Friday, April 27, 2012

Going arbor neutral

Happy Arbor Day!

Just about every company has a few printers scattered around the office - some more than others. Over time, all those pages add up - the typical American office worker prints about 10,000 pages a year. At Google we’ve taken steps to reduce the amount of paper our employees use. We work collaboratively, using tools like Google Docs and Spreadsheets, rather than printing and circulating documents. We also like to nudge Googlers toward changing their behavior, so we space our printers far enough apart that some will think twice about printing before they have to schlep down the hall. Finally, we automatically set all printers to print double-sided, reducing the amount of paper we use when we do print. Our calculations show that, on average, Googlers print less than half the amount of paper a typical office worker prints.

 We’ve been carbon neutral since 2007, so we already account for the electricity used by our printers. Now we’re taking the next step - this Arbor Day, we’re going “arbor neutral.” That means that for every tree that is cut down for Google’s printing needs, we’ll replant it...twice.

Google will be making a donation on a rolling basis to the Arbor Day Foundation to plant trees in our nation’s forests. For the launch of this effort, our donations have already planted 2,390 trees in Pike National Forest in Colorado, which was devastated by a fire in 2002. The Hayman Fire burned approximately 137,000 acres – the largest fire in Colorado’s history – and within the critical South Platte watershed. In moderate and high intensity burn areas, 100% of the trees were lost – and, along with them, future seed sources for natural regeneration. The work being done is important; wildlife is beginning to return to the area and newly planted trees are now covering a landscape once barren and charred. We look forward to seeing the continued improvement in Pike National Forest and other future donation sites, and encourage other companies to join us in going arbor neutral.

Posted by Jaclyn Held, Operations Manager

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