Thousands of Google employees want the company to commit to a climate change plan. The search giant, as well as other tech companies, often receive backlash for just doing lip service. Now, Amazon's, Microsoft's, and as mentioned before, Google's employees have put forth a set of demands.
Google Employees Want The Company To Put Its Users First
As of writing, 1,137 Google workers have backed up these demands. The climate change plan they are suggesting consists of four main points. First off, the employees want the company to cut its emissions to zero by 2030. Although Google has made a shift towards wind and solar energy, it's still largely carbon-based. The search giant does intend to rid itself of fossil fuels completely, but no clear timeline has been given.
In the open letter, the ineffectiveness of carbon credits, which many tech companies in California, including Google, have used, have also been referenced. Buying credits basically gives a free pass to companies to emit carbon dioxide by funding a project that reduces emissions, by, for instance, not cutting trees.
The employees also want Google to not enter contracts with firms that facilitate the extraction of fossil fuels. The company has previously entered deals that provide cloud, automation, and AI services to oil companies to help with exploration and extraction. Although this automation is supposed to make drilling cheaper and more efficient, it can actually accelerate the climate change process. Thus, Google is actually increasing CO2 emissions by providing its technology to the oil industry.
Next up, the employees do not want Google to provide any funding to entities that deny the climate change process. The Mountain View-based company has apparently contributed substantially to notorious climate deniers.
And lastly, Google employees want that company to stop collaborating with organizations that support the surveillance, oppression, incarceration, and displacement of communities affected by climate change. As noted in the letter, the people least responsible for the crisis are paying the price. And of course, many of these are Google users. Thus, the employees want the company to put the customers first and oppose these actions.
The Letter Addresses CFO Ruth Porat And Not The Company's CEO
The letter was sent to the chief financial officer, Ruth Porat as Google employees believe that she oversees issues related to the climate, and not CEO Sundar Pichai. So far, the company hasn't commented on the situation.
On a related note, the tech conglomerate has today introduced a program that will assist entrepreneurs working on sustainability and social problems. The startup accelerator will provide training, solutions and technical support to European, Middle Eastern, and African companies. They will work with Google, international experts, and local mentors. The internet company will choose around 10 startups and the program will last 6 months. Google has also pledged to use recycled materials for its entire Made By Google portfolio by 2022.
But, as the letter by Google employees shows, they don't consider the company's efforts satisfactory and want it to make bolder commitments. Let's see how the company responds and whether there will be repercussions.