Google said it has eliminated its entire carbon legacy and has pledged to operate completely on carbon-free energy by 2030.
In what the company called its carbon-free commitment, chief executive Sundar Pichai said the tech giant wiped out all its operational emissions from before it became carbon neutral in 2007 through the purchase of “high-quality carbon offsets”.
Mr Pichai said the development, effective as of Monday, means the US firm’s lifetime net carbon footprint is now zero.
He said Google is the first major company “to get this done”, confirming that its next aim is to operate its entire global business on carbon-free energy at all times.
“Since 2017 we’ve been matching all of our annual electricity consumption with 100% renewable energy. Now we’re going even further: by 2030 Google is aiming to run our business on carbon-free energy everywhere, at all times,” Mr Pichai said.
“This is our biggest sustainability moonshot yet, with enormous practical and technical complexity. We are the first major company that’s set out to do this, and we aim to be the first to achieve it.
“We’ll start by working towards 24/7 carbon-free energy at all of our data centres and campuses around the world.
“Our data centres power the products and services you’ve come to rely on every day. This will mean every email you send through Gmail, every question you ask Google Search, every YouTube video you watch, and every route you take using Google Maps, is supplied by clean energy every hour of every day.”
A number of other technology firms have announced targets around becoming carbon-neutral or negative over the next 10 or 20 years, among them Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.
Mr Pichai said Google will make investments in technology designed to improve the gathering and storage of clean energy.
“Google will invest in approaches that make it possible for us to source reliable carbon-free energy in all locations, at all times of day,” he said.
“We’ll do things like pairing wind and solar power sources together, and increasing our use of battery storage. And we’re working on ways to apply AI to optimise our electricity demand and forecasting.
“These efforts will help create 12,000 jobs by 2025.”