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Sustainability

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

This page is a portal to information about the environmental sustainability status and efforts at the Wikimedia Foundation, including the Wikimedia projects, with additional information about the communities that participate in the projects.

Sustainability at the Wikimedia Foundation[edit]

Since 2019, the Wikimedia Foundation has been committed to conducting an annual greenhouse gas inventory, to assess the impacts of its data center sites, business travel program, and employees’ day to day working environments (e.g., the San Francisco, USA office, commuting, and remote employees’ estimated home energy use). Our inventory is developed according to the WRI/WBCSD Greenhouse Gas Protocol and includes our scope 1, scope 2, and all of our relevant scope 3 emissions, as defined below:

  • Scope 1:  Direct greenhouse gas emissions that occur from sources controlled or owned by the Wikimedia Foundation. This includes natural gas and refrigerant consumption at our San Francisco office.
  • Scope 2:  Indirect emissions associated with the purchase of electricity, steam, heat, or cooling. This includes electricity and steam used at the San Francisco office.
  • Scope 3: Indirect emissions resulting from activities from assets not owned or controlled by the Wikimedia Foundation, but that we indirectly impact through our operations. Scope 3 emissions include all sources not within our scope 1 and 2 boundary. These include water usage and waste (landfill, recycling, compost) at the San Francisco office; electricity used by our data center vendors across the globe; WMF-sponsored staff and volunteer business travel; commuting; and as of 2022, energy related to remote work.

Recent improvements in reporting[edit]

As part of our commitment to sustainability, we are continually looking for ways to better capture our environmental impact and to improve the accuracy of our reporting. Notable changes since 2019 include:

  • Updating our data center emissions methodology in 2021 to reflect the emission factors of the grids where our data centers operate rather than the procurement decisions of our vendors (i.e., PPAs, RECs).
  • Expanding our scope 3 emissions in 2022 to include remote work impacts (e.g., remote employees’ estimated home energy use and their commutes to alternative workspaces).
  • Looking Ahead: Our scope 3 emissions for CY 2024 will be expanded to include the travel emissions associated with our conference grants portfolio. Previously, we were only able to include travel emissions of the WMF staff who traveled to these events, but as the Foundation's Travel Team is taking a more active role in booking travel/accommodation for scholarship attendees, we will have access to more data.

Emissions Data[edit]

Emissions (mtCO₂e) 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Scope 1 2.81 2.18 0.47 0.47 0.63 0.66
Scope 2 details not available 86.44 57.23 15.73 16.26 18.97
Scope 3 details not available 2,344.72 1,111.74 1,074.18 2,914.35 3,926.38
Total Emissions 2,867.86 2,433.34 1,169.44 1,090.38 2,931.24 3,946.01

For a more detailed look at our emissions, methodology, and source data over time, please see our reports.

Intensity Metrics[edit]

Functional Area 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
Climate Content* Pageviews not available not available not available 324M 346M 340M
Articles not available not available not available 26,000 30,853 35,318
Office Emissions tCO₂e office related (facility/operation activities) 1.70 per SF-based staff 1.62 per SF-based staff 0.77 per SF-based staff (see note 2) n/a due to limited use of San Francisco Offsite
Travel Emissions tCO₂e of travel/attendee - for internal convenings 3.21 1.07 0.95 n/a - covid n/a replaced by travel emissions/staff member
tCO₂e of travel/attendee - community convenings not available 0.68 1.02 n/a - covid n/a replaced by travel emissions/staff member
tCO₂e of travel emissions/staff member not available 3.88 n/a - covid 1.82 3.29
Data Centers Emissions kgCO₂e / 1M pageviews** 5.63 3.05 2.29 4.05 4.18 4.60
kWh / 1M pageviews** 13.55 12.41 11.26 11.86 13.54 14.37

*Climate Change Pageviews were calculated on all articles in English Wikipedia belonging to WikiProject Climate change and their corresponding articles in all other language-versions of Wikipedia via its Wikidata item. This includes pageviews from all redirect-pages of an article.

**on all Wikimedia projects, including Wikipedia

  • Note 1: During the COVID-19 global pandemic, selected data for the carbon footprint was unavailable and estimates for 2019were used instead. Subsequently, actual data was obtained and the results were restated in the report covering calendar year 2020 - for both office and data centers
    • In addition, in 2020 the CyrusOne data center provided additional information about its energy and water use for 2019 and 2018. These numbers have been restated accordingly in the report covering calendar year 2020.

Reports[edit]

Data for 2023 coming soon.

Wikimedia Foundation sustainability timeline: reports, resolutions and more[edit]

2024

  • Blog: Another Year in Review: Where is Wikimedia in the Climate Crisis? [coming soon]
  • Environmental Sustainability Metrics for 2023 [coming soon]

2023[edit]

2022[edit]

2021[edit]

2020[edit]

2019[edit]

2018[edit]

2017[edit]

Wikimedia Foundation Data Center Supplementary information[edit]

This data was collected by Strategic Sustainability Consulting during 2020 and 2021 for the Foundation's annual carbon footprint report research.

Words from Wikimedia affiliates[edit]

See Wikimedia Affiliates Environmental Sustainability Covenant.

Facts from Wikimedia affiliates[edit]

Direct energy usage[edit]

In 2016, Wikimedia Italia was the first known Wikimedia entity to switch to 100 % renewable electricity usage for its office. See Wikimedia offices for more information.

Carbon divestment[edit]

In 2018, Wikimedia Italia was the known first Wikimedia entity to adopt a sustainable financial investment policy. Implementation started in 2019 and was reversed by a new board in January 2021 (information not yet official pending up to date financial reports).

Scope 3 emissions[edit]

Little information is available on scope 3 emissions caused by chapter activities.

Chapter meetings are often arranged to maximise the usage of public transportation, but some geographies are more challenging than others. Local work, such as photo documentation of remote places, may necessarily entail some level of fossil-powered travel.

Value-driven tooling can improve sustainability even while keeping activities largely the same. Some Wikimedia entities give priority to efficient free software and reused hardware to decrease power usage from the participants' devices.

Other agenda 2030 work[edit]

In 2017, Wikimedia Italia started its work with Asvis on Sustainable Development Goals with a focus on goal 17 through the increase of open data.

See also[edit]

Community-led efforts[edit]

Foundation-led efforts[edit]