More and more tech giants join the bandwagon of committing to slash their carbon footprint as the danger of climate change grows globally and a rapid scale. Facebook is the latest entity on board, as it announced that it will shed its carbon emissions to zero by the end this year by purchasing enough renewable energy that offsets the CO2 emissions caused by the company’s global operations.
This comes just a day after Alphabet-owned Google announced that it has already reached a net zero emissions state.
Additionally, the social media platform will follow its own suit of the COVID-19 information center, and will introduce ‘Climate Science Information Center’ to “connect people with science-based information”. Initially, this feature will be only available on Facebook in Germany, the UK, the US and France. According to Facebook, the new information center will give users facts and data about the climate from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that includes UN Environment Programme (UNEP), The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and many others.
Furthermore, the company has vowed to reach net-zero emissions by 2030 in its supply chain, employee commuting, and business travel. This target is very similar to the ones set by other tech giants such as Amazon, Apple and Microsoft who aim to completely eliminate carbon emissions in their operations either by 2030 or 2040. This is also the second such announcement in two days from a tech giant after Google announced yesterday that it will utilize carbon-free energy to run all of its operations by 2030.
This move can be a counter to the criticisms that the company has been receiving for accusations of ignoring to stop the spread of misinformation surrounding climate change. There have been instances when Facebook un-flagged several posts that were labeled as misleading regarding climate change. In August 2019, it had removed the ‘false’ label from an op-ed article published by Washington Examiner on climate change, that was found to be misleading by an independent fact-checker. The very next month a group called CO2 Coalition was successful in overturning a misleading label regarding a climate change fact. It has been argued that Facebook uses its stance on ‘opinions’ to refrain from barring any misleading information.
In a statement to The Verge, Facebook said, “Our fact-checkers can and do rate climate science content — there has never been a prohibition against doing so … Simply labeling a piece of content as an op-ed or editorial does not make it ineligible for fact-checking”.