Green companies

The European Environment Agency says that each person travelling on trains with up to 150 passengers emits 14 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2). An airplane with capacity for 88 passengers results in each user generating 285 grams.

More data: Personal road vehicles account for more than 75% of CO2 emissions from transport, and are one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gases worldwide. And, according to a study by EY Parthenon and, hotels and tourist accommodations emit 264 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year, which is equivalent to 10% of the annual emissions of the tourism sector.

Green companies

With these references and some more, Google has set to work with the intention of outperforming institutions and businesses in efforts to slow down climate change.

Emissions, efficiency and green transport. They are the three premises under which Google works on its intention to be a green company in record time.

Greenwashing, business opportunity or commitment? We explain the novelties of the most popular search engine.

Google and users concerned about the environment

The alarm about the consequences of climate change is growing steadily. There are droughts, rising temperatures, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and even increased deaths in large cities due to increased pollution.

This concern is leading to changes in our consumption habits or in the way we travel and use transport, among others. And Google knows that.

So the search engine is incorporating features so that its users can make more sustainable choices. Here are the new services:

  • The greener route: it´s implemented in the United States and the availability forecast in Europe is from 2022. Google Maps indicates by default the least polluting route provided that the estimated arrival time is similar to the fastest route. They point out that this is the equivalent of the impact of removing more than 200.00 cars from the road. Of course, Google continues to give the option to those who just want to get there fast, regardless of consumption and emissions. The traveler can choose between the different routes.
  • The cleaner flight: Google Flights is a service dedicated to finding the lowest cost flights. But, best price at what cost? The app shows the carbon emissions of almost all flights in the results, along with the price and duration of the same. It’s up to the user to opt for a cleaner route, because Google doesn’t rule out all the possibilities. Once you know the CO2 footprint you are going to leave with your flight, you can also complete your commitment with options for voluntary access to biofuel such as the one proposed by Avikor on its own platform.
  • Authoritative opinion searches: when searching Google Search for climate change, results from authoritative sources, such as the United Nations, are shown as preferred.
  • Sustainable shopping: it may seem incoherent, consuming and being sustainable, but there are thousands of options that we need in our daily lives and with which we can opt for a responsible purchase. Google makes it possible for users to limit their search in the ‘Shopping’ tab for more efficient and environmentally friendly options when searching for energy-intensive products.
  • Sustainability certified accommodation: when looking for accommodation, in addition to the classic information such as number of stars, swimming pool, breakfast included… , Google provides information on their sustainability status (water use and conservation, waste reduction, carbon-free energy, locally sourced food and beverages, organic eggs, organic food, responsible seafood…). The search engine shows the certifications of each establishment such as Green Key, Leed, Green Seal, Green Globe, Green Growth 2050 or EarthCheck.

In addition to this, Google points to another development that conflicts with leaving a private company in control of traffic and roads: regulating traffic lights. The giant indicates that it can therefore ensure lower traffic and, consequently, fuel savings. This is a pilot test using artificial intelligence. The study, conducted in Israel, states that a reduction of up to 20 per cent has been observed in travel times and therefore in cars fuel consumption.

Sustainability is no longer a fashion

On Google’s blog they point out that “more and more people want to travel in a more sustainable way and look for ecological services, so we have recently started to facilitate the search for planet-friendly options“. A survey finds that «83% of global travelers think sustainable travel and flights are vital, and 61% say the pandemic has made them want to travel more sustainably in the future».

The responsibility lies with the users, the real activists. And companies need to act on this sense, to make it easier for people to deliver on their commitment.