It’s that time of year again – as graduates across the country dot i’s and cross t’s on their final exams, we at eBay are doing the same on our annual carbon and energy inventory and report through our partners at the Carbon Disclosure Project. It’s been another year of exciting change and progress at eBay Inc, with a handful of new companies joining the portfolio, industry-leading developments and announcements from our data center team and new innovations and investments in our global energy portfolio.
All that change and growth presents challenges as we work to reduce eBay’s overall contribution to global climate change. Energy consumption rose nearly 20% over 2011, which translates into 276,000 metric tons of carbon emissions, a 24% increase. To put that perspective, that’s equivalent to powering 57,600 US homes for a year. Much of that increase comes from simply using more energy to power our operations, but a 20% increase in business travel – which is actually a relatively small number given that we increased our full-time employee count by 41% – was also a big contributor.
One bright spot is that while emissions jumped 24%, our overall “carbon intensity” per employee decreased nearly 12%. That means our business is becoming more efficient. However, we need to do more to reverse the growth trend, and in 2012 we did some important work to make that happen. Our Workplace Resources team continues to roll out more video conference rooms, employee shuttles and other commute programs, as well as construct and operate more efficient buildings. And through our new Digital Service Efficiency metric, we’re already seeing opportunities to tune our data center and drive down the energy and carbon required to shop on eBay.com. As we bring our new Bloom Energy Servers and other renewable investments on-line in the coming months and years, we expect our overall “carbon intensity” to continue to drop. And we aren’t stopping there – stay tuned!