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Facebook Releases Long-Awaited Carbon Footprint Details

Facebook carbon footprint

For the first time, Facebook has revealed its carbon footprint, with over 900 million users.

While the social network has grown rapidly, the good news is that its carbon emissions are still significantly lower than fellow internet giant, and sustainability conscious, Google. In 2011, Facebook’s annual emissions were apparently 285,000 metric tonnes of CO2, compared to 1.5 million tonnes created by Google in 2010.

72% of Facebook’s emissions come from data centers across the United States. The report also gave details on where the power for these centers comes from, with the majority (27%) coming from coal power, 23% coming from renewable sources, 17% coming from gas, 13% nuclear, and 20% “uncategorized.”

If you’re wondering how your photo sharing and ex-boyfriend stalking affects the environment, the report says each active user has a monthly footprint of around 269 grams, equivalent to a cup of coffee.

Greenpeace, which has been on Facebook’s tail about this information for awhile now, praised the transparency of this report and noted it as an important benchmark for the company. According to Gary Cook, senior IT analyst at Greenpeace, “Facebook has committed to being fully renewably powered, and today’s detailed disclosure and announcement of a clean energy target shows that the company means business and wants the world to follow its progress.”

Facebook recently announced plans to green up its data center power and start transitioning over to renewables, even building a green data center in Sweden that makes good use of cooler temperatures.

As more and more of us become concerned with how our technology and gadgets impact the environment, it will probably become a trend for big tech companies to release this information in a public way, which in turn will hold them accountable. It might have taken much longer than necessary for Facebook to release this info, but it’s great to see them getting in on this trend.

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