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Innovation

Beyond our efforts to reduce our operational footprint and form partnerships designed to drive change, a core part of our sustainability strategy is addressing and adapting to the impacts of climate change.

This will require innovative solutions that build on the world’s understanding of how it affects businesses and local communities. In 2019, we accelerated our work to advance sustainability solutions that drive climate action through our core products and services.  

Leveraging Data for Good 

We use de-identified, aggregated data to develop and release new features on our platform that allow users to communicate with friends and family during times of crisis and natural disasters. In 2014, we debuted Safety Check to allow Facebook users to let their network know they are safe while in crisis zones. In 2017, our Data for Good team launched Disaster Maps to help first responders and humanitarian organizations quickly assess the impact of natural disasters on a region, providing real-time insights that allow for more dynamic responses and effective deployment of aid to vulnerable communities.

In 2019, we began developing the Facebook Climate Conversation Map, a new tool that will provide organizations with information to advance climate action, including insight into what drives climate conversations and how they ebb and flow throughout the world and over time. Using data science research, computing power and anonymized platform data that are aggregated weekly, the map provides partners with a way to understand the level of engagement with climate-related news in various regions.

Gif of the Climate Conversation Map tool in action

Informed by and available to academic and NGO partners like the World Resources Institute and The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, the Climate Conversation Map is an example of how collaboration plays an important role in Facebook’s approach to innovation. In addition to the joint effort between multiple teams at Facebook, we worked closely with partners to refine the tool and companion tools like the CrowdTangle Climate Conversation Live Display. This publicly available dashboard searches for “climate change” and “global warming” in the same 21 languages used in the Climate Conversation Map. 

Innovating Through Collaboration

At Facebook, our people are our greatest assets, and the fight against climate change is a great example of how our employees have come together to put their passion and technical skills to use. In 2019, our Sustainability team hosted the first Sustainability Hackathon to accelerate the development of climate solutions. This hackathon approach allowed us to evolve project ideas into viable products and test opportunities to launch on Facebook’s family of apps. Facebook engineers and designers across the company participated in this initial hackathon, working with the team to bring four project ideas to life. 

Our teams also work closely with other organizations to help them better understand and use our capabilities to advance their sustainability efforts. For example, our Social Good Partnerships team helps nonprofit organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy and The Ocean Cleanup, leverage Facebook’s platform for their fundraising and marketing efforts. By 2019, our platforms raised more than $2 billion in support of nonprofits and causes that are important to our users. Since 2017, there are no fees associated with donations made through our Fundraising tool to charitable organizations, resulting in 100 percent of the funds raised going directly to the nonprofits being supported. 

As we continue to advance our own operational efforts and work with others, the need and demand for more innovative solutions to drive climate awareness and impact will only increase. According to our latest Topics and Trends Report, which analyzes topics of conversations on our platform across various countries and cultures, sustainability emerged as one of the top five key macro-level trends to watch, demonstrating a growing behavioral shift in how people respond to sustainability-related topics and issues. 

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