3 Ways We Cared for the Planet This Earth Month
Each April, people, businesses, and governments around the world come together to celebrate Earth Month. While at Gen we work to advance our environmental stewardship year-round, Earth Month is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to protecting the planet and advocate for positive change around pressing environmental challenges.
Here are three ways Gen advances environmental progress through our business:
1. Engaging our employees
Empowering our employees to lead more sustainable lives is critical for our own sustainability success. Gen maintains an employee resource group (ERG) called Terra to engage our employees on environmental action. Terra is committed to protecting the planet by taking small actions every day — as we believe that, together, our individual acts can help save forests, conserve water, reduce air pollution, and tackle climate change.
Terra has grown to more than 60 members, who are interested in and passionate about the environment. The ERG has arranged educational events such as upcycling and growing your own food. To celebrate Earth Month, we’ve partnered with Girl Up and Anthesis to host a panel on climate activism, justice, and equality. Employees also have an opportunity to participate in themed Earth Month Missions and challenges on our Giving Hub each week!
Last Earth Month, we announced the Sustainable Home Improvement Program, which provides our employees with up to $500 per year to make sustainability improvements in their own homes. To-date, 780 employees participated in the program, completing sustainability improvements such as installing solar panels, rainwater harvesting systems, composting systems, upgrading to energy efficient home appliances, and more. With many of our employees working remotely, helping them to improve their home sustainability helps Gen lower our own Scope 3 emissions — our GHG emissions from upstream and downstream activities of the company.
2. Partnering with NGOs
Gen recognizes that we can do more for the planet by working with others. That’s why we partner with NGOs to amplify positive environmental impact, such as increasing access to renewable energy.
One way Gen does this is through our partnership with GRID Alternatives National Tribal Program. GRID is a leading nonprofit helping low-income communities get clean, affordable, renewable energy, transportation, and jobs.
Since our partnership launched in April 2022, GRID has worked with 20 tribes in California, Colorado, Washington, and New Mexico to complete over 155 renewable energy projects. Some of the key results of our funding include:
Installing 720 kilowatts of solar power and 38 backup storage batteries that will prevent an estimated 13,000 tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the lifetime of the systems.
Benefiting 380 Tribal families from the completed projects.
Generating $4 million in financial savings for Tribal leadership over the system's lifetime.
Engaging 57 trainees to gain 2,700 hours of hands-on experience installing these projects, which exceeded our goal of 50 individuals.
Gen also supports international efforts to increase renewable energy. Our three-year partnership with Barefoot College International (BCI) supports their women-centered global network, dedicated to sustainable development in impoverished communities. BCI operates across more than 90 countries, and Gen’s financial support enables the organization’s Solar Mama initiative, which provides solar engineering and education programs.
3. Improving energy and operational efficiency
With 98% of our products offered digitally, emissions from data centers are a top priority for improving our environmental performance.
To address data center emissions, we decommissioned our Tucson data center and moved operations to more efficient co-located data centers that rely on less carbon intensive electricity grids. This contributed to our 39% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions between FY21 and FY22. We continue to look for ways to minimize our energy and operational footprint.
Earth Month is a time for all of us to pause and reflect on all that we’ve achieved — and the work yet to be done — to build a better and more sustainable world. For ideas on how to take action this month, visit https://www.earthday.org/take-action-now.