Alphabet’s commitment to environmental and social initiatives as $5.75bn issued in sustainability bonds

This week, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has issued new sustainability bonds to further its support for environmental and social initiatives. The bonds will support a range of environmental steps, including clean energy, circular economy design and green buildings. 

The post, released by Google earlier this week, from Alphabet and Google’s CFO, Ruth Porat, detailed the corporation’s intention to maintain environmental and social responsibility at the core of operations; a core value since its founding in 1998. 

Noting that Google has been carbon neutral since 2007, Porat suggests, “we’ve matched our entire electricity consumption with renewables for the past three years. We continue to make major investments in affordable housing and have made a number of significant commitments to promote racial equity”.

The latest step 

However, the latest step in the company’s commitment to the environment and social responsibility is the largest sustainability bond by any company in history. A whopping $5.75bn, part of a $10bn debt offering, is set apart from other company’s green bonds, as it supports not only green initiatives, but additionally social initiatives. 

“Such bonds are an emerging asset class and we hope this transaction will help develop this new market. We’re encouraged that there was such strong demand for these bonds from investors—they were significantly oversubscribed,” Porat noted. 

Encouraging investors’ commitment to environmental and social responsibility, the bonds will fund ongoing and upcoming projects in order to tackle critical issues. Through benefitting communities, employees and stakeholders, the investments are set to fulfil Google’s mission of creating value over the long term. 

Investment areas

The Sustainability Bond Framework will guide investments, ensuring transparency and alignment, with annual reports on which projects have been funding and the impact they will have. 

Falling in line with the Green Bond Principles and the Social Bond Principles, the projects the investment will be put towards cover eight critical areas:

Energy Efficiency 

Google data centres are some of the most efficient in the world through their optimisation of energy, water, and materials – now twice as energy efficient as most data centres.

Clean Energy 

Google has committed $4bn to purchasing clean energy from over 50 wind and solar projects between now and 2034. They are also looking to source carbon-free energy for their operations 24/7, matching energy consumption with clean energy for their data centres.

Green Buildings 

Today, more than 13 million square feet of Google offices are LEED certified.

Clean Transportation 

With a commitment to promoting EVs and bicycles and the use of Google shuttles in the Bay Area, Google has saved 40,000+ metric tons of CO2 emissions. 

Circular Economy and Design 

Google is committed to maximising reuse across their operation, having shipped millions of devices made with post-consumer recycled plastic, and 100 percent of Nest products from 2019 on include recycled plastic.

Affordable Housing 

Striving to be “a good neighbour”, the company has made a $1bn commitment to housing investment, helping to build 20,000 homes, with 5,000 affordable homes to help combat the lack of affordable housing in the Bay Area. 

Commitment to Racial Equality 

Through its $175+ million economic opportunity initiative, Google will be financing small businesses in Black communities, in addition to a $100 million YouTube fund to promote Black creators and artistic, acknowledging the link between racial equity and economic opportunity.  

Support for Small Business and COVID-19 Response 

To help with the devastation of COVID-19, Google has made an $800+ million commitment to small and medium-sized businesses, health organizations, governments, and health workers on the frontlines. Partnering, also, with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) to provide low-interest loans to community development financial institutions, will, in turn, provide loans to small businesses in underserved communities in the US, also working with the American Library Association to create entrepreneurship centers across the U.S. 

“This is the next chapter in our commitment to a more sustainable future for everyone,” Porat finishes. 

Maisie Law

Maisie Law is Editor-in-Chief here at CleanTech News. Maisie is keen to start making an impact on the developing CleanTech revolution by combining her interests in sustainable development and writing. Through her legal background, Maisie is acutely aware of the political and policy changes that need to be made to drive the earth towards carbon net zero. Equally as crucial to our mission, and the focus at CleanTech News is the sustainable achievements of those from start-ups to corporates, as she aims to champion and provide a platform to celebrate carbon reduction.