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Carbon Strategy Benchmark: Internet Sector

Date: 08 September 2011

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41 pages, 16 figures

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This report provides sustainability leaders with independent analysis of carbon data disclosures, reduction targets and energy strategies for the 14 largest global internet and social networking firms. Verdantix selected this subject for a detailed study to help industry players conduct peer group comparisons, understand sector trends and to steer future target setting plans. To further our understanding, we collated data from corporate sustainability reports, corporate communications and the firms’ public data disclosures. Verdantix analysis indicates that viewed as a sector, internet firms and social networking firms lack a consistent approach to energy and carbon management. Despite their multi-billion dollar market capitalizations, huge global brands and stellar growth trajectories, most of the firms in this study have not tackled challenges linked to carbon management. Among the firms included in the study Akamai and Apple stand out for their leadership role. eBay, Google and Yahoo! have also made strides to engage with the management issues associated with energy and carbon.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTERNET SECTOR DOWNPLAYS RELEVANCE OF CARBON MANAGEMENT

A Minority Of Global Internet Firms Disclose Carbon Data And Targets
Just Four Internet And Social Networking Firms Disclose Carbon Data
Internet Firms Need A Common Framework For Carbon Data Management
Internet And Social Networking Firms Lack Consistent Industry Standards

RAMPANT ENERGY CONSUMPTION WILL PULL CARBON UP THE AGENDA

Immature Carbon Strategies Reflect Patchy Data Disclosures
Energy Management Moves To Centre Stage As A Competitive Weapon

TIME TO INSERT CARBON INTO STRATEGIC ENERGY MANAGEMENT

DETAILED ANALYSIS OF INTERNET FIRMS’ TARGETS AND DISCLOSURES

Akamai: Aims For Environmental Leadership In The Internet Sector
Alibaba: No Carbon Disclosures But Growing Environmental Awareness
Amazon: Rebuffs Stakeholder Requests For Carbon Disclosure
Apple: Comprehensive Disclosure Without Public Reduction Targets
Baidu: No Carbon Reporting Suggests An Absence Of Strategy
eBay: Best Practice For Carbon Disclosures, Struggles To Cut Emissions
Expedia: Lack Of Engagement With The Carbon Agenda
Facebook: Private Company Currently Avoids Carbon Scrutiny
IBM: Focus On Energy Efficiency And Renewables But No Scope 3 Targets
Google: Innovative Energy Strategy And Opaque GHG Communication
Netflix: Internet Innovator Ignores Carbon Management Challenge
Priceline: Online Travel Agency Avoids Carbon Disclosures & Targets
Salesforce: Getting Smarter About Sustainability Communications
Tencent: Complete Lack Of Carbon Disclosure, Targets And Strategy
Yahoo!: Exacting Carbon Intensity Goals But Limited Disclosure     

TABLE OF FIGURES

Figure 1. Carbon Emissions’ Disclosures And Targets For 14 Internet Firms
Figure 2.
Carbon Emissions’ Targets And Energy Strategy For 14 Internet Firms
Figure 3.
Detailed Analysis Of Akamai’s Carbon Targets And Disclosures
Figure 4.
Detailed Analysis Of Alibaba’s Carbon Targets And Disclosures
Figure 5.
Detailed Analysis Of Amazon’s Carbon Targets And Disclosures
Figure 6.
Detailed Analysis Of Apple’s Carbon Targets And Disclosure
Figure 7.
Detailed Analysis Of Baidu’s Carbon Targets And Disclosures
Figure 8.
Detailed Analysis Of eBay’s Carbon Targets And Disclosures
Figure 9.
Detailed Analysis Of Expedia’s Carbon Targets And Disclosures
Figure 10.
Detailed Analysis Of Facebook’s Carbon Targets And Disclosures
Figure 11.
Detailed Analysis Of Google’s Carbon Targets And Disclosures
Figure 12.
Detailed Analysis Of Netflix’s Carbon Targets And Disclosures
Figure 13.
Detailed Analysis Of Priceline’s Carbon Targets And Disclosures
Figure 14. Detailed Analysis Of Salesforce’s Carbon Targets And Disclosures
Figure 15. Detailed Analysis Of Tencent’s Carbon Targets And Disclosures
Figure 16. Detailed Analysis Of Yahoo!’s Carbon Targets And Disclosures

ORGANIZATIONS MENTIONED

Akamai, Alibaba, Alipay, Amazon, AMD, Apple, AT&T, Baidu, Bank Of China, Berkshire Hathaway, Calvert Asset Management, CarbonSystems, Carbon Disclosure Project, China Entrepreneurs Club, China Mobile, Cisco, Daonong Centre For Enterprise, Dell, Digital Realty Trust, DuPont Fabros Technology, eBay, EnerNOC, Environmental Resources Trust, ENXSuite, Equinix, Expedia, Facebook, Fraunhofer Institute, Global Switch Amsterdam, Gmarket, Google, Google Energy LLC, Greenpeace, Hang Seng Index, HP, IBM, ICF International, Intel, Level 3 Communications, Microsoft, Netflix, New York Power Authority, Nintendo, NTT, Oxfam, PayPal, Priceline, Puma, Rosneft, Salesforce, SAP, Savvis, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Sony, SynTao, Taobao, Tencent, TerraPass, Tetra Tech, The Green Grid, World Wildlife Fund, Yahoo!