eBay Inc. Ranked in 100 Greenest Companies by Newsweek; Company to Cut Corporate Emissions by 15% by 2012

Richard Brewer-Hay

I was browsing through the magazines at the airport yesterday on my way to the Shop.org Annual Summit and I saw the above logo staring back at me from the front cover of Newsweek. It was the inaugural Newsweek Green Rankings in which they ranked the top 100 greenest companies in America. The stated goal in producing the rankings was to evaluate the 500 largest companies in America based on their environmental impact, as well as their green policies and reputation. Looking for a story, I immediately opened the magazine to see if eBay had made the list. eBay is indeed ranked at 76 out of the top 100 greenest companies in America.

Newsweek Green Rankings 2009 Logo

Newsweek cites the following under eBay’s Ranking:
Although the retail industry is not known for strong environmental management efforts, this online site is an exception. Has installed energy-efficient servers at data centers, invested in carbon offset projects and installed on-site solar installations resulting in carbon neutral operations for the past two years.

It’s a great achievement and one that I know the Green Team will be proud of. However, I know that the goal of everyone will be to move up the rankings by next year. Making the top 100 is a great accomplishment in itself but if you look at the Retail category, eBay is listed 11th behind such brands as Target, Wal-Mart and Best Buy but ahead of Amazon.com and Nordstrom.

eBay’s business model from the beginning has been inherently green, serving as the world’s largest online marketplace for used, vintage and repurposed goods, and in that respect, it has been farther ahead in the game than most. However, that doesn’t mean that the company couldn’t operate in a more sustainable way. Given yesterday’s related news, it’s something that we’re obviously continuing to be committed to…

eBay Inc. Commits to 15% Corporate Emissions Reduction Target by 2012
I have become good friends with a number of people that drive the Green efforts of our company and I know, to a person, that they’re not doing this for awards or rankings. Simply put, they want to make eBay a “greener” company every day. They have the full support of executive management too. Yesterday, eBay announced its first ever greenhouse gas emissions target through the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), an independent not-for-profit organization holding the largest database of corporate climate change information in the world. By 2012, eBay committed to reducing its corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 15% over a 2008 baseline.

“eBay continues to demonstrate our long-term commitment to responsible energy use and environmental leadership with our first greenhouse gas emissions reduction target,” said eBay Inc. President and CEO John Donahoe. “As a company whose business continues to grow year over year, we recognize that the goal is ambitious, but we’re confident that it is achievable.”

It is only achievable of course, if everyone buys into it. Any effort of this kind isn’t something that you turn on and off as days go by; this is a lifestyle change and a shift in a way of thinking. We’ve seen this happen already with the eBay Green Team – a group of more than 2,000 employees in 23 countries who are committed to making eBay a greener company (I became a member earlier this year). The Green Team has taken on projects of all sizes, all over the world, some of which I’ve covered here on Ink. And it’s just the beginning.

So congratulations to eBay on it’s Newsweek Green Ranking but, more importantly, thank you for focusing on the reasons the ranking exists to begin with. Committing to energy efficiency, “greening” eBay’s operations and investing in renewable energy are vital as we move forward and grow as a company.