics that can help them reduce their carbon footprint. Our detailed calculation methodology is published so that auditors and reporting teams can verify that their cloud emissions data meets GHG Protocol guidance.

“The power of knowledge combined with the power of technology innovation plays a vital role in proactively responding to the climate crisis we are facing. With Google Carbon Footprint reporting, Atos feeds emissions data in our Decarbonization Data Platform, demonstrating potential emissions reductions from the Google Cloud Platform to our customers. This reporting opens up new levels of emissions transparency, trajectory planning, and data insight to support our customers in meeting, and potentially accelerating towards, their climate goals.”—Nourdine Bihmane, Head of Decarbonization Business Line, Atos

“The capability to measure and to understand the environmental footprint of our Public Cloud usages is among the key axes of our sustainable tech roadmap. With Google Cloud Carbon Footprint, we are now able to directly follow the impact of our sustainable infrastructure approach and architecture principles. Beauty Tech is a strategic ambition for L’Oréal: the ambition to invent the beauty of the future while becoming the company of the future… Sustainable tech is an imperative and a very important step towards this ambition of creating responsible beauty for our consumers, and sustainable-by-design tech services for our employees. We all have a role to play! By joining forces, we can have a positive impact.”—Hervé DUMAS, Sustainability IT Director, L’Oreal

While digital infrastructure emissions are just one part of your environmental footprint, accurately accounting for IT carbon emissions is necessary to measure progress against the carbon reduction targets required to avert the worst consequences of climate change. To help you account for emissions beyond our cloud and across your organization, we’re excited to partner with Salesforce Sustainability Cloud, integrating our Google Cloud Platform emissions data into their carbon accounting platform. 

“As we face unprecedented climate challenges, companies across the globe need to embed sustainability into the core of their business in order to meet growing customer and stakeholder expectations, and reduce their environmental impact. Together, Google Cloud and Salesforce Sustainability Cloud can help our joint customers accelerate their path to Net Zero, leveraging data-driven insights and visualizations to track and reduce their carbon emissions to drive sustainable change.”—Ari Alexander, GM of Salesforce Sustainability Cloud. 

From information to action

With the gross energy-related emissions footprint of data associated with your Google Cloud usage now available, we’re committed to providing tools to not only measure your carbon footprint, but help you reduce it. We recently launched low-carbon region icons to help you choose cleaner regions to locate your Google Cloud resources. New users who see the icons are over 50% more likely to choose clean regions over others, ensuring their applications emit less carbon over time. 

For current Google Cloud users, we’re pleased to announce that Active Assist Recommender will include a new sustainability impact category, extending its original core pillars of cost, performance, security, and manageability. Starting with the Unattended Project Recommender, you’ll soon be able to estimate the gross carbon emissions you’ll save by removing your idle resources. Unattended Project Recommender uses machine learning to identify, with a high degree of confidence, projects that are likely abandoned based on API and networking activity, billing, usage of cloud services, and other signals, and provides actionable recommendations on how to remediate those abandoned projects. By deleting these projects, not only can you reduce costs and mitigate security risks, but you can also reduce your carbon emissions. In August, Active Assist analyzed the aggregate data from all customers across our platform, and over 600,000 gross kgCo2e was associated with projects that it recommended for cleanup or reclamation. If customers deleted these projects they would significantly reduce future gross carbon emissions. Check out this blog to learn more about Active Assist.

As we roll-out this feature, users will see a recommendation card in the Carbon Footprint dashboard to reduce emissions. They can investigate the associated projects and choose to delete them to reduce emissions

Solutions for climate resilience 

Many of our customers face difficult questions about how their business impacts the natural environment today, and how it will be affected by climate change in the future. Answering these questions requires rich datasets about the planet, better analytics tools and smarter models to predict potential outcomes. For over a decade Google Earth Engine has supported scientists and developers with hyperscale computing power and the world’s largest catalog of satellite image data. Today, we are delighted to announce the preview of Earth Engine as part of Google Cloud Platform. Now, you can access Earth Engine and combine it with other geospatial-enabled products like BigQuery. By extending Earth Engine’s powerful platform to enterprises through Google Cloud, we are bringing the best of Google together

Over the past year we’ve worked with a number of organizations to use Earth Engine technology with tools like BigQuery and the Cloud AI Platform to develop new solutions for responsible commodity sourcing, sustainable land management and carbon emissions reduction. Earth Engine enables companies to track, monitor and predict changes in the Earth’s surface due to extreme weather events or human-caused activities, thus  helping them save on operational costs, mitigate and better manage risks, and become more resilient to climate change threats. This new offering will wrap the unique data, insights and functionality of Earth Engine with a fully-managed, enterprise-grade experience and reliability.

As we work with our customers to accelerate their sustainability initiatives, earth observation data is proving critical to effectively plan for the long-term impacts of climate change. To extend our geospatial and sustainability use cases we’re also expanding our partnerships with CARTO, Climate Engine, Geotab, NGIS, and Planet to bring their data and core applications to Google Cloud.

These partners will each make their existing platforms and datasets available globally on Google Cloud, giving you low-latency and reliable access to critical data and applications that will inform your sustainability initiatives. By integrating water availability, agricultural data, weather risks, and extensive daily satellite imagery into Earth Engine and BigQuery, you can achieve more ambitious goals for the sustainability of your business and our planet.

Committing to help you meet your climate goals

With each of these tools, we’re working to reduce the barriers you face in adopting more sustainable technology practices. We understand that building more sustainable applications and infrastructure is not easy. You face competing priorities, technical challenges, and the perception that climate action is costly. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. Today, we are making a sustainability pledge to you: teams across Google Cloud are committing to eliminating the barriers you face in building a more sustainable digital future for your organization, and will help you take action today to realize your climate goals. We’ll do this in a number of ways: 

  1. In digital transformation projects and workshops, sustainability teams will always have a seat at the planning table, so we can work together on using cloud technology to build a more sustainable future. 
  2. We’re putting low-carbon signals natively into our products to help developers choose more sustainable options early in their application development. 
  3. We’ll ensure carbon impact is measured consistently with other key performance indicators. Leveraging the social cost of carbon, the ROI models and value assessments you conduct with Google Cloud will project your emissions impact too. 
  4. We’ll be transparent about our carbon impact, by publishing third-party reviewed reports and methodologies, so you can trust the data for your own reports and disclosures. 
  5. We’ll continue to work with the industry on best practices, including educational resources like Sustainable IT – Decoded, a new masterclass created in partnership with Intel, that shares the expertise of sustainability thought leaders. 

For the next decade we need to work together to avert the worst consequences of climate change. We’ve made tremendous progress in building technology that helps everyone do more for the planet, and we’re excited to see what you do with it. Visit this page to learn more about Google Cloud’s sustainability efforts.

By: Chris Talbott (Cloud Sustainability) and Joel Conkling (Product Manager, Google Earth Engine)
Source: Google Cloud Blog

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