The Digital Stars have a very significant climate impact, relasing as much greenhouse gases to the atmosphere as some european countries. Their combined 2019 CO2e emissions were equivalent to 4,5% of the total European Union’s emissions.
Even though nine out of ten Digital Stars decreased their CO2e emissions from 2019 to 2020, their combined emissions grew by 3% due to Amazon’s emission increase, which has accounts for more than halve of the Digital Stars combined emissions. Previous years were not included in the analysis as some companies did not disclose their emissions or calculate them using a different methodology.
The individual companies’ carbon footprint decrease is not seen across other resources, with only one out of the ten Digital Stars reporting a decrease in its water withdrawal – Oracle. However, Microsoft and Meta are decrasing their net water impact due to to investments in water replenishment projects. The same applies to waste handling with only ine company improving its wasteland diversion rate - Adobe.
The main sources of the Digital Stars’ operational environmental impact are their data centers. The significant amount of energy consumed often does not come exclusively from renewable sources, contributing to the companies’ total emissions. The data centers also need a substantial amount of water to cool off the servers and they generate electronic waste from retired servers.
Even though there is not much improvement when analysing the Digital Stars as a whole, individually, some companies achieved relevant environmental milestones. 60% have achieved two relevant milestones which walk hand in hand since one contributes directly to achieve the other: powering its global operations with 100% renewable energy and achieving carbon neutrality across its operations.