Facebook Targets Net-Zero Emissions Across Its Global Supply Chain by 2030

With wildfires burning north, south and east of its Menlo Park,
California headquarters, Facebook on Monday announced it will
expand its emissions-reductions goals, encompassing not only
emissions from its own operations�but also those produced by its
suppliers.

The social networking corporation expects to eliminate or offset
all of its own emissions this year, while completely decarbonizing
its supply chain by 2030.

Because many companies’ largest emissions burden comes from
suppliers and customers, the latest goal is more aggressive than
the one Facebook launched in 2018. Two years ago, Facebook — one
of the 50 largest public companies in the world — pledged to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations 75 percent
below 2017 levels. In that year, Facebook’s emissions were
616,000 metric tonnes, equivalent to the emissions from about
133,000 cars driven for one year, according to the Environmental
Protection Agency’s GHG equivalency calculator. 

Under its new target, Facebook will have to help partners, like
those who build its data centers and help manufacture the hardware
that goes into them, analyze and clean up their own operations.

“It’ll be really important for us to spend time — as
we’ve been doing — to analyze and understand the carbon
footprint of the various sources, and how much is coming from
construction, how much is coming from capital goods and services or
hardware, how much is coming from airline travel,†Edward
Palmieri, Facebook’s head of sustainability, told Greentech
Media. â€œWe’ve learned a lot about how to measure GHG emissions,
and what [we] need to do to move that work into our supply
chain.”

To accomplish its goals, Facebook is joining the Science-Based
Targets initiative, a group led by the United Nations Global
Compact, CDP Global, the World Resources Institute and the World
Wildlife Fund, which helps businesses set climate goals in line
with the Paris agreement. The group has helped nearly 500 global
corporations establish science-based emissions targets.

Much of Facebook’s existing progress is due to its growing
procurements of renewable energy; Facebook expects to buy enough
renewable energy in 2020 to offset all of the power used at its
buildings and data centers. The company plans to tackle its new
target in much the same way as its 75 percent emissions reduction
goal: through energy efficiency and the buildout of renewables. The
corporation currently has 5.4 gigawatts of renewables under
contract, including 2 GW already online.

Facebook’s use of carbon offsets

Carbon offsets will also play a role, said Palmieri, though
Facebook has not established how significant that role will be. For
emissions from Facebook’s own operations and electricity usage,
the company is likely to fill any gap in carbon reductions —
Palmieri offers examples like natural gas stoves in its kitchens or
the backup emergency systems used at its data centers — with
“natural-based solutions†such as regenerative agriculture or
reforestation.

In the longer-term, Facebook said it would consider other carbon
reduction technologies, including the possibility for carbon
removal.

“There will be some amount of carbon that we weren’t able to
reduce or eliminate by the time we hit 2030,†said Palmieri.
“We’re hoping to drive up efficiency and drive down the carbon as
much as possible, first and foremost, so that there’s as little
left as possible to eliminate and remove.â€

Fact-checking climate misinformation

Alongside its emissions commitments, Facebook said it would
continue efforts to fact-check and reduce the proliferation of
climate misinformation on its platform. The company will also
launch a portal with accurate scientific information on climate
change, called the Climate Science Information Center, modeled
after a similar effort tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That initiative comes in response to pressure from climate
activists and high-profile figures, including Senator
Elizabeth Warren
and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate
Stacey Abrams, who have urged Facebook to strengthen its
fact-checking procedures on climate information. This summer,
Facebook
faced criticism
for labelling some inaccurate climate content
as “opinion.” Facebook does not fact-check opinions on its site,
but the company says “content presented as opinion but based on
underlying false information may still be eligible” for
fact-checking.  

Corporations are increasingly facing pushback on climate change
from outside the organization and within their ranks. That trend,
alongside cheaper renewables, is pushing companies to wring carbon
emissions out of their operations. On Monday, Google
announced
that renewable energy will power its operations 24/7
by 2030 (Facebook’s goal on the other hand, matches renewable
energy with overall consumption).

“We certainly want to stand for the idea that climate change
is urgent,†said Palmieri.

Source: FS – GreenTech Media
Facebook Targets Net-Zero Emissions Across Its Global Supply
Chain by 2030