Google’s transparency has a strange smell…
Google has published new information about its energy use and CO2 emissions. The search giant has come up with some great infographics for displaying data that they’ve never published before. And while this takes the company straight to the top of our ranking list, there were still some gaps in their information. While we were going through it all here at the Rank a Brand headquarters, the greenwash alarm was set off quite a few times…
For the first time ever, Google has published its total carbon footprint (including scopes 1, 2 and 3). And according to Google, it has offset all of its emissions. Yet the company doesn’t give us a complete picture of how or where that happened. It does give us some examples, including an illustration of a pig farm where the methane gas generated on the farm is captured, preventing it from escaping into the atmosphere. Ideally, we would have also liked to see a complete list of the offset projects supported by Google. And we’d love it if Google would provide a detailed independent report from the Global Reporting Initiative, just as every other multinational provides.
What is also strange is that Google reports that 25% of its electricity use comes from renewable sources, while the company only actually buys around 6% itself. How can that be? A clearer explanation would be good. Google also provides some tips about how we can use the internet in a greener way. One of them is: use Gmail instead of your company’s email. Why? Because Gmail is part of the Google cloud. And Google’s servers are used optimally and are therefore more efficient. Fine. But Google’s competitors, such as Hotmail and Yahoo!, use the same methods. Here is a more independent tip on how you can Google more efficiently: turn off Google Instant (thanks @vinofresco).
Despite these gaps in the data, Google still came top of our rankings. This has prompted us to extend extend our ranking criteria so that we can better compare Google, MSN, Yahoo! and other popular sites. Suggestions for new criteria are welcome – let us know below, and we’ll get on with the job!