Impacte mediambiental

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Welcome to the Sustainability Initiative!

The sustainability initiative aims at reducing the environmental impact of the Wikimedia projects. The reason for this is simple and can be found right in Wikipedia: Anthropogenic climate change is a reality and it is our shared responsibility to prevent it, while the Wikimedia projects have a significant carbon footprint, especially through power consumption and air travel.

The initiative currently focuses on three main goals:

  1. green energy for the Wikimedia servers
  2. remote participation at Wikimania and other Wikimedia events
  3. a sustainable investment strategy for the Wikimedia endowment

In 2017, the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation adopted a resolution as a result of this initiative, making a commitment to minimize the Foundation's overall environmental impact, especially around servers, operations, travel, offices, and other procurement and through using green energy.

Green energy for the Wikimedia servers

Barely passing: "D" score for Wikipedia in Greenpeace USA's 2015 "Click Clean Scorecard".[1]

Why is this important?

The servers hosting Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects have a significant carbon footprint: In 2018, only 6% of the 2.8 gigawatt hours powering the Wikimedia servers came from green sources, resulting in a carbon footprint of 1.2 kilotonnes.[2] The 2019 Wikimedia Foundation sustainability assessment states that "moving servers to renewable energy options is the single most impactful thing to reduce the organization's carbon footprint".[3] Also, as one of the world's most popular websites, Wikipedia could inspire other websites to choose carbon-free hosting as well,[4] while big names like Facebook[5] or Salesforce[6] have already switched to green hosting.

What needs to be done?

The Wikimedia Foundation should ask its data center providers to switch to green energy, or choose providers that offer green hosting.

Who is the responsible contact partner for this?

Lydia Hamilton, Director of Operations, Wikimedia Foundation

Only 6% of the electricity powering Wikipedia's servers comes from sustainable energy sources.

What is the current status?

Working Waiting In August 2017, the Wikimedia Foundation sent letters to its colocation providers CyrusOne and Equinix asking about information regarding the servers' energy sources. Equinix responded by pointing to its recent acquisition of a wind farm of Oklahoma – which does not help reach the goal since the Wikimedia servers are located in a different electricity grid in Virginia. CyrusOne has not responded to their letter. In 2019, the Wikimedia Foundation abandoned its 2018 plan to create a 'sustainability roadmap'[7] in favour of the creation of a 'sustainability framework'.[8]

Remote participation at Wikimania

Why is this important?

Arlanda International Airport, Stockholm, Sweden.

International travel makes up for a large share of Wikimedia's carbon footprint: WMF-funded flights and hotel stays caused the emission of 696 tonnes of CO2 in 2018.[9] Therefore, we need to look at ways to require fewer flights. Since it would be counterproductive to propose to discontinue Wikimania, we need to encourage remote participation at Wikimania and other Wikimedia events. The main channel for remote participation is offering video recordings.

What needs to be done?

The Wikimedia Foundation should offer video recordings for all sessions at Wikimania and other Wikimedia events.

Who is responsible for this?

Joël Letang, Events Team Manager, Wikimedia Foundation

What is the current status?

Working Waiting At Wikimania 2016 in Esino Lario, nearly every session was recorded on video. At Wikimania 2017 in Montréal and Wikimania 2018 in Cape Town, only a small share of the sessions was streamed online.

At Wikimania 2019 in Stockholm, some video recordings were created. Certificates were purchased for the estimated carbon footprint of the conference.[10]

A sustainable investment strategy for the Wikimedia Endowment

Why is this important?

By investing in sustainable industries, we are putting our money where our mouth is – the Wikimedia Endowment should not support carbon-intensive industries if we want to reduce our environmental impact.

What needs to be done?

The Wikimedia Foundation should adopt an investment strategy for the Wikimedia Endowment that accounts for the environmental impact of its investments.

Who is responsible for this?

Lisa Seitz-Gruwell, Chief Advancement Officer, Wikimedia Foundation

What is the current status?

Working Waiting The Wikimedia Endowment is currently invested at the Tides Foundation and the preliminary investment policy contains a very basic sustainability measure. In 2019, the Wikimedia Endowment will be moved out of the Tides Foundation and the Wikimedia Foundation is currently 'investigating' how to best reflect sustainability in the definitive investment policy. (The investment policy for the Wikimedia Foundation's own investments which was adopted in April 2018 states that long-term investments should be made in "companies with a superior sustainability profile, particularly relating to environmental factors", without further defining this objective.)

How you can help

Show your support!

Currently, over 500 community members support the Sustainability Initiative. Please add your name to the list of supporters to express your support!

There are also userboxes on Meta, English Wikipedia, German Wikipedia, French Wikipedia, and Italian Wikipedia.

Further reading

Sustainability Initiative slide deck from Wikimania 2017.
  • Resolution:Environmental Impact – a resolution passed by the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation as a result of this initiative, making a commitment to minimize the Foundation's overall environmental impact.
  • Wikimedia servers – for more information about the energy use of the Wikimedia servers.
  • Wikimedia offices – for more information about the energy use of the Wikimedia offices.

Notes

See also