What Does It Mean To Be ‘Water Positive’?

24 03 2023

Submitted photo

By Nicole Loher from Meta • Reposted: March 24, 2023

When it comes to water scarcity, the numbers are global, but the impact is hyperlocal.

Community by community, neighbor by neighbor, the issue of water stress impacts humanity’s health and wellness as well as economic development. And yet, more than 1.7 billion people live in water basins that are being depleted by overuse and a 40% shortfall in freshwater resources is predicted by 2030. New water cannot be created, so we must be efficient with the water we use, and return what we take — particularly in highly stressed water basins. Water stewardship means taking care of the communities and ecosystems that share water resources.

In 2021, Meta announced an ambitious goal to be water positive by 2030 and in 2022, joined the Water Resilience Coalition of the UN CEO Water Mandate, a cross-sector initiative to raise the ambition of corporate water stewardship and foster collective impact in priority basins.

“Meta is honored to be a member of the Water Resilience Coalition alongside leading organizations and businesses committed to taking action on water. We’re committed to becoming water positive by 2030 by sourcing water responsibly, driving water efficiency across our facilities and operations, and investing in local water restoration projects where our facilities are located. Through the Water Resilience Coalition, we can work together to collectively protect this shared and precious resource.”


Striving for Water Positive and Water Stewardship

For Meta, being water positive is about using water efficiently in our operations and returning more water than we consume in water-stressed basins through projects that address local needs and context. We seek to be good water stewards in water basins where we have operations through water efficiency measures and by taking into account the local context and needs of the shared basin.

Water stewardship aims to make sure local access and use of water is culturally equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically beneficial. It requires understanding the ecological and geographical context of local water use — along with issues of governance, balance, quality, sanitation and hygiene — and calls for meaningful individual and collective action.

We are listening to that call. Good water stewardship is intrinsically linked to our other sustainability priorities, which affect how we operate, how we create and how we collaborate. As climate change continues to impact water scarcity on a global scale, good water stewardship will remain a critical collective concern, especially for those living in low-income and disadvantaged communities that face increased climatological risks. 

The road to water positive begins, of course, with saving as much water as possible in the first place. From there, Meta prioritizes the basins where we operate that face water stress and collaborates with partners to preserve and restore the health and resilience of local watersheds, based on local need, even as our need for water grows.

Minimizing Water Use in Our Data Centers

Around the world, our 21 data centers power our family of apps and services 24/7. Maybe it’s no surprise then, that they account for most of Meta’s water use as well.

Since 2012, we’ve tracked and reported water usage effectiveness at our data centers as a first step to good water stewardship, but we’re constantly seeking innovative ways to minimize our water use as well — like using direct evaporative cooling, which relies on outside air rather than chilled water and cooling towers, to keep internal temperatures down.

Additionally, we’re proactively choosing plant species, efficient irrigation, alternative water sources, Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified new wood products and smart scheduling technologies that together save more than 80,000 kilogallons of water per year at our data centers.

Restoring Local Watersheds

Our restoration efforts not only play a critical role in advancing our water stewardship goals, but promote biodiversity in neighboring communities too. Working with local organizations and utilities, we are investing in restoration projects in water-stressed regions that support the local water supply and help restore local habitats and wildlife.

Since 2017, we have invested in 25 water restoration projects in seven watersheds where we operate data centers. One of the most impactful has been in the Rio Grande basin in New Mexico, which faces water stress and drought. In partnership with the Middle Rio Grande Flow Restoration Project, the 2020 program leased 450 acre-feet of water from the City of Bernalillo, NM, to support wetland and channel areas in the Isleta Reach of the Rio Grande. The water was commingled with volumes acquired through other leases to help keep 35 river miles flowing to support the wetlands and water channels on which the area’s birds, fish and wildlife depend.

Water restoration will remain a high priority for us going forward. As of August 2021, we have invested in water restoration projects that will replenish more than 850 million gallons of water per year in water-stressed basins. You can read more about our ongoing efforts in our Volumetric Water Benefits report.

Increasing Water Efficiency in our Workplaces

With nearly 72,000 employees in our offices across 80 cities, our facilities teams work hard to track our water withdrawal. Many offices, including our headquarters in Menlo Park, CA, utilize on-site recycled water systems to reclaim water from a variety of sources. And across all facilities, we’ve reduced our water needs by installing efficient plumbing fixtures and planting low-water-use plants.

It’s a lot but we still have a long way to go to meet our goal of water positive by 2030. By combining transparency with collaboration and collective action to address local needs, we aim to be good water stewards for our local communities and our planet, ensuring a sustainable future for all.

Curious about what else we’re doing to be water positive? Check out our 2021 Sustainability Report.

To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/769541-what-does-it-mean-be-water-positive


Net Zero Goals: Moving from Why to How to Now

4 02 2023

Image credits: Nicholas Doherty/Unsplash and Meta

By Edward Palmieri via triple pundit.com Reposted: February 4, 2023

In 2020, Meta achieved net zero greenhouse gas emissions for our global operations and today, we are supported by 100 percent renewable energy. These are good first steps, but we have so, so much work still to do to become a fully sustainable company.

That was my thought as I arrived in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, for the 27th annual U.N. climate conference, or COP27. Held in November 2022 and dubbed the Climate Implementation Summit, the event gathered leaders from the public, nonprofit and private sectors — the global sustainability community — to debate, celebrate and negotiate global climate action.

Going in, “implement” was the word top of mind as leaders were expected to follow up on ambitious goals set the year before in Glasgow, Scotland. By day eight, however, the word on my mind was “mired.” As in: Are we, collectively, moving fast enough?

This year’s event had its high points — President Joe Biden’s address to world leaders, in which he affirmed the United States’ commitment to a low-carbon future, was certainly one. But COP27 missed the mark in some key ways, such as creating financing for developing countriesstruggling under the financial burden of climate change and creating mechanisms to help more countries reduce emissions. It is also clear we can all do more to measure and report on yearly progress.

executives discuss net zero at cop27
Edward Palmieri, director of global sustainability at Meta, speaks on a panel with other business leaders at COP27.  Submitted Photo.

At Meta, we believe the private sector has a critical role to play in our global ambitions to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change. During a challenging period for the company, focusing on the “true north” of measurable climate action and building climate resilience remains essential to our future and our bottom line.

Year-over-year, our net zero goal remains fixed even as we grow — both in terms of our users today and our plans for the metaverse tomorrow. And along with our net zero ambition, we are progressing related goals, including our aim to restore more water than we consume in our global operations.

Bringing all of this back to COP27, it’s clear that we can’t do it alone. No one can and, in fact, this is one of my favorite things about working in sustainability: collaboration. As we embark on a new year, Meta remains committed to collaborating with those committed to climate change and continues to expand our network of global partners. Most recently, we’ve:

  • Helped launch the Asian Clean Energy Coalition to advance renewable energy procurement in Asia with the World Resources Institute and other technology companies.
  • Joined with the U.S. State Department, USAID, and other companies in PREPARE Call to Action to the Private Sector on Adaptation.
  • Announced a new partnership with Stripe, Alphabet, Shopify and McKinsey Sustainability to launch Frontier, an advanced market commitment to help scale emerging carbon removal technologies that are crucial to tackling climate change.
  • Embraced an Emissions First accounting framework that moves beyond the current approach of megawatt-hour matching and focuses on emissions impact.
  • And during COP27 itself, were honored to support The Resilience Hub, an inclusively-built virtual and physical space that served as the home to the Race to Resilience campaign. Representing more than 1,500 non-state actors taking action on resilience around the world, the hub hosted more than 60 sessions each with incredible speakers offering their expertise and perspectives as well as live performances, art and culture.

Importantly, too, Meta is supporting and amplifying changemakers on the front lines of the climate fight. After our largest-ever global survey about climate change this past spring painted a picture of deep concern among respondents, we’re already seeing meaningful change happen when communities come together. More than 40 million people around the world are part of at least one of the 24,000 Facebook Groups dedicated to the discovery, protection, and appreciation of the earth and our environment.

In the meantime, Meta Sustainability continues to report on its work across our enterprise. As the U.N. High-Level Expert Group report clearly states, integrity matters, which is why our net zero commitments are not only public but are relentlessly tracked and reported each year.

But as the U.N. report notes, a net zero pledge “must contain steppingstone targets for every five years” in line with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) or International Energy Agency (IEA) pathways as well as “prioritize urgent and deep reduction of emissions across their value chain.”

We agree. That’s why I look forward to sharing our own specific decarbonization plans in early 2023. And while I look forward to seeing my sustainability peers at COP28 next November as well, I encourage those in the private sector — companies big, small and every size in between— to join us in the climate fight.

Time is literally running out — and we need all of you, and all of your solutions, to make this work.

This article series is sponsored by Meta and produced by the TriplePundit editorial team.  To see the original post, follow this link: https://www.triplepundit.com/story/2023/accomplishing-net-zero-goals/765196