As the world navigates the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are focusing not only on their business strategy, but also on their approach to key environmental and social issues. One of several areas we are focusing on now is our commitment to sustainable business practices and reporting. Today, we are taking another important step toward increased transparency with our inaugural Sustainability Report.
Two years ago, we announced our commitment to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent and support our global operations with 100 percent renewable energy by the end of 2020. We’re excited to share in this report highlights of the significant progress we’ve made. While we already share much of our environmental data publicly, our goal with this report is to make our progress even more accessible and provide clear information on the work we’re doing to reach our sustainability goals. The report offers a closer look at the sustainability progress we made in 2019, as well as our ongoing commitment to address climate change.
We are on track to achieve our goals later this year. In 2019 alone, we achieved a 59 percent reduction in our operational greenhouse gas emissions over 2017 levels, and we reached 86 percent renewable energy. We were also recognized as the No. 1 corporate buyer of renewable energy in the United States by the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance — and No. 2 in the world by Bloomberg NEF. Additionally, we committed to our first direct investment in a renewable energy project with the 300 MW Prospero Solar Project in Texas.
We’ve also accelerated our support in local communities, including investing in water restoration projects that will replenish 206,000 cubic meters (55 million gallons) of water per year and financing projects that strengthened the renewable energy market. For example, in New Mexico, the projects we have partnered on have collectively restored miles of stream, 17 acres of off-channel floodplain wetland habitat, and helped with the protection of a number of endangered species, including the Rio Grande silvery minnow, the southwestern willow flycatcher, and the Rio Grande cutthroat trout.
We contribute to local communities by adding renewable energy capacity to the same electricity grids as the data centers they support. In certain regions, our operations also contribute to the region’s efforts to address environmental challenges.
For example, our data center in Odense, Denmark, includes infrastructure to capture and deliver heat generated by our servers to the district heating system, operated by a local district heating company. The project is currently ramping up to provide 100,000 MWh of energy per year — enough to warm 6,900 homes in the neighboring community. Our project is helping the city accelerate its efforts to phase out the use of coal by summer 2022, ahead of the initial goal of 2030. Beyond these efforts to support our global facilities with renewable energy, we strive to increase access to renewable energy resources for other companies and organizations through green tariffs, added infrastructure, or access to a specific project.
We believe that climate change is an urgent issue facing the world today, and we are committed to doing our part to address this challenge. Earlier this year, we partnered with various global organizations to develop our Climate Conversation Map, which provides new information to help others advance climate action, including important data and insights into how conversations on the topic ebb and flow throughout the world and over time. In addition, we partnered with organizations like We Are Still In, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Stockholm International Water Institute to advance sustainable practices and bolster climate action.
We are working to minimize the impact of our energy, emissions, and water usage; protect workers and the environment in our supply chain; and partner with others to develop and share solutions for a more sustainable world. But we recognize there is more to be done and intend to continue to expand our reporting to drive further transparency. To learn more about our efforts, read the full report: Sustainability Report.
Director of Global Sustainability
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