Google to neutralise carbon emissions from consumer hardware


Google plans to neutralise carbon emissions from delivering consumer hardware in 2020 and include recycled plastic in each of its products by 2022.

Anna Meegan, Head of Sustainability for Google Devices and Services Unit, said this in San Francisco.

The new commitments step up the competition among tech companies aiming to show consumers and governments that they are curbing the environmental toll from their widening arrays of gadgets.

Meegan said that the company’s transport-related carbon emissions per unit fell 40 per cent in 2018 compared to 2017 by relying more on ships instead of planes to move phones and speakers.

Others are laptops and other gadgets from factories to customers across the world.

The company will offset remaining emissions by purchasing carbon credits, Meegan said.

Three out of nine Google products for which the company has detailed disclosures online contain recycled plastic, ranging from 20 per cent to 42 per cent in the casings for its Google Home speakers and Chromecast streaming dongles.

In a blog post, Google committed to introducing some recycled plastic to 100 per cent of products by 2022.

Meegan acknowledged that Google’s 3-year-old hardware business trails far larger hardware rival Apple Inc (AAPL.O) in some sustainability efforts.

Apple, which in 2017 committed to “one day” only using recycled and renewable materials, has at least 50 per cent recycled plastic in some parts of several products, recycled tin in at least 11 products and recycled aluminum in at least two.

But sustainability standards are now a part of Google’s hardware planning, Meegan said.

Devices cannot clear the second checkpoint in the company’s design process unless they show that sustainable packaging and materials and ease of repair have been considered.

“We’re fundamentally looking to build sustainability into everything we do; It’s going to take us time to demonstrate progress,” she said.