Google has said it has now reduced its entire carbon footprint to zero, after using “high-quality carbon offsets” to wipe out its fossil fuel legacy.
The tech giant said its activities became carbon neutral in 2007, but has now completed its mission of removing its carbon footprint entirely.
Chief executive Sundar Pichai, who also runs its parent firm Alphabet, said the company also intends to power its offices and data centres solely with renewable energy by 2030.
Other tech firms have made similar promises this year, including Microsoft which pledged in January to be “carbon negative” by 2030.
“This is our biggest sustainability moonshot yet, with enormous practical and technical complexity,” said Pichai, referring to so-called moonshot projects that are generally believed to be impossible.
“We are the first major company that’s set out to do this, and we aim to be the first to achieve it.”
Google said it estimates that the move to remove its carbon legacy will directly generate more than 20,000 new jobs in clean energy and associated industries globally by 2025.
It comes in the wake of several environmental crises around the world, including in Google’s home of California where rampant wildfires have turned skies orange and significantly reduced air quality.
Wind, solar and other renewable sources accounted for 61 per cent of Google’s global hourly electricity usage last year, averaged among its global sites.
Its Oklahoma data centre is currently 96 per cent powered by carbon-free sources, while its Singapore base is only at three per cent.
Offsetting involves funding projects such as wind power sites, planting trees and buying carbon credits. However its effectiveness is debatable, given it takes 100 years for carbon emissions to disappear from the atmosphere once created.