Facebook Is On Track to Meet the Sustainability Goals It Set 2 Years Ago

The company released its first-ever Sustainability Report

The heat recovery process at Facebook's data center in Odense, Denmark Facebook
Headshot of David Cohen

Facebook released its first-ever Sustainability Report Wednesday, although it was not quite as noteworthy as the other report the company unveiled.

Director of sustainability Edward Palmieri said in a Newsroom post that the company committed in August 2018 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75% and support global operations with 100% renewable energy by the end of 2020, and it is on track to achieve those goals.

Palmieri said Facebook cut operational greenhouse gas emissions by 59% in 2019 compared with 2017 levels and reached 86% renewable energy, adding that the company was recognized as the No. 1 corporate buyer of renewable energy in the U.S. by the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance and as No. 2 globally by Bloomberg NEF.

The 300-megawatt Prospero Solar Project in Texas represents the company’s first direct investment in a renewable energy project.

As for local communities, Palmieri wrote that Facebook invested in water-restoration projects that will replenish 206,000 cubic meters (55 million gallons) of water per year, and it financed projects to bolster the renewable energy market, adding capacity to the electricity grids in areas that support its data centers.

As an example, Facebook’s data center in Odense, Denmark, includes infrastructure that captures and delivers heat generated by its servers to the district heating system, with that project being ramped up to provide 100,000 megawatt hours of energy per year, or enough to heat 6,900 homes.

Facebook teamed up with global organizations earlier this year on a Climate Conversation Map to provide information on the ebb and flow of topics globally and inform decision-making on climate action, and it worked with entities including the Stockholm International Water Institute, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and We Ae Still In on sustainable practices and climate action.

Palmieri wrote, “We are working to minimize the impact of our energy, emissions and water usage; protect workers and the environment in our supply chain; and partner with others to develop and share solutions for a more sustainable world. But we recognize there is more to be done and intend to continue to expand our reporting to drive further transparency.”

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.