I posted earlier about an Australian website hosting company going carbon neutral. I just read that Yahoo intends to do so as well this year.
That’s one thing I love about various online companies; that they think in ways so different from older companies. Yahoo has been working on being environmentally conscious for a long time. Just take a look at some of the things they have done already:
Our commute alternatives program has been recognized annually by the EPA since 2001 for incentives like Wi-Fi enabled biodiesel shuttles, bike lockers, carpool matching, and sizeable public transit subsidies. Our recycling program keeps about 180,000 pounds of materials out of landfills each year. We use renewable power, hydroelectric energy, and passive cooling at our various facilities and data centers. And green-minded Yahoos have launched sustainability-focused products like the Yahoo! Autos Green Center and 18Seconds.org to show people how they can make a difference in their own lives.
These kinds of things really are encouraging. Not everything is going to have the exact benefit we would like right away, but there’s some highly encouraging progress in a lot of areas.
It’s probably harder for companies to make changes in old habits than it is for individuals. After all, companies need to show a benefit, especially if they have shareholders, and environmental benefits generally don’t cut it. People want to see profits.
There are the PR benefits too, but once again these mean little if it doesn’t have a positive impact on the bottom line.
The whole carbon offset thing does have its challengers, and it may or may not be sufficient to do what people hope it is doing. But combined with everything else Yahoo is doing, it’s worth noting.