Meta is committed to reaching net zero emissions across our value chain in 2030, aligning our efforts with the latest science on what is needed to transition to a zero-carbon future.


Science tells us that the next 10 years will be the defining decade to limit the worst impacts of climate change. As a global company, we recognize the tech industry’s environmental impact, and we embrace the responsibility of not only reducing our own footprint but also working with other industry leaders to drive climate action.

In 2020, we announced our most ambitious goal yet: Reach net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across our value chain in 2030, aligning with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to set clear targets to help limit global temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

Achieving Net Zero Operational Emissions in 2020

In 2020, we achieved net zero emissions in our operations by reducing our GHG emissions by 94 percent, compared to 2017 levels, and supporting high-quality carbon removal projects. Over the next decade, we will continue to decarbonize our value chain and enable GHG reduction and carbon removal technology advancements.

Sourcing renewable energy for our operations has been a critical part of reducing our operational emissions, and we will continue to reduce our emissions by enhancing the sustainability performance of our facilities while maintaining 100 percent renewable energy. For our full value chain emissions, we are looking at reductions through the life cycles of our offices and data centers and by incorporating circular economy principles into our buildings, server hardware, and consumer products. We are also partnering with suppliers to build capacity on data reporting and to support on-site energy assessments that identify energy reduction opportunities and improve environmental performance.

In 2020, we worked to decrease emissions across our value chain, including:

  1. Covering 100 percent of the work-from-home electricity use of our employees with renewable energy. This was the first year that we incorporated telecommuting emissions into our environmental inventory.
  2. Covering the emissions associated with our transmission and distribution loss, which are currently reported in our indirect Scope 3 emissions, with renewable energy.
  3. Testing new WhatsApp code improvements based on Erlang and reducing compute storage by 25 percent—all while yielding the same performance.

Greenhouse Gas Accounting Methodology

We disclose our GHG emissions annually and are committed to increasing transparency around our impact. Our GHG footprint includes the emissions associated with running our business and data centers, as well as the indirect emissions created upstream from our operations and downstream in our products. These emissions correspond to Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 emissions as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

We have been reporting Scopes 1 and 2 for ten years, some categories of Scope 3 since 2015, and full Scope 3 categories since 2019. Our emissions are calculated annually and verified by a third party. We will continue reporting and updating our emissions boundaries as our business grows.

We invite you to learn more about our GHG Accounting Methodology here.

Reaching Net Zero in Our Value Chain in 2030

While our climate strategy is largely focused on achieving significant emission reductions, we recognize that some of our emissions will be hard to reduce by 2030. To reach our target of net zero emissions, we will remove an equivalent amount of any GHG we emit through high-quality carbon removal projects. Examples of that in 2020 included supporting forestry projects in East Africa and the Mississippi River Valley that removed 145,000 metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere. These nature-based solutions will serve as a bridging mechanism toward long-term decarbonization. In the future, we hope to invest in emerging carbon removal technologies (e.g., direct air capture) that will advance carbon removal efforts everywhere.

Moving forward, we will continue to partner with nonprofits, peers, and other experts to inform the composition of our project portfolio and ensure that our due diligence process is rigorous. We will prioritize carbon removal projects that:

  • Are designed to be a durable, additional source of carbon sequestration.
  • Support local livelihoods and enable climate justice and equity.
  • Benefit the environment by supporting biodiversity, habitat, or water.
  • Are quantified using existing standards and verified by a third party.
  • Do not create adverse impacts elsewhere.

Reaching net zero emissions means that, for any emissions we cannot reduce, we are removing the same amount of GHGs from the atmosphere as we emit. A simple example of a carbon removal project is planting new trees to sequester carbon.

Some carbon offsets are considered “avoided emissions” offsets. An example of this type of offset is paying for someone to not cut down an existing forest that would otherwise likely be cut. While we believe investment in these types of offsets has a very important role in mitigating climate change and are critical from a biodiversity perspective, our net zero goal aims to remove our emissions rather than offset their effects. We follow the Science-Based Target initiative’s (SBTi) criteria for emissions reduction and removal in line with a pathway to limit temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

Assessing Our Climate-Related Risks

Meta regularly conducts climate-related risks and opportunities assessments to better understand future climate-related transitional and physical risks. Transitional risks can occur as businesses recalibrate to a cleaner, green economy. To assess our transitional climate risks, we consider potential changes to climate policies as well as technological, market, and reputational risks.  We believe we are better positioned for the transition to a greener future through our efforts to support our operations with 100 percent renewable energy and our goal to reach net zero emissions across our value chain in 2030. 

To address our physical climate-related risks, we execute assessments using models and potential risk scenarios, including a business-as-usual pathway (RCP 8.5)2, to better understand how acute and chronic physical risks may impact our global facilities, data centers, and supply chain. In 2020, we assessed physical risks, such as wildfires, sea-level rise, water stress, floods, hurricanes, and heat stress, completing climate risk assessments for over 450 priority Meta sites, an increase from 250 sites in 2019. Insights from these assessments help inform our operational strategy and identify key opportunities to weave climate-related considerations into our long-term resiliency strategy.

Additionally, we take steps to strengthen our climate resilience by incorporating the results of these assessments into key business decisions. For example, we developed a climate resilience toolkit with checklists and key questions for each type of physical risk to help develop resiliency plans. Teams also conduct tabletop exercises to practice responses to disruptive extreme weather events.  

We bring this same approach to our global supply chain, where we work closely with suppliers to help them understand and prepare for climate risks in and to their business. For high-risk suppliers, we conduct deeper assessments and partner closely to ensure they have prepared sufficiently for climate risks.

Each year, we increasingly experience the negative social, economic, and public health impacts of climate change. Yet, these effects are not felt equally across different regions or populations. Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and those in economically distressed communities are disproportionately affected by the extreme weather patterns, natural disasters, and pollution brought on by rising temperatures. Climate action and solutions can also often alienate these communities that are already experiencing racial and economic inequities, such as inadequate housing or access to resources. Lack of stakeholder engagement or needs assessments can further exacerbate the adverse socioeconomic and health impacts.

We are committed to supporting climate solutions that take impacted communities and groups into consideration, advancing projects and partnerships that incorporate equity and justice in their approach to addressing this urgent issue. As we invest in nature-based carbon removal and infrastructure around the globe, we will also prioritize projects that create environmental, social, and economic benefits for people most impacted by climate change.

For example, we supported a locally managed reforestation and sustainable development project in 2020 that will help sustain existing income and improve crop yields for commodities such as fruit, nuts, and timber for smallholder farmers in Kenya and Uganda. This also created a new source of income in the form of direct payments from sold carbon credits.

Meta’s 2020 Net Carbon Footprint

4M metric tons of CO2e

Scope 3 GHG Emissions (metric tons CO2e)

Annual GHG Intensity

2 The high-emissions Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 global warming scenario from the IPCC.

We are committed to accelerating the transition to renewable energy as well as supporting renewable energy projects that are on the same electrical grids as our data centers.


Supported by 100 Percent Renewable Energy

In 2011, we announced our commitment to source 100 percent renewable energy for our facilities—and we achieved that goal in 2020. Over the years, our procurement efforts have resulted in Meta becoming one of the largest global buyers of renewable energy. At the end of 2020, our global portfolio totaled over 5.9 GW of wind and solar projects under contract, and we increased our operating portfolio of wind and solar to over 2.8 GW spanning 15 U.S. states, Europe, and Asia. For 2021, we have announced additional contracts, including our first solar-plus-storage projects that include 180 MW of storage capacity across three states.

A core part of our renewable energy strategy is supporting new projects and approaches that increase access to renewable energy, as well as add renewable capacity to the grids that support our data centers. To do this, we partner with utilities and developers to build new wind and solar projects to support our operations.

In 2019, we announced our first direct investment in a 300 MW solar power plant in Andrews County, Texas. After 14 months of construction, the plant became operational in July 2020 and has been delivering clean energy to the same Texas grid that serves both our Fort Worth Data Center and Texas offices. Currently, it is also one of the largest solar projects operating in Texas. 

In 2020, we expanded the number of states in the U.S. where we have announced new renewable energy projects to include Illinois, Tennessee, and Ohio, growing the grids on which Meta is bringing new solar and wind energy. We also work directly with local utilities around the U.S. to establish new green tariffs that enable other companies and customers, not just Meta, to access renewable energy. To date, we have established six new tariffs in the U.S.

Meta takes this same approach across the globe as well. In October of 2020, we announced Singapore’s first renewable virtual power purchase agreement to support our local operations—our offices and upcoming data center—with solar energy from panels to be installed on the rooftops of more than 1,200 public housing residential units and 49 government buildings. Once operational, the rooftops are expected to total more than 100 MW of solar capacity. In Ireland, we also partnered with Brookfield Renewables to purchase energy produced by its 28.8 MW Lisheen III wind farm based in Tipperary. This is our second renewable energy project in Ireland and the capacity will be enough to support the electricity needs of our expanding data center buildings and new office campus in Dublin.

Extending Impact to Communities

Beyond our operations, our commitment to support renewable energy projects on the same electricity grid as our data center and facilities has had a profound economic impact on local communities.

To understand the impact of Meta’s renewable energy projects on jobs and the economy, we released a study in May 2021 that looked at the economic impact of 55 solar and wind projects that support our U.S. data centers. These renewable energy projects total 5,763 MW—some of which are operating today and others that will come online over the next three years—and represent an estimated $7.4 billion in investment. During construction, these renewable energy projects have supported or will support over 42,000 jobs across the country and contribute more than $4.3 billion in U.S. GDP. 

Our portfolio of solar and wind projects spans 18 states and 46 counties, and many of these projects have benefited under-resourced communities. Of the 55 U.S. solar and wind projects in our portfolio studied, 96 percent are located outside of major metropolitan areas and 82 percent are located in counties with poverty rates above the national average. The analysis showed that construction of these renewable energy projects have generated or will generate $2.6 billion of labor income for workers, and project operations will generate $70 million in annual employee compensation.

An overhead view of fields of solar panels located in the Altavista solar project in Virgina.
61.6 MW Altavista Solar Project in Virginia

Sharing Market Expertise to Increase Access

Collaboration is a core aspect of our strategy to source and increase access to renewable energy. As part of our efforts to strengthen the global renewable energy market, we work closely with key stakeholders and industry groups—such as Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance, RE-Source, the Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE), and the American Council on Renewable Energy—to help other companies make their own renewable energy purchases and to accelerate the transition to clean energy across the entire electricity system.

As part of our commitment to water stewardship, we actively work to reduce our water footprint and are transparent about our water data. We strive to be good water stewards by restoring the water we consume in water-stressed regions and by working with others to advance industry understanding and practices.


Managing Our Water Use

Water is a finite resource, and every drop matters. 

At our data centers, water is mainly used in two ways: evaporative cooling and humidification. Our evaporative cooling system converts water into vapor to lower the temperature in our data centers, while our humidification process maintains the humidity of our data centers to the current standard. As a result of our innovative design choices and commitment to operational excellence, our data centers are over 80 percent more water efficient than the average data center, and we are always striving to become more efficient. 

Currently, the servers in our data centers are designed to operate between 65°F and 85°F (18°C and 30°C) and in relative humidity of 20 to 80 percent. In 2020, we completed an operational pilot project that explored the possibility of operating at a lower relative humidity limit as a potential way to increase our water efficiency and conserve water. The pilot program was successful as we reduced relative humidity to 13 percent and achieved an overall water savings of more than 40 percent when operating at a lower relative humidity level. Since then, we have been building on the program’s success to implement similar lower relative humidity setpoints at our other existing data centers, while also making this the new standard for our future data centers. 

Our pilot project that evaluates water savings of operating at a lower relative humidity at our data center.

Our efforts to source more renewable energy have also reduced our water usage. Through Meta’s renewable energy procurement, we have found tremendous water savings compared with sourcing energy from the standard utility energy mix, since renewable energy sources require less water to generate electricity than fossil fuels.

In 2020, we sourced 7.1 billion kWh of renewable energy to support our operations, leading to a savings of 1.4 billion cubic meters (over 380 billion gallons)—enough to fill 560,000 Olympic swimming pools. As part of our commitment to transparency, Meta is also one of the few companies to publicly report data on water embedded in energy procurement. 

2020 Water Data

In 2020, Meta locally restored nearly as much water as we consumed to the watersheds where we operate.

Unit: Cubic Meters2017201820192020
Water Withdrawal1,609,0002,367,0003,430,0003,833,000
Water Consumption838,0001,279,0001,971,0002,270,000
Water Restoration*N/A132,000145,0002,250,000
*Reported volumes represent total volume restored through water restoration projects for each year, not including contracted projects not yet implemented.

Supporting Water Restoration

In addition to efforts to maximize efficiency in our operational water use, a key component of our water stewardship strategy is supporting projects that restore local watersheds near our data center communities. 

Part of that strategy involves partnering with local, trusted environmental nonprofits that share our vision to identify and support water restoration projects that benefit neighboring communities, especially those in water-stressed regions. 

Restoring local watersheds is not only essential for the global communities that they support; these projects also play a critical role in preserving local habitats and advancing biodiversity. When identifying restoration projects to support, we prioritize those that help maintain local wildlife habitats and species.

Our overarching vision is to continue expanding our support for water restoration projects, while restoring 100 percent of water consumed at our data centers located in high-risk areas. To date, we have contracted 9 water restoration projects in four high-risk regions, expecting to restore approximately 2.25 million cubic meters (~595 million gallons).

In 2020, we restored nearly as much water as we consumed to the watersheds where we operate. We also added three new restoration projects in New Mexico, Utah, and California. 

2020 New Water Restoration Projects

StateWatershedProjectContacted Volume m3/year
(gallons/year)
New MexicoRio GrandeMiddle Rio Grande Flow Restoration
Water rights lease to reduce withdrawal
123,000 m3
(~33 million gal/yr)
UtahProvo RiverProvo River Olmstead Power Station
Water rights lease to reduce withdrawal
2,090,000 m3
(~550 million gal/yr)
CaliforniaSacramento RiverSacramento River Wildfire Recovery Reforestation
Reforestation to reduce runoff
140,000 m3
(~37 million gal/yr)*
Total Volume Contracted
in 2020 (m3)
2,353,000 m3
(~ 622 million gal/year)
*Project started in 2020 and we are expecting benefits in 2021.

New Mexico

Since 2018, we have worked closely with The Audubon Society in New Mexico to address shared water challenges in the Rio Grande watershed through an innovative water leasing project. Through this project, the Audubon Society leases water from the City of Bernalillo, City of Belen and Village of Los Lunas delivering it to key wetland and channel areas in the Isleta Reach of the Rio Grande that lack adequate water to support riparian, in-channel, and environmental function. 

In 2020, we extended our project support for another eight years, restoring approximately 123,400 cubic meters per year. This eight-year flow restoration project is the first long-term commitment to lease water for environmental flows in the Rio Grande. To maximize the duration of flows to the Isleta Reach, the water was combined with volumes acquired through other leases, and together the leases helped keep 35 river miles flowing or wetted in 2020. This was crucial to sustain wetland vegetation and fish and wildlife habitat during normally dry periods; a total of 75 bird species were identified at three monitored locations in the project area in July 2020.

California

California experienced one of the worst wildfire years in the state’s history in 2018, when over 1.8 million acres of its forestland were engulfed in flames. To restore these areas, Arbor Day Foundation and American Forest Foundation are planting two million trees on 8,000 acres, focusing on large swathes of private lands that are often omitted from governmental revitalization efforts. 

In 2020, we supported the planting of 70,000 trees on 280 acres. This restoration of burned lands is expected to provide water benefits by reducing runoff and erosion, while restoring local habitat and providing economic opportunity through sustainable timber harvesting to local landowners.  

Provo River before and after flow restoration. Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Trout Unlimited

Utah

For over 100 years, lower Provo River flows have been diverted out of the river at Olmstead Diversion Dam for hydropower generation. As a result, in-river flows were reduced for an approximately five-mile stretch of the river, with very significant low flow impacts occurring in the most downstream 1.2-mile portion. During periods of high irrigation demand, river flows have dropped below five cubic feet per second (cfs), resulting in warmer water and reduced oxygen levels, which can be fatal to wild brown and rainbow trout populations in this popular fishery. 

Meta was the initial funder of this collaborative project to increase flows in the lower Provo River, supporting the Central Utah Water Conservancy District to help ensure 1.6 million cubic meters (416 million gallons) of water remains in the river during the hottest months of the year for a 10-year period. Our initial funding has since been used to raise additional funds to help ensure 4.5 million cubic meters (over 1.2 billion gallons) of water remains in the river between April 15 and October 15 of each year through 2029. These flows will be measured and dedicated to support instream flow in the project reach.

Moving Industry Standards Forward

Industry collaboration is essential if we want to scale impact, which is why we actively engage in partnerships and projects that advance best practices in corporate water stewardship—developing tools, driving collaboration and understanding around key water risks, and setting goals to move the industry forward. As part of our collaborative efforts, Meta is a member of the World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct Alliance and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s Change the Course Program to spur water restoration projects within our communities. 

Meta strives to have a positive impact on the communities and environments where we operate, and we work to ensure safe, healthy, and fair working conditions for workers within our global supply chain—all while minimizing our environmental footprint.

Through our Responsible Supply Chain program, we engage meaningfully with our supply chain partners, build supplier capacity, and respond quickly to challenges as they arise.


Setting Standards for Our Suppliers

Strengthening supplier relationships was again a key focus for us this year. In 2020, we continued to provide a framework of policies, standards, and implementation expectations to guide our supplier business relationships. Given how crucial communication is when working with suppliers, we work collaboratively with them to increase their awareness and understanding of our expectations and to ensure management systems are in place—and we expect suppliers to flow down these standards throughout their extended supply chain. 

Our policies reflect our commitment to have a positive impact including: the Responsible Business Alliance Code of Conduct, which sets out standards on labor, environment, health and safety, ethics, and management systems; Meta’s Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement; and Meta’s Conflict Minerals Policy.

Our suppliers are also expected to follow Meta’s best practices in creating and ensuring a respectful workplace. Our Materials of Concern Standard covers our product requirements around restrictions and use of hazardous substances in our products, while our Electronics Reuse and Recycling Standard provides expectations for recyclers that manage the end-of-life treatment of our hardware. Transparency and trust are essential to how we approach setting and implementing our standards. 

In 2020, we conducted risk assessments to help us identify and prioritize the most critical issue areas and suppliers. We proactively engaged with priority suppliers to verify conformance through dialogue, independent audits and assessments, worker surveys, supplier questionnaires, and other forms of assurance. Any issues identified were actively addressed through our corrective action, key performance indicator programs, and deeper supplier engagement. 

An example of deeper engagement is our effort to work with suppliers on targeted capability building. Partnering with third-party providers with experience in labor and health and safety issues, we helped suppliers identify areas for improvement and develop a structured plan with KPIs. We also conducted training for entire teams—from workers, senior management, supervisors, line leaders to the human resources team—on topics such as improving grievance mechanisms and communications, to help them build the skills they need to achieve target outcomes. We continued to monitor and track suppliers’ progress toward the goals outlined in the improvement plan through regular follow-up site visits or calls as well.

Advancing Hardware Circularity

In support of Meta’s commitment to achieve net zero GHG emissions across our value chain in 2030, we are embracing circularity and resource efficiency as key levers to reduce our emissions. Part of that effort is evaluating each part of the product life cycle—materials, manufacturing, transportation, use phase, and end of life—and working to embed circularity principles into how we design, build, and operate.  

We actively seek to include recycled materials in our hardware and product designs, as well as embed circular design principles into our product development process. We are building circularity into how we run and operate our server fleet, exploring ways to extend the life of hardware and components used in our data centers. When hardware and devices reach end of life, we partner with our downstream recyclers to ensure responsible treatment of electronic waste through our e-waste assurance program, which stems from the expectations set in Meta’s Electronics Reuse & Recycling standard. 

How We Approach Circularity

At Meta, we strive to reduce waste by building and operating sustainable facilities. We see circularity as a key part of this effort and an essential evolution from a linear system that is extractive, polluting and finite to a circular one that is sustainable.

To achieve this, we will all need to change the way that we design, make, use, and dispose of the materials and items that we use, striving to:

  • Specify designs that minimize waste, enable complete disassembly and maximize material recovery.
  • Use materials with the highest possible level of recycled content.
  • Recycle synthetic materials at the highest level of quality within technical loops.
  • Recirculate natural materials and ensure their eventual safe return to biological loops.
  • Eliminate toxins, pollutants and non-recyclable content from materials and products.
  • Prioritize the use of materials that restore natural environments.

To scale circular systems, we need to look beyond Meta. Therefore, we will use our products, family of apps and know-how to catalyze circularity in our industry and beyond.

Meta Community

Our Workplaces
Shape and operate healthy, waste-free workplaces

Our Data Centers
Build and run data centers with optimal resource efficiency

Our Hardware
Make hardware re-use, refurbishment and recycling the norm


Global Community

Our Products & Partnerships
Empower people everywhere to live in a more circular life

Our Industry
Advance circularity through collaboration and open-source

Engaging Suppliers More Deeply

During last year’s global pandemic and economic recession, the health and resilience of workers in our global supply chain was top of mind more than ever. To that end, Meta worked with our priority suppliers to address labor, human rights, and health and safety focus areas that have the greatest impact in creating lasting change. 

We also expanded supplier engagement through a program focused on collecting direct opinions and concerns from workers via mobile-based and tablet surveys, using sentiment and insights from these surveys to help suppliers improve management systems and working conditions. For example, we collaborated with a supplier to create and deliver an employee board as a way to share encouraging messages to boost worker morale and focus on building community in the workplace. 

In 2020, we continued to strengthen our climate resiliency efforts throughout the supply chain, conducting physical risk assessments of key manufacturing facilities, and partnering across Meta to ensure strong supplier business continuity practices. We also stepped up our supplier engagement program and continued to collect data from our suppliers to understand the environmental challenges they face, continuously identifying ways to reduce their GHG emissions impact. 

We tailor our approach based on the maturity of our suppliers’ sustainability strategy as well as their needs and business priorities. Our program engagement includes building capacity on data reporting; supporting virtual or on-site energy assessments, and identifying energy and greenhouse gas reduction opportunities.

Employees gathered around a whiteboard, writing the answer to a question: "What makes you happy?"
Employees at one of Meta’s supplier sites adding their thoughts to the factory’s happiness board.

Advancing Industry Change

Collaboration is one of the best ways to drive more effective change. At Meta, that means partnering and sharing ideas with others and developing solutions that promote best practices for a responsible supply chain. We are members of the Responsible Business Alliance, a multi-stakeholder initiative dedicated to advancing sustainability globally, the Responsible Minerals Initiative, and the Responsible Labor Initiative. 

We are thinking beyond Meta’s operations and exploring how our products and platforms can accelerate climate action and sustainability. Through strategic partnerships with sustainability industry experts and NGOs, we identify emerging trends and new opportunities for our products.

Since 2019, we have accelerated our work to create and expand sustainability solutions that drive climate action through our core products and services. We leverage capabilities and data across our platforms to create different solutions that will not only increase our understanding of climate change but will also enable our users, partners, and industry leaders to better drive climate action. 


Increasing Climate Understanding through Innovation

Over the years, access to credible climate science information has continued to be a major challenge, inhibiting broader awareness around the urgency of climate change. That is why in September 2020, we launched the Climate Science Information Center (CSIC) as a hub to provide authoritative information from the world’s leading climate science sources. Following the launch, we continued to add new features to the tool, which is now available in 16 countries, including a new section with facts debunking common climate myths and information labels on some posts directing people to the Center. More than 3 million people globally follow the platform, with an average of 100,000 visitors every day.

To better understand public views on climate change, our Data for Good team worked with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication to launch a Climate Change Opinion Survey in over 30 countries and territories on Facebook. This first-of-its-kind survey gathers regional and global insight into public climate change knowledge, attitudes, policy preferences, and behaviors. These findings will be used by external partners in research and advocacy efforts and provide decision-makers an international view of climate change opinion.

Many of our climate solutions are driven by science and data. In April 2020, we launched the Climate Conversation Map, a tool that uses data science research and anonymized, aggregated data to show how climate conversations ebb and flow throughout the world and over time. 

For our academic and nonprofit partners, this tool offers key insight into how audiences in different regions are engaging with climate-related news on our platforms and allows our partners to craft programs and messaging that resonate with their audiences. Within five months of launch, we built new state-level and daily datasets for partners. Approximately 70 partners accessed the tool by the end of 2020, and we continue to work closely with select academic partners to improve it.

The Climate Science Information Center increases access to authoritative climate information from the world’s leading climate science sources and experts.

Connecting Values-Driven People and Businesses

There is a growing trend of people making shopping decisions by intentionally seeking out businesses and products that align with their own values. In 2020, we explored ways to expand our support for businesses focused on sustainability to connect with new consumers on our platforms. 

In EMEA, we developed the Sustainable Business Program (SBP) to help businesses better engage with sustainability-minded customers, and to educate and empower consumers to make sustainable choices. Through SBP, we created a network of over 100 businesses across EMEA, advocating and accelerating business contributions to achieving the UN SDGs. As part of our work, the network published new insights and case studies across EMEA in a centralized resource for participating clients, and we also leveraged client feedback to inform the development of new products that connect conscious shoppers to sustainable brands on our platforms.

In partnership with our clients, we also built a Sustainability Ads Testing Program that provides initial evidence showing how values-driven communications can drive business results. For example, one test showed that ads showcasing supply chain traceability led to a 50 percent increase in the number of purchases and a 31 percent decrease in cost per acquisition. Moving forward, we will continue to enable sustainable brands and partners to connect with sustainability-conscious consumers on our platform and help advance values-driven shopping.

Innovating through Hackathons

Our employees are the driving force behind the success of our products and services. To support the passion that many of our employees have for sustainability, we have built a community of Sustainability Hackers, who gather during company hackathons throughout the world to incubate and build new climate product ideas and innovations. In 2020, we generated a total of 23 sustainability-related product ideas from our hackathons, ranging from biodiversity, environmental justice, and circularity.  

We take a similar approach to how we identify and support external opportunities to promote innovation beyond our walls. In 2020, we partnered with EIT Climate-KIC, the largest private and public partnership in the EU addressing climate change, to support their Berlin and California Climathons, city-based programs that provide opportunities for cities and citizens to co-create ideas that address shared climate challenges. 

Collaboration is essential to our ability to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. Beyond efforts to expand our platform to connect more people, we also recognize the importance of working with others to address key social and environmental issues like climate change.

That is why we work closely with our stakeholders and partners—including government, academic institutions, industry peers, nonprofits, and local communities—to increase knowledge access and provide a platform that helps empower and activate climate action.


Creating New Climate Content during Climate Week

Climate change is an urgent challenge that is too great for any single person, company, government, or entity to solve alone. Together we can effect more change, and we have built partnerships with globally-renowned organizations over the years to help share information about climate change and use the strength of our platforms to catalyze climate action. As organizations and businesses shifted their global teams to remote work amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, our platform and products offered a unique way for us and partners to collaborate. 

During Climate Week NYC and the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in 2020, we helped the Climate Group reach a bigger, wider audience via Facebook Watch Live. We also hosted a panel online titled, “Working Together to Accelerate Climate Action,” where viewers tuned in to the panel via the FBxUNGA microsite, a dedicated page on our platform to showcase Meta’s presence at UNGA. We will continue to use UNGA as an opportunity to share our progress against the UN SDGs.

Virtualizing World Water Week

With events going virtual in 2020, we partnered with the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) for the second year in a row to help bring World Water Week to a global online audience, working closely with the organization to develop digital presentation best practices and provide capacity-building training on Facebook and Instagram tools. We also supported the Stockholm Junior Water Prize, a global competition for youth to design water-related projects of environmental, scientific, social, or technological significance.

Sustainable Events Framework

Meta annually hosts over 1,000 events across the world, and we understand the environmental impact that large-scale, in-person events can have. In 2020, teams across Meta developed a Sustainable Events Framework to help ensure Meta’s global events align with our sustainability goal to reduce our GHG emissions and environmental footprint. 

Through the Sustainable Events Framework, we outlined best practices and set standards for reducing our events’ GHG emissions, waste, and material use in line with our net zero GHG emissions target. Beyond using the new framework to guide how we host Meta events, we hope to share these practices and learnings broadly to accelerate progress across industries globally. In 2021 and beyond, all Meta event managers and agencies will be asked to take our online course and follow the framework, with the goal of targeting our most impactful events moving forward.

At Meta, we are proud to design and operate some of the most sustainable data centers in the world. Since we broke ground on our first data center in Prineville, Oregon in 2010, we have worked to minimize our impact by incorporating design elements and construction practices that prioritize resource efficiency and clean energy, while continuing to grow our presence to connect more people around the world.


Building and Operating Sustainable Data Centers

Supporting our data centers with 100 percent renewable energy and saving energy and water through efficient designs are the foundations of our strategy to operate sustainable data centers. 

A key component of that strategy is ensuring our buildings comply with industry standards, specifically the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)—a globally recognized third-party verification standard for sustainable buildings developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

Since our Prineville data center earned the LEED Gold certification in 2011, we have continued to achieve Gold certification levels—or higher—for all of our current and new data centers. In 2020, five of our new construction projects—located across Denmark, Ireland and the U.S.—were awarded LEED Gold certification. Additionally, our Singapore data center, Meta’s first project in the APAC region, earned Platinum certification under Green Mark, a sustainability standard created by the Singapore government.

A photo of the Clonee, Ireland datacenter.
In 2020, we earned LEED Gold certification for our third data center building (CLN3) at our Clonee, Ireland campus.
Our data center in Odense, Denmark includes a system that reuses excess heat from data halls to warm homes in a neighboring community. We were able to divert 90 percent of the construction waste footprint from landfills through reuse, recycling and waste-to-energy facilities, and the project won the 2020 Data Center Dynamics “Hyperscale Data Center Innovation Award.”

As part of our effort to reach net zero emissions for our value chain in 2030, we explored strategies to reduce the environmental impacts linked to construction activities and building materials like concrete and steel. Last year, in Altoona, Iowa, we began piloting the use of electric construction equipment, such as the Cat D6XE, the world’s first electric drive dozer which uses 25 percent less diesel fuel compared to traditional bulldozers. We also piloted the Embodied Carbon Construction Calculator (EC3), a new online tool that design and construction teams can use to procure materials that reduce a building’s overall carbon footprint.

For our Los Lunas, New Mexico data center located in a desert climate, we engineered a system that captures rainwater from the roof in an underground cistern and cuts in half the amount of potable water needed to irrigate the surrounding campus landscape.

Annual Data Center Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE)

Annual Data Center Water Usage Effectiveness (WUE)

Embedding Circularity

We prioritize embedding circularity principles into how we design, build, and operate our data centers to elevate resource efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint. In 2020, our five projects that earned LEED Gold diverted an average of 78 percent of construction materials from landfills. And to help reduce our overall waste footprint, we also collaborated with one of our major suppliers on an initiative to minimize the amount of packaging needed to ship fiber optic cables.

Our circularity principles also extend to the kinds of materials we use. To lower the carbon impact of concrete—one of the largest sources of global greenhouse gas emissions—we partnered with researchers from the University of Urbana-Champaign’s civil engineering department to use artificial intelligence algorithms to develop low-carbon mix designs that use high amounts of byproducts from other industries as a replacement for cement. We hope to scale this pilot initiative to other facilities where possible in the coming years.

Economic Impact on Communities

Meta is committed to investing in the vitality of communities where we develop data centers. When we build a data center in a community, Meta drives job growth and contributes to economic and community development in the area. 

According to our latest data center Economic Impact Report in the U.S., Meta’s direct investments from 2017 through 2019 in data center construction and operations contributed a cumulative $18.6 billion to the U.S. GDP and supported over 178,000 jobs. The study found that for every $1 million in capital expenditures, we support 14 jobs, and for every $1 million in operating expenditures, we support 18 jobs. When constructing data centers, we estimate more than 1,000 construction workers are on-site at peak. Once completed, a data center usually supports over 100 jobs to manage facility and site operations. In EMEA, our data center spending in Ireland from 2015 to 2018 drove a total of €721 million (approximately $875 million) of sales activity and €188 million (approximately $228 million) of GDP in the country’s construction sector.

In addition to driving economic impact, Meta is also committed to supporting the vitality of local communities by investing in schools, nonprofit organizations, and community projects through direct grantmaking and volunteering. Once a data center is operational, we launch our Community Action Grants program which provides grants focused on leveraging the power of technology for community benefit, helping people connect online or off and improving local science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education on an annual basis.

Moving Industry Standards Forward

We work closely with industry organizations and experts to help shape the industry’s standards for high-performance data centers. We continue to collaborate with the United States Green Building Council to shape design and construction standards and best practices, deepening our collaboration through our involvement in technical committees. 

And through our Open Compute Project (OCP), we connect with other leading technology innovators to exchange products and designs around data center infrastructure and hardware with an open source community. In 2020, the OCP Incubation Committee, a working group dedicated to establishing the foundational and operational aspects of the OCP, outlined key strategies to enable greater circularity within the data center industry.

We are proud to design, build, and operate some of the most sustainable workplaces in the world.


Operating Sustainably

At Meta, enhancing employee well-being and maintaining sustainable workplaces are key aspects to the way in which we operate our facilities. Our workplace sustainability philosophy is centered around occupant health, resource efficiency, and responsible supply chain management. 

To achieve this, we implement stringent sustainability standards, as well as follow third-party green building certifications, when designing and operating our global facilities. We aim to achieve LEED Gold certification at our larger offices globally—and strive beyond that where possible, including earning LEED Platinum at our Menlo Park headquarters, with pursuit underway at additional locations across the U.S., U.K., Brazil, and India. In 2020, we completed our first offices slated for WELL and Fitwel® certification—two industry frameworks focused on promoting the health and wellbeing of building occupants. Beyond this, we continued to ensure that our major EMEA campuses continuously drive energy efficiency by achieving ISO 50001 Certification.

Our Dublin Ballsbridge Campus in Ireland is slated for WELL® Platinum Certification.

A key way Meta is able to meet these rigorous industry standards is through our Healthy and Sustainable Materials Program. Since first introducing the program in 2013, we have ensured that the building materials and furnishings used within our facilities meet the highest standards for health and environmental impact. The program focuses on ingredient disclosure, reducing embodied carbon, and avoidance of worst-in-class “chemicals of concern,” such as certain phthalates, flame retardants, heavy metals, and fluorinated chemicals. The program serves as an important foundation for how we promote sustainability through responsible procurement practices.

In an effort to further align our facility operations to our broader net zero emissions commitment, in 2020 we mapped out a 2030 Workplace Carbon Reduction Action Plan. Over the next 10 years, the plan aims to deliver a 50 percent carbon reduction across our workplaces’ top contribution to GHG emissions, including: electricity use, natural gas use, waste generation, employee commute, food consumed on-site, and the embodied carbon of our building materials. As part of this strategy, we will reduce our carbon impact through projects such as energy efficiency upgrades, installing on-site renewables, integrating circular economic practices to reduce waste, and delivering low-impact commute solutions.

Reducing our workplace resource consumption in 2020

22%

Average design energy use reduction

50%

Average design water use reduction

79%

Average construction waste recycling rate

Supporting Local Community Environments 

We are committed to helping build and preserve strong, resilient communities in the places we call home by actively engaging with our neighbors and making investments that support community needs and align with our core values. In addition to supporting investments in data center communities, local teams at our global offices leverage Meta’s resources to drive a positive impact on communities across key pillars of economic opportunity, food and housing access, and environmental sustainability.  

One example of our efforts to support community environmental stewardship is our partnership with GRID Alternatives, a California-based nonprofit installing solar systems on homes in underserved communities. To date, we have provided grants to install 80 photovoltaic systems in communities near our Menlo Park headquarters in California, which are expected to help avoid 3,370 tons of GHG emissions over their lifetime and help reduce energy bills for under-resourced families. Over the past three years, we have also partnered with Build It Green and Franklin Energy in the San Francisco Bay Area through the Healthy Home Connect initiative, which uses multiple funding sources to deliver energy and healthy home upgrades to benefit the community’s most vulnerable populations. 

Additionally in 2020, we supported the construction of the Ravenswood Bay Trail, a project by Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, to help close a critical gap in the otherwise continuous, 80-mile section of the Bay Trail in the San Francisco Bay Area. This new trail segment increases community access to the bayfront, is a setting for wildlife viewing and environmental education, as well as provides a commute alternative for cyclists.

We are proud to support the Ravenswood Bay Trail that provides access to the bay for Menlo Park and East Palo Alto communities in California. 
Photo credit: Mike Kahn, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District

Changing How We Engage Employees

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, our employees remained engaged during key internal moments. We are so grateful for our global teams and internal Green@ chapters for their commitment and support in advancing Meta’s sustainability commitments.

As our employees adjusted to working remotely in 2020, we launched our Sustainability@Home educational program to provide resources on leading a more sustainable lifestyle. The program included an educational video series highlighting actionable steps employees can take to reduce their personal carbon footprint, as well as strategies to promote wellbeing while working from home.  

Last year, we held our two largest events—Earth Week and Sustainability Summit—virtually on Workplace, increasing accessibility to our global employee base. Over five days during Earth Week, we hosted 68 virtual events, posts, and livestreams to celebrate Meta’s sustainability commitments and activate our employee base. To develop Earth Week content, we drew from the expertise of our global sustainability community, including members from 27 teams across 23 offices on three continents. By streaming all content through our internal Sustainability channels, we increased global awareness of this celebration—with over 7,100 viewers tuning in to the livestreams. 

In September 2020, we launched a new internal sustainability event to align with UNGA/Climate Week: our inaugural Sustainability Summit. The goal of this one-day virtual conference was to highlight Sustainability programming across the company and celebrate the cross-functional teams that make this work a reality. We held employee sessions on our efforts to build and operate sustainable workplaces, partner with NGOs on water restoration projects, develop a Net Zero 2030 roadmap, and sustainable platform projects.

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