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2022 was a year spent turning sustainable ambitions into action

December 21, 2022
Justin Keeble

Managing Director for Global Sustainability

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Since I joined Google Cloud at the start of 2022, one theme that comes up time and time again in conversations with leaders both at our customers and partners is this: meaningful Climate Action is now about business transformation, and business transformation is essential if society is to meet its ever-more-urgent climate goals..

We spent 2022 building out our sustainability partnerships  and offerings to be a trusted technology partner for organizations looking to accelerate this sustainability-driven business transformation. 

Better measuring, better management

In 2022, we continued to enhance the Carbon Sense suite of products with new data, expanding reporting coverage and making it easier for cloud architects and administrators to prioritize sustainability.

In July, we announced that Carbon Footprint for Google Cloud, which helps companies measure, report and reduce the gross carbon emissions of using Google Cloud services, added both scope 1 and 3 emissions to its reporting data. In addition, we’re planning to launch similar functionality for Google Workspace in early 2023, providing emissions data for products like Gmail, Meet, Docs and others.

For sustainability teams that need to access the data in Carbon Footprint for reporting purposes, we launched a dedicated Identity and Access Management (IAM) role for Carbon Footprint, enabling non-technical users of Google Cloud to easily access emissions data and use it for tracking or in disclosures.

Finally, we introduced low-carbon mode, which enables IT teams to restrict their cloud resources to the low-carbon locations across our infrastructure using new low-carbon locations value groups

Geospatial insights for every organization

Too often, organizations lack the insights they need to help inform what they choose to focus on. Originally launched to scientists and NGOs in 2010, Google Earth Engine is a leading technology for planetary-scale environmental monitoring that combines data from hundreds of satellites and other sources with geospatial cloud computing resources to show timely, accurate, high-resolution and decision-relevant insights about the state of the world’s habitats and ecosystems — and how they’re changing over time. 

This year Earth Engine became generally available to all Google Cloud customers, and is already helping numerous organizations tackle their sustainability agendas. In addition, we announced two new Climate Insights offerings for the public sector to help institutions better understand the risks to infrastructure and natural resources due to climate change together with our partner Climate Engine. These insights can help governments transform the way they manage physical and natural resources, helping them become more climate-resilient. We will expand the reach of these insights in 2023. 

This technology is already being put to good use by the South Florida Water Management District, which is working with Google Public Sector to leverage Climate Insights for natural resources to help support the availability of drinking water for Florida residents, while also preserving national treasures, like America's Everglades. 

An ever-expanding ecosystem of sustainability partners 

In 2022, we saw the network of Google Cloud partners focused on sustainability expand at a remarkable pace. In July we announced Google Cloud Ready - Sustainability, a new validation program for partners with a business-ready solution available on Google Cloud that helps customers achieve sustainability goals. Partners with the GCR-Sustainability designation deliver solutions that reduce carbon emissions, increase the sustainability of value chains, help organizations process ESG data, or help them identify climate risks for increased resilience. 

This year, GCR-Sustainability grew to include 19 partners who brought their climate, ESG, and sustainability platforms to Google Cloud. These partners enhance the capabilities and ease the adoption of powerful Google Cloud technologies, such as Earth Engine and BigQuery, which allow customers to leverage data-rich solutions to reduce their carbon footprints. Other partners, like FleixDAO and Electricity Maps, enable us to share our insights from our 24/7 carbon-free energy journey to help customers pursue their own decarbonization goals. 

Climate impact across industries 

At Google Cloud, we recognize that industries are being presented with a mandate and an opportunity to step up and lead the charge in achieving society’s climate objectives. Across industries, organizations can turn to technology partners like Google Cloud to work with them not just to decarbonize their own IT footprints, but to help pinpoint the unique opportunities for rewiring their businesses to accelerate their decarbonization goals. 

In 2022, we employed our technology to unlock climate action across numerous industries in order to stave off the worst effects of climate change and create a more secure energy future for all:

  • In energy, Google Cloud teamed up with European utility ENGIE to tackle wind farm productivity in the form of an Artificial Intelligence-powered platform to optimize the value of ENGIE’s wind portfolio. 

  • We also worked with EON Brightfield to modernize the infrastructure of 50 year old power grids, generating 600+ million data points on a daily basis to improve grid forecasting and optimize grid planning.  

  • In manufacturing, we worked with the Ford Motor Company to implement a data platform operating on more than 100 key machines connected across two plants, streaming and storing over 25 million records per week. This allows Ford to gain actionable data-driven insights to help its manufacturing plants become even more efficient. 

  • In transport and travel, we partnered with Lufthansa to develop a platform that facilitates better planning and steering of the airline’s daily flight operations, resulting in measurable CO2 reductions through more efficient aircraft deployment. 

  • Finally, in the financial services sector, Bank of Montreal worked with Google Cloud and Climate Engine to leverage insights from geospatial data in order to better understand how the financial services industry can help organizations and industries better withstand the impacts of climate change. 

In 2023, we look forward to working with even more customers across industries to help you navigate the sustainability driven business transformations on the horizon. We’ll do this both by continuing to offer you the cleanest cloud in the industry, while leveraging the tools at our disposal and our rich ecosystem of sustainability-minded partners. Ultimately, we believe that enabling our customers to make sustainability-minded decisions will, in the aggregate, contribute to reversing climate change in a big way.

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