Google creates tools to track carbon footprint, emissions data

The company will now provide every Google Cloud Platform customer with Carbon Footprint reporting.

Sustainability took center stage on Tuesday among a host of announcements from Google at the Next 21' conference

Google unveiled a slate of new partnerships, integrations, tools and more designed to make the company and the world more sustainable. 

The company will now provide every Google Cloud Platform customer with Carbon Footprint reporting. The initiative was designed with HSBC, Atos, Salesforce and L'Oreal. 

It will provide users with actionable reports on the gross carbon footprint associated with their Cloud usage. 

Nourdine Bihmane, head of the decarbonization business line at Atos, said knowledge and technology innovation plays a key role in responding to the climate crisis the world is facing. 

"With Google Carbon Footprint reporting, Atos feeds emissions data in our Decarbonization Data Platform, demonstrating potential emissions reductions from the Google Cloud Platform to our customers," Bihmane said. "This reporting opens up new levels of emissions transparency, trajectory planning, and data insight to support our customers in meeting and potentially accelerating towards their climate goals." 

Google Cloud will also now provide alerts for how users can reduce their carbon by getting rid of idle cloud instances. 

The Active Assist Recommender and Unattended Project Recommender API give users estimates on the carbon emission savings that will come from getting rid of idle resources. Google said that in August, Active Assist analyzed the aggregate data from all customers across the platform, and over 600,000 kgCo2e was associated with projects that it recommended for cleanup or reclamation.

Google will also be partnering with sustainability organizations like Planet, Carto, Climate Engine, Geotab and NGIS in an effort to bring their data and applications to Google Cloud and help customers make more sustainability-driven decisions.

Google plans to integrate the Google Cloud Platform emissions data into the Salesforce Sustainability Cloud carbon accounting platform. Ari Alexander, GM of Salesforce Sustainability Cloud, said companies across the globe need to embed sustainability into the core of their business in order to meet growing customer and stakeholder expectations and reduce their environmental impact. 

"Together, Google Cloud and Salesforce Sustainability Cloud can help our joint customers accelerate customers' path to Net Zero, leveraging data-driven insights and visualizations to track and reduce their carbon emissions to drive sustainable change," Alexander said.

Alongside emissions data, Google said it was taking a range of measures to help organizations become more sustainable through digital transformation projects and workshops, low-carbon signals and third-party assessments on their own carbon impact. 

"The capability to measure and understand the environmental footprint of our Public Cloud usage is among the key axis of our sustainable tech roadmap," said Hervé Dumas, sustainability IT Director at L'Oreal. 

"With Google Cloud Carbon Footprint, we are now able to directly follow the impact of our sustainable infrastructure approach and architecture principles."