Jump to content


Add topic
From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Latest comment: 1 year ago by EMorris (WMF) in topic Environmental Sustainability Report for 2022


This is a big milestone. --Gnom (talk) Let's make Wikipedia green! 14:26, 19 September 2019 (UTC)Reply

Indeed, thank you. It was not very nice to hijack the title which used to be a redirect, though. Nemo 16:46, 19 September 2019 (UTC)Reply
Thank you Gnom. --LHamilton (WMF) (talk) 19:49, 30 September 2019 (UTC)Reply

Real estate[edit]

Can you provide more information on the statement that "Green building features are already in place through property management"? Is it just referring to the "LEED Gold" certification mentioned in Wikimedia Foundation headquarters? That's not especially useful for an international audience: it would be more interesting to hear about exact figures such as kWh/m²-y. Nemo 16:46, 19 September 2019 (UTC)Reply

Yes Nemo, the green building features mentioned are in reference to the LEED Gold certification of the WMF headquarters. LEED is a certification program utilized internationally. The WMF-specific carbon footprint results are shown in the report starting on page 19. --LHamilton (WMF) (talk) 19:49, 30 September 2019 (UTC)Reply
Table with consumption by area
I assume you mean this sentence: «Post Montgomery Center – Total Building Consumption Information prorated for WMF % of total area» and the table on p. 30 which reports 15,541.17 kWh gas plus 238,695.34 kWh electricity for the Wikimedia Foundation headquarters, while pp. 27-28 provide some legend and square feet figures?
Thank you, but that still doesn't provide a clear figure understandable for an international audience. Writing clearly implies some effort to avoid USA-specific jargon.
Of course I can calculate myself that the provided information implies an energy consumption of 144 kWh/m²-year. I could mention that a standard like ClimateHouse gives its third best rating to buildings under 50 kWh/m²-year, but these figures are not directly comparable. So I reiterate the request that you provide appropriate calculations yourself.
It's not something I ask for my benefit: it's for WMF's benefit. WMF should have done its homework to have an understandable and comparable figure before placing highly questionable statements such as "Green building features are already in place" in its blog posts. Looking at the real numbers helps avoid embarrassments. Nemo 10:31, 3 October 2019 (UTC)Reply

Carbon offsetting[edit]

I’m curious if WMF has considered buying forest to offset some co2? 2.1 kilotons could be offset with Maybe 1-2000 acres of forest:

“A fifty-year-old forest on average absorbs .8 metric tons of carbon per acre per year. A 65 year old forest 1.6 metric tons per acre per year.”

Source: http://www.forestecologynetwork.org/climate_change/sequestration_facts.html

Victorgrigas (talk) 18:29, 19 September 2019 (UTC)Reply

Thank you for sharing this Victorgrigas. WMF is committed to exploring options which will lead to the reduction or offsetting of our carbon emissions. --LHamilton (WMF) (talk) 19:49, 30 September 2019 (UTC)Reply

Climate action[edit]

I find WikimediaFoundation.org participating in Global Climate Strike to be very hypocritical considering WMF has done nearly nothing so far to put its own house in order. How can you join a climate strike while holding 157,000 $ of the Wikimedia Endowment in ExxonMobil (1.1 % of 33 %)? We look ridiculous. I'm ashamed. Nemo 10:00, 20 September 2019 (UTC)Reply

Nemo, WMF has made incremental changes over the years to set the stage for sustainable change including:
  • Implementing board resolutions for environmental impact
  • Completing a publically-released Foundation-wide assessment to analyze our sustainability strengths/weaknesses
  • Identifying actionable steps which will position us for meaningful change
  • Internally aligning and dedicating staff resources to work on the effort --LHamilton (WMF) (talk) 19:49, 30 September 2019 (UTC)Reply
Yes, I know all of this. It still doesn't remove the anti-climate action in the meanwhile, most notably the investment in fossil industries. Nemo 10:04, 3 October 2019 (UTC)Reply
I see, the WMF has done a lot of analyzing and identifying since 2017. I mean, this kind of awareness is good, but time is running short on this issue. After all this time I still don't see any concrete plans for improvements, like selling holdings from businesses that are into fossil fuels or increasing the share of clean energy for Wikimedia servers. Some first steps or at least some announcements would be great. PassioEtDesiderium 21:59, 17 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

"The campaign is similar in operation to the Digital Climate Strike that the Foundation was engaged with in September 2019", so of course WMF must repeat the same mistakes identical, without having addressed the problems of the previous time. Will WMF ever learn to learn from its mistakes? Nemo 20:57, 26 April 2020 (UTC)Reply

This is... not helpful. Since last September, a lot has changed. –SJ talk  15:15, 27 April 2020 (UTC)Reply

Please publish the total number of executive flights per month[edit]

Let's be honest, the CEO is famous for her high consumption of aircraft travel.[1] Just changing the behaviour of the CEO would make a dramatic difference to the damage the WMF is doing today to the global climate.

Please make a start this year, now, by being transparent and open about how many aircraft flights the WMF management team are consuming per month. Without these verifiable numbers being published, there is no real commitment, just nice phrases like "we will consider", "we will seek", not "we will act".

Thanks -- (talk) 13:30, 20 September 2019 (UTC)Reply

, We will not be publishing the number of executive flights per month. The travel metrics shared in the assessment evaluated the entire Foundation and were not focused on specific individuals. Our commitment to transparency is evidential with our release of the assessment. --LHamilton (WMF) (talk) 19:49, 30 September 2019 (UTC)Reply
A couple of facts:
  1. No trend has been published. Metrics are meaningless without a trend.
  2. There has been no commitment to reduce international flights that the executive team are publicly known for. International flights are the most damaging single activity that WMF employees can do in terms of climate change.
  3. Summary estimates by consultants are neither verifiable measurements, nor a meaningful commitment to transparency.
I expected better, and still hope that the WMF management team might aim to do something less "political" when it comes to addressing the published WMF policies on being green.
Thanks for making a reply. -- (talk) 11:26, 1 October 2019 (UTC)Reply

Gnom's initial questions about the report[edit]

Over the weekend, I had a first look at the report and tried to update the Sustainability Initiative page with the new data. Elitre also asked me to prepare a summary for the Wikimedia Space blog. As a result, I would like to ask the following questions:
Gnom, answers to your questions are as follows: --LHamilton (WMF) (talk) 19:49, 30 September 2019 (UTC)Reply

  • On p. 72, how does the assessment define 'renewable energy' when talking about the electricity sources for the servers? In other words, does the definition include biofuels or not?
Yes, biofuels are included in the 'renewable energy' category. --LHamilton (WMF) (talk) 19:49, 30 September 2019 (UTC)Reply
  • On p. 74 et seq., how does the assessment interpret a server site such as 'esams' in Amsterdam that runs on a deregulated, mixed-source grid where the site operator has opted to only buy renewable energy? Is this server counted as '100% renewable' and why (not)?
Page 72 describes how the electricity emission factors were selected. Ideally, the best option is to receive actual invoices from each energy provider to calculate a site-specific emission factor. For this project, this wasn't the case. Also, as shown on page 28, "8 Data Centers were reported. eGrid emission factors were selected based upon publicly available data for each Data Center location. For Data Centers reporting 100% renewable grid-mixes – data was not available for their specific grid-mix. It may be that they’re actually purchasing RECs to offset their emissions. The server room at WMF headquarters is metered separately, data was provided for that meter by the chief building engineer of Post Montgomery." --LHamilton (WMF) (talk) 19:49, 30 September 2019 (UTC)Reply
  • Because the sustainability assessment document does not use the WMF letterhead, I'm wondering how 'official' its contents are: Reading the status reports for the 'environmental sustainability' programme in the 2018 annual plan, I have the impression that pp. 37-66 of the sustainability assessment constitute the Wikimedia Foundation's 'sustainability roadmap'. Is this understanding correct, meaning is this an 'official' WMF roadmap, or rather just a proposal for one? I think there's already been some confusion about this point among some French Wikipedians.
The assessment and subsequently released summary were commissioned specifically by WMF for the purposes of establishing a baseline of our environment impact and position us for future improvements. The assessment does not use the WMF letterhead as it was created by Sustainable Sustainability Consulting (SSC). Pp 37-66 reflect the recommendations that SSC proposed for the Foundation; the official roadmap has not yet been created. --LHamilton (WMF) (talk) 19:49, 30 September 2019 (UTC)Reply
  • Does the 2019 annual plan contain any language about sustainability? I am asking in part because of the 2017 board resolution and so that I can understand how work on this issue will continue.
The current 2019 annual plan does not contain language about sustainability. However, the following updates will be proposed in our upcoming quarterly foundation assessment to reflect the following actions we’ve committed to this fiscal year (FY19/20):
- Create a sustainability policy statement, definition, and context of what sustainability means.
- Develop a sustainability framework with roles and responsibilities, including operations, events, and technical infrastructure.
- Identify and track green key performance indicators. Create a reporting template and schedule for aggregating, validating and communication of results.--LHamilton (WMF) (talk) 19:49, 30 September 2019 (UTC)Reply

Thanks a lot! --Gnom (talk) Let's make Wikipedia green! 19:12, 22 September 2019 (UTC)Reply

I've made the mistake. I was too much concentrate on the data, and not enough on the title of the slide! P.46 is clear that it is still a recommendation. Pyb (talk) 13:23, 30 September 2019 (UTC)Reply
Pyb, can you please clarify if you have a question? We believe your response may have been to Gnom’s question regarding the official WMF roadmap. The official roadmap has not yet been created. --LHamilton (WMF) (talk) 19:49, 30 September 2019 (UTC)Reply

Suggestion 10: communication[edit]

"Internal (Google Docs, Slack, etc.)"

I understand that some suggestions are canned responses prepared for organisations with values which differ drastically from the Wikimedia movement's, but just to be clear: it's not appropriate to recommend proprietary software venues for communication, such as Google Docs and Slack. Only free software is an option. FLOSS-Exchange shows what solutions the Wikimedia entities are using. Nemo 12:11, 3 October 2019 (UTC)Reply

Focus on the mission[edit]

Wikipedia's positive impact on environmental issues far out weighs its carbon footprint. To begin with, one might quantify its impact on the market for paper encyclopedias and other reference works: fewer trees cut down, less paper making, printing and distribution impacts. But far more important is Wikipedia impact in providing a source of fact based information on climate and other environmental issues, where public debate (at least in the U.S.) has been poisoned by highly politicized positions on both sides (it's a socialist plot on the right, we're all gonna die on the left). Rather than spending WikiMedia's limited resources on projects that will have at best an infinitesimal impact on the world's environment, I suggest the foundation redouble its effort on Wikipedia's core mission which can have a significant net effect.

Specifically, there are a huge number of articles in en:Category:Renewable energy by country, and its subcategories, along with their non-English counterparts. Many of these articles were written with great enthusiasm years ago and filled with data on the then current situation in their locale (down to individual states in the U.S.), but may no longer reflect what is happening now. Finding ways to encourage regular updates of these articles would be far more useful than micro-analyzing Wikimedia's utility bills. Wikimedia might, for example, develop grants to encourage university programs in environmental science to adopt articles dealing with their geographic area, and update them whenever new statistics are published. Another possibility would be to work with Wikidata to develop standard templates for environmental data that could be transcluded in articles in different languages. I'm sure there are lots of other possibilities.

The potential impact of better coverage of environmental issues on Wikipedia would exceed the impact of marginal changes in Wikipedia's office practices by orders of magnitude.--ArnoldReinhold (talk) 17:48, 3 October 2019 (UTC)Reply

Organizational support for climate-related content[edit]

Climate related articles are very badly out of date.

Most of the serious, substantive content I'm now seeing added to climate related articles appears to come from WikiEd classes. (This is based on doing assessment, cleanup, and gnoming for WP Environment, Climate change, Soil, and Agriculture).

Editathons, while helpful, are not sufficient for generating more complex content that requires informed individuals.

WikiEd focus needed[edit]

A WikiEd focus on climate-related articles is the most likely way to ensure high quality, current content about climate.

Understanding climate impact requires a broad approach, that extends beyond the science and policy of climate/envronment/ecology. Agriculture and human migration are also important areas of coverage.

Recommendation for Wikipedians in Residence[edit]

  • 2 WIR focused on climate change/environment/ecology

Goal-- Work with WikiEd, scientific and policy organizations to update content, add citations. In addition to updating outdated information, we need survey articles for climate change / mitigation / adaptation at the country, state, and provincial levels.

  • 2 WIR focused on agriculture

Goal-- Work with WikiEd, agricultural, scientific and policy organizations to update content, add citations. Create overview articles of agriculture at the state and province level. Add articles for plant species and crops useful in carbon mitigation. Add information to livestock articles about carbon mitigation techniques. Partner with organizations working on soil health and conservation to improve these articles.

  • 2 WIR focused on displaced persons and humanitarian aid

Goal-- Work with WikiEd, NGO, government, and policy organizations to update content and add citations. Create and update overview articles for displaced persons in each country. Create and update articles to provide full coverage of all the world's refugee camps. Create and update articles about humanitarian aid efforts worldwide, and add this information to cities, towns, and provinces, especially in Africa.

Access to information resources[edit]

  • Partnerships with universities and information vendors are necessary in order to access the factual content in this area. This can be WikiEd, Wikipedia Library.
  • Editathons can provide some on-site access to institutional content, and enable editors to meet each other, but aren't a substitute for WikiEd and Wikipedia Library.
  • Significant journal articles and e-books are often behind paywalls. Scientific books on climate can be very expensive. High quality climate articles will not write themselves without institutional support.

Governmental and non-governmental organizations[edit]

In some areas, such as agriculture and sanitation, the only survey information available will be from government agencies, or from organizations like the World Bank and development agencies.

Working with these organizations to create content and encourage release of information into the public domain may be necessary.

Conclusion – GLAM a possible model[edit]

Just as Wiki is expanding into coordinated efforts in the GLAM content area, similar efforts will be needed to ensure quality content in climate-related content. The GLAM efforts may have some useful models for how to proceed with climate content.

Thank you for your consideration! Oliveleaf4 (talk) 15:34, 6 October 2019 (UTC)Reply

Hotel stays[edit]

Thanks for the Signpost article. I'm curious at the ratio between 26% air travel and 11% hotel stays. My understanding was that air travel, especially if any of it is long haul business class, is very very carbon intensive, hotels, usually not so much, so I'm surprised that the hotel proportion is that large in comparison. Especially as many of those hotel stays were presumably short... Is that 11% figure correct? Could it be reduced by choosing more eco friendly hotels/venues? Could we reduce the carbon footprint of Wikimania by comparing the carbon footprint of different location options? (Disclosure: I have been to several Wikimanias). WereSpielChequers (talk) 17:43, 7 October 2019 (UTC)Reply

Response to feedback shared on this page and Signpost[edit]

Hello All,
I’m making a specific point to tag everyone that has chimed in regarding the topic of Sustainability either on this talk page or the 2019-09-30 Signpost article. Gnom, Nemo, Victorgrigas, , Pyb, ArnoldReinhold, Oliveleaf4, WereSpielChequers, Maury Markowitz, Bri.public, Sophivorus,, Kudpung กุดผึ้ง, Carrite, agr, Clayoquot, ©Geni, Qwirkle

I get it. You may be frustrated, angry, irritated, disappointed, or generally just feeling let down by the Foundation as it relates to Sustainability (and you may feel the same way about other initiatives we either are/have/or will be working on...but I’ll stick to the topic at hand). There are commitments we’ve made in the past that we’ve dropped the ball on - including easily achievable ones like including sustainability in this fiscal year’s annual plan. Yes. That was a miss. And one that I will correct in our upcoming quarterly review of the Foundation.

You may also feel that the release of the Foundation’s sustainability assessment was a step in the right direction, but want to see more action. I cannot stress enough that the constructive feedback you’re sharing is not falling on deaf ears. So I want to plainly, and in “non-political speak”, address the points that have been shared.

To my understanding, never in the history of the Foundation have we directly assigned a department the responsibility of defining foundation-wide sustainability baselines and practices to reduce our CO2 emissions...until literally a month ago. (Again, yes, you may be thinking, “Really? That’s unacceptable!”...but bear with me.) That responsibility now sits squarely on the shoulders of our Operations department working in tandem with staff across other departments that are all deeply committed to sustainability.

Our team working on this is not a large one (in fact right now, we’re a team of two - myself and m:User:DTankersley (WMF)), and while we can’t make sweeping decisions to instantly resolve this issue, e.g. build a 100% green data center, or purchase enough credits to offset our entire CO2 output, or stop any staff member from flying ever again - we can commit to establishing a standard: “drawing a line in the sand” to define baselines, sharing more information when available and, making specific recommendations for the Foundation to take action on. Also, in the spirit of transparency, this is not our only job; both Deb and I have other responsibilities. Just like you, we have competing priorities day to day that we have to juggle. This means I’m setting the expectation up front - we won’t be able to 24x7 monitor this page and immediately respond to every single comment at a moment’s notice. But, we can take a snapshot of where we stand right now, and commit to providing responses by a specific date.

So as I read through the commentary, here is what I see that you are requesting us to do, all with the intent of reducing the Foundation’s CO2 output:

  • Provide exact output figures, for example kWh/m²-y to provide more information about our electricity use
  • Shift some of our endowment investments to holdings that do not have sustainable conflict
  • Publish the total number of executive flights per month
  • Ensure when we’re making software recommendations that we are also making best efforts to align with the Movement’s standard of utilizing free and open software
  • Encourage more contributions and grooming/editing of articles in the Renewable Energy category
  • Make a point to not avoid questions, and respond in a timely manner
  • Provide a calculation of how much net CO2 output is produced, or prevented, by the Foundation’s distributed staff model
  • Provide a trending report of our CO2 output on a regular basis
  • Publish an environmental impact statement in annual plans going forward
  • Offer remote presentations at Wikimania
  • Provide clarification on the travel metrics shared in the sustainability assessment

Here is our commitment to the Community: We will explore the requests that you have put forth and commit to following up with responses, and justification if needed, by December 13th. Why am I picking a date out that far into the future? Because one of the items we’re actively working through is bringing a sustainability consultant onboard to work through these items with the Foundation, and consultancies require both financial and legal sign-offs which are not overnight processes. Furthermore, we need time to collect information and assess what is actually possible to accomplish.

But, does all this mean that you will be happy, pleased, satisfied with every response we give you? Likely not. But as with any discourse and discussion, there are points that can be agreed upon, eg. we need to take swift action on sustainability. And there are points that can be debated upon, eg. what that swift action exactly looks like.

My last point is this - I understand that this is a hot button topic given the critical nature. But that does not, and will not ever, excuse rudely attacking Deb or myself. To suggest that we should personally feel embarrassed, ashamed, or are attempting to skirt the issue is misguided, ineffective, and unnecessary. We want to be in dialogue with you and do our absolute best to solve this problem; attacking us isn’t the way to go about it.

Again, I thank you for all of the constructive requests that you have put forth. And you will hear from us again on December 13th, at which time we’ll be able to resume practical conversation on the topic of the Foundation and Sustainability on this page.

Lydia --LHamilton (WMF) (talk) 17:07, 10 October 2019 (UTC)Reply

Thanks Lydia - a very sensible response, particularly given that some of the comments directed your way on the Signpost article were downright unacceptable. It'd be great to see what the WMF can do more of in this area.
One concrete area where there's probably a quick win in reducing emissions, albeit marginally, is probably in travel booking. My experience (admittedly, based on only one occasion) is that if you try to book public transport rather than use the WMF's travel agency is that you get offered reimbursement up to a $ amount benchmarked against the lower end of the flight cost range. This seems fair enough, but trains are often slightly more expensive than the cheapest flights (though less expensive when the costs of getting to and from airports is taken into account, which the process doesn't take account of). Maybe that process could be a bit more flexible to encourage more use of public transport? Chris Keating (The Land) (talk) 13:35, 11 October 2019 (UTC)Reply
  • Thank you for your response.
  • Would like to point out that "Flight shaming" is not something personal, it's a cultural strategy for climate action especially suitable for the UK and Europe; somewhat less so in thinly populated or remote areas.
  • Improving articles on "renewable energy" or not flying isn't enough.
  • The comprehensive response on climate is in Drawdown. It describes 100 types of solutions that are most effective, which include agriculture and empowering women and girls.
  • We need grant money and resources for the community to develop content related to the 100 solutions in Drawdown.
  • Creating high-quality content on climate using "Drawdown" as an initial guide requires a comprehensive organizational approach, as does high-quality content creation in the more general sustainability issues like circular economy, toxics, pollution prevention and remediation, agriculture, disarmament, refugee flows, and conflict resolution.
  • Grants for photo documentation of the environmental movement, and environmentally significant facilities, processes, and landscapes would be an additional way beyond WIR and GLAM-type partnerships to fill coverage gaps.
  • Two employees working part time could hire a consultant to make recommendations for a "green team" to improve sustainability in WMF operations, especially the servers. However, it will take more staff time and effort for comprehensive content improvement, and for full virtual access to meetings.
  • I hope you'll be getting the necessary support. Oliveleaf4 (talk) 12:09, 16 October 2019 (UTC)Reply

WMF Sustainability Impact Statement - December 13, 2019[edit]

Hello All,

Thank you for your patience as we work through our various Sustainability deliverables.

As part of these deliverables, we would like to share our Sustainability Impact Statement with you. This document will be updated annually and shares our:

  • Mission statement - Affirming our commitment to reducing the carbon impact of our activities on the environment
  • Framework - Ensuring a green focus will inform our work and decisions, and reflects our passion for being resource-considerate
  • Strategic Roadmap - Outlining the deliverables we will produce
  • Metrics - Remaining transparent in sharing the details of our carbon footprint and allowing us to improve monitoring of our footprint

Additionally, we’d like to share our next steps:

  • Hosting a session at our internal annual Foundation All Hands meeting in late January 2020 to share impact statement components with staff and solicit project ideas
  • Engaging staff and community members to commence work on various Sustainability projects and efforts

We will update this talk page on a quarterly cadence; and in March, we will share the output from All Hands, and begin soliciting for staff and volunteers to participate in our Sustainability initiatives.

Thanks and Happy Holidays!

Lydia and Deb

For those that have not got around to reading through the PDF, it says that the WMF have not set down any commitment to actually do anything. They might eventually report on some summary numbers, but this definitely will not include how many times the WMF executive team fly around the planet each year, nor does it make any commitment of any other kind like helping employees take public transport rather than drive their own cars, or avoid flying unnecessarily. Not impressive. -- (talk) 22:30, 17 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
Hi Lydia and Deb, thank you for this update! I'll respond with a few comments and follow-up questions:
  • With the new mission statement very much drawing on the 2017 board resolution, should we not try to move towards a further and more concrete commitment in terms of environmental sustainability? I am thinking of for-profit companies such as Microsoft that are now even committing to becoming carbon-negative and setting out clear timeframes.
  • In the 'operations' section of the strategic roadmap, you wrote that we are planning to 'minimize our carbon footprint' by 'identify[ing] carbon-reduction opportunities'. Can we really not go beyond that and commit to something tangible?
  • As you can imagine, I am very excited about the idea of a 'sustainability consortium' consisting of WMF staff and community members as proposed in the mission statement. Similarly, the Wikimedians for Sustainable Development will be interested in how the Wikimedia Foundation can 'support community efforts in the sustainability space', as proposed in the 'engagement section' of the strategic roadmap. When will these projects start, and how can we be a part in them?
  • What do you mean by 'personal investment' in the 'culture' section of the strategic roadmap?
  • Looking at the last point in the 'engagement' section of the strategic roadmap, shouldn't we share our lessons learned beyond just the community?
  • Finally, if you don't mind, I think I'll create a wiki version of the impact statement from the PDF.
Thanks, --Gnom (talk) Let's make Wikipedia green! 23:53, 18 January 2020 (UTC)Reply
Thanks, Gnom, for this response! -- Daniel Mietchen (talk) 05:51, 19 January 2020 (UTC)Reply

Hello Gnom and thank you for reading the PDF. Responses to your points are as follows:

  • Concrete commitment/Identifying carbon-reduction opportunities: We are in the midst of annual planning for our next fiscal year in which we will be proposing to make resource investments in carbon neutrality. The annual plan will be released for community consultation and feedback in late May/early June. We will also be working on expanding virtual events participation to reduce flight volume.
  • Sustainability Consortium participation: We will be kicking off the Consortium internally in March and one of our deliverables is clearly defining how we will engage with the community. We also support the idea of sharing and coordinating environmental sustainability efforts across Wikimedia affiliates. More information will be coming on this in April.
  • Personal investment: This point is affirming our commitment to recommending eco-conscious options. For example we host a monthly e-Waste pick up program that encourages staff to bring old electronics to the office; we then have the devices picked up by a vendor that helps prevent electronic waste from expanding our footprint by repairing or recycling within 150 miles of San Francisco.
  • Sharing lessons learned: By default we share with the world anytime we post on Meta! But as our Consortium work gets underway, there may be opportunities to share information more broadly beyond our sites.
  • Wiki version of impact statement: No issues with that, please proceed.

Thanks, Lydia and Deb 20 February 2020

Hi, I just wikified the impact statement on the page. --Gnom (talk) 21:27, 22 March 2020 (UTC)Reply

New annual reports and blog post for calendar year 2019[edit]

Hi all,

We've just published a few documents that might be of interest! Our annual reports for carbon footprint and impact statement as well as a new blog post on Diff.


deb (talk) 18:57, 13 August 2020 (UTC)Reply

Thank you for the report. I found it easier to understand than the first report. Page 37, maybe write something like train/BART. I had to find the meaning of this acronym. Pyb (talk) 19:33, 14 August 2020 (UTC)Reply
We appreciate the feedback Pyb! We spent a great deal of time reading (and re-reading) the report for clarity and concision.--LHamilton (WMF) (talk) 21:06, 16 August 2020 (UTC)Reply
Hi Deb and Lydia, thank you for this update! As you can imagine, I tried taking a closer look at the reports to see where we stand and where we are going. Please see my comments below.
  • I really appreciate the straightforward style of the blog post. It think it nicely avoids using 'greenwashed' language while at the same time demonstrating a strong commitment to reducing our carbon footprint.
Can you further explain the numbers on the far right?
  • Two questions concerning the servers, which have been my main focus for a long time now:
    • The report states great improvements for the eqiad, ulsfo, eqsin, eqord, and eqdfw sites. Can you explain our methodology here? Disregarding the reduction in energy consumption (which is impressive and itself worth looking into), are the significant reductions in carbon emissions caused by changes in the electricity grid for those locations (which couldn't have changed that quickly, most notably not for the eqiad and eqsin locations), or are the providers now specifically buying green energy from their respective electricity providers (which can't be the case for the eqsin location, as the report clearly explains on p. 31), or are the providers buying certificates for their emissions? If the latter, what would the numbers look like if we disregarded these certificates? Do we have a policy regarding the use of emission certificates as a carbon mitigation strategy, and if not, can we develop one? I am concerned that we might be in danger of 'drinking the emission certificate Kool-Aid' that our vendors are serving us.
    • The report also states that the carbon footprint of the esams server site was reduced by a whopping 100% from 2018 to 2019. In my own calculations, the esams server site has always been '100% green' because the provider, IronMountain, has always stated that it was using 100% green energy for its Amsterdam location. The 2018 report disregarded this fact and just used the numbers for the general Dutch electricity grid. Did we change our methodology in this regard or how can this change in our numbers be explained? (Please let me know if I should rephrase this question as it is a bit complicated. Also, I am aware that the esams server site is only a very small factor in our overall carbon footprint.)
Are there any news about the possibility for interested community members to join the WMF Sustainability Consortium as announced last year?
  • When will it be possible for interested community members to join the Sustainability Consortium? I am asking because I am looking for a forum to discuss the following:
    • What is our position on emission certificates? (see above)
    • How can we align the WMF 'strategic sustainability roadmap' with the three goals set by Sustainability Initiative? Do you agree that the three goals should be a priority? Do you think it is possible to actively work towards achieving them? If not, why not? More specifically:
      • The report states that 'efforts are underway to design remote event participation guidelines for internal WMF activities and evaluate for broader community implementation'. Can we talk about when we can make remote participation at Wikimania a real possibility, or if not, why not? What else can be done to significantly reduce the number of flights taken?
      • The report also states that 'presssure from investors and customers to improve the climate change profiles of data centers has created a swell of momentum.' When and how will we (significantly) contribute to this pressure (other than the letters we sent back in 2017), considering that such pressure from customers is working, or if not, why not?
      • The report is quiet on the issue of a sustainable investment policy for the Wikimedia Endowment. When can we develop one? If not, why not?
  • Over the next few days, I will try to incorporate the new information into the Sustainability page. Let me know if you have any comments in that regard.
Thank you again! Kind regards, --Gnom (talk) 07:42, 26 August 2020 (UTC)Reply
I second all of Gnom's questions and have a few others:
  • It states "Developed a sustainability roadmap that identified specific actions to pursue in 2019-2021" but then says "The following chart highlights the key achievements completed and currently underway." Where is the rest of the roadmap? Even accounting for the listed priorities of 2020, 2021 seems to be missing.
  • The report talks about environmental sustainability, but the only things that seems to be measured is CO2. Obviously an organization of this size have large impact in other areas as well (like the metals in hardware). How are these being measured and what steps are taken to limit that impact?
Hello Ainali, thanks for the questions!
  • The impact statement report typically looks back at the year prior and is more general with the upcoming roadmap, as stated on 5. We have developed a roadmap of projects and subjects to take on in FY20/21 and have published it today. Please note that the Wikipedian in Residence work is an ambitious goal for this year.
  • The Foundation’s sustainability focus is on our carbon emissions associated with our buildings and facilities, travel and commuting impacts, and data servers. As we are largely an internet driven organization, we haven’t looked into other areas to investigate and measure, such as metals in hardware in our buildings.
We're glad that these documents are helpful! deb (talk) 20:19, 3 September 2020 (UTC)Reply
@DTankersley (WMF): I'm sorry I wasn't clear enough. I wasn't referring to metals in buildings. I was referring to the kind of rare metals in computer hardware, including mobile phones, tablets and servers. Since the WMF have employees that all use at least one, probably more, of these devices there is probably a high discard rate just due to regular wear, tear and accidents. Add to that upgrades for performance. These have a considerable impact on the environment and how they are dealt with matters a lot. Ainali talkcontributions 20:44, 3 September 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Ainali: Ahh, I see now. That sounds like a great topic to discuss in our upcoming community conversations! :) I know lots of folks recycle (turn in for a refund) when they purchase a new device. I'm not entirely sure what the companies that receive those devices do with them, however. Certainly something that we can survey folks about and see if there are next steps that we can take. deb (talk) 21:26, 3 September 2020 (UTC)Reply
I also want to chime in that creating these documents is a really good step in the right direction. Thanks, Ainali talkcontributions 20:56, 27 August 2020 (UTC)Reply
Hi Gnom, I'll do a bit of a mashup of your questions and our answers below:
  • Q: The report states great improvements for the eqiad, ulsfo, eqsin, eqord, and eqdfw sites. Can you explain our methodology here?
  • A: On slide 5, of our carbon footprint report, we outlined the methodology for our improvements in the data centers (copied here): In the last year, data center providers have increased the level of transparency of their environmental metrics, allowing us to more accurately assess their environmental performance. Data center providers have also ramped up their use of renewable energy (through renewable energy project as well as purchased renewable energy credits (RECs), further decarbonizing their energy use. Both changes allowed us to allocate a lower emissions factor to the electricity used at WMF data center and server locations for 2019. For a bit more background, all data centers are dependent on two main things: grid electricity and water. Data centers are working towards using more renewable energy sources in their electricity supply mixes, as they are available. If these options are not available, the data centers have been purchasing Renewable Energy Certificate (RECs) as an interim step moving towards decarbonization. In water-stressed regions, such as in Texas for example, they will prioritize water-consumption mitigation first and then move towards decarbonization.
  • Q: Disregarding the reduction in energy consumption (which is impressive and itself worth looking into), are the significant reductions in carbon emissions caused by changes in the electricity grid for those locations (which couldn't have changed that quickly, most notably not for the eqiad and eqsin locations),
  • A: We believe this reduction is because more data centers are actively looking for ways to lower their carbon footprint. However, not all data centers are fully transparent about reporting on this effort, so some of our information is estimated from publicly available information from the hosting companies, where available. Where PUE was not available, we estimated based upon ‘best in class’ data (as noted on page 7).Some of the data centers that had dramatic reductions are also part of the most insignificant usage overall (page 6)
  • Q: or are the providers now specifically buying green energy from their respective electricity providers (which can't be the case for the eqsin location, as the report clearly explains on p. 31), or are the providers buying certificates for their emissions? If the latter, what would the numbers look like if we disregarded these certificates?
  • A: Data centers, all over the world, are purchasing RECs in their transition to become as decarbonized as possible. This is a stepping stone for them to pursue options currently available in their regions to mitigate their own carbon footprint, however, some electricity suppliers do not offer a "green purchasing option." Data centers are heavily dependent upon their local electricity supply-mixes and more often, electricity suppliers are making public commitments to ‘go green’, such as APS and others. Since SASB has defined both data security and decarbonization KPIs, data centers are using existing tools that are readily available now to take actions toward decarbonization.
  • Q: The report also states that the carbon footprint of the esams server site was reduced by a whopping 100% from 2018 to 2019. In my own calculations, the esams server site has always been '100% green' because the provider, IronMountain, has always stated that it was using 100% green energy for its Amsterdam location. The 2018 report disregarded this fact and just used the numbers for the general Dutch electricity grid. Did we change our methodology in this regard or how can this change in our numbers be explained?
  • A: Iron Mountain (esams) had made earlier claims that were not supported by actual data in the report. When reporting GHG emissions the rule-of-thumb (unless the data source provides explicit data from the energy-grid) is to go with the most conservative assumption for initial analysis and move forward from there. As the 2018 report was the first carbon footprint for the Foundation, it's critical to define what functional areas are material to the overall footprint to drive prioritization of carbon mitigation efforts.
  • Q: When will it be possible for interested community members to join the Sustainability Consortium?
  • A: We’re glad to hear that this is still of interest! Our first year of the Sustainability Consortium was focused on establishing organization on the Foundation projects we wanted to do in FY2019/20. For this fiscal year, we’d like to host meetings with interested community members to have structured conversations about sustainability and some of the topics that have been raised (for example, the ones in your earlier post - emission certificates, event participation, etc). We’re hoping to have these conversations once a quarter, with the first one in September 2020. Once we’ve decided on a topic and a date, we’ll post on Meta.
  • Q: (listing of various topics to discuss)
  • A: Those topics are all great things to discuss and come to a common understanding of the issues and potential solutions. Regarding the Wikimedia Endowment, we reached out to our internal team and they updated the sustainability ratings of the endowment investments along with a link to a new investment policy statement from the Tides Foundation.
Thanks for the thoughtful questions!
deb (talk) 20:07, 3 September 2020 (UTC) and LydiaReply
@DTankersley (WMF): Where can we find more information about these quarterly meetings and especially the one that is to take place this month? -- Daniel Mietchen (talk) 19:44, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Daniel Mietchen:I've just posted the links to the Climate Justice Editathon happening on Sept 18, 2020 and the Sustainability Community Roundtable meeting (also happening on Sept 18, 2020). We're looking forward to seeing you there! :) deb (talk) 20:21, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply

Sustainability Community Roundtable Discussions[edit]

Date and time

September 18, 2020 at 0800 PT / 1500 UTC


What is our position on emission certificates?


  • The Wikimedia Foundation does not operate its own data centers to run Wikipedia and her sister projects, but relies on third-party colocation providers that have global interconnection.
  • At this time, the Wikimedia Foundation is not pursuing switching to data center providers that could be using more renewable energy for their operations.
  • Air travel is the biggest part of the Wikimedia Foundation's carbon footprint.
  • Carbon credits, also called emission certificates, is a generic term for any tradable certificate or permit representing the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide or the equivalent amount of a different greenhouse gas (tCO2e).

Questions that we will discuss

  • Should the Wikimedia Foundation's annual carbon footprint calculations disregard emissions that are 'compensated' by its vendors through carbon credits (or emission certificates)?
  • Should the Wikimedia Foundation commit to 'offsetting' its carbon footprint by buying emission certificates? If yes, should this option be viewed and clearly communicated as an 'intermediary solution' toward reducing its carbon footprint?

Meeting information

  • We will meet for 45 minutes starting at 0800 PT / 1500 UTC on September 18, 2020, using zoom
    • Alternatively a youtube live stream has been set up here.
  • Notes will be taken (etherpad)
  • Please introduce yourself when speaking and if you represent an organization, eg. name, affiliation, and position
  • We will be using the Friendly Space policy for conduct.

Why this meeting?

Our first year after forming the Wikimedia Foundation Sustainability Consortium, was focused on establishing organization on the Foundation projects that we wanted to do in FY2019/20. For this fiscal year, we would like to host meetings with interested community members to have structured conversations on some of the topics that have been raised on the various talk pages around sustainability. We want to do these conversations quarterly and this meeting will be the first — we would love to have everyone that is interested to join in!

deb (talk) 20:45, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply

Will there be a free-software-friendly avenue of access? Nemo 14:30, 15 September 2020 (UTC)Reply
@Nemo bis: Hi Nemo, thanks for the suggestion - we have added in a youtube live stream of the meeting from zoom. It does have a slight lag, I believe it's about 30 seconds and, if you watch the live stream, you can only comment in youtube. Just as those people that will be part of the zoom call, they can only comment in zoom during the call. We will also have the etherpad where notes will be taken and shared out later. deb (talk) 22:31, 15 September 2020 (UTC)Reply

September 18, 2020 -- Climate Justice Edit-a-thon[edit]

Edit, learn and help us identify climate justice topics on Wikipedia

Join the Editathon by adding your user account to the Programs and Events Dashboard

Need support during the editathon? Ask questions at the Wikimedians for Sustainable Development Telegram channel.

Actions Keep an eye on the actions section for actions during this editathon. deb (talk) 20:46, 11 September 2020 (UTC)Reply

Sustainability Consortium Sharing Lessons Learned[edit]

Hello all,

We wanted to report back to you all on the activities that the Wikimedia Foundation’s Sustainability Consortium has embarked upon in the last few months and to take a brief look ahead.

In the first quarter, we completed a flurry of activities:

  • published our roadmap for projects that we’ll be concentrating on in FY20/21
  • held a climate justice editathon
  • held our first ever Sustainability Community Roundtable discussion on carbon offsets
  • began an investigation of endowment and 401k opportunities for sustainable investments by the Foundation

The Climate Justice editathon was open to all who wanted to help out. We held two virtual one hour meetings to review why Climate Justice is important and to get a brief training on how to edit Wikipedia and how to contribute citations (using the Citation Hunt tool) to articles. During the editathon, we had two articles created, 46 articles edited, 184 total edits, 38 references added, and 6,4100 words added resulting in 131,000 article views. Yay!

We also held a constructive and enlightening discussion focused on ‘what is our position on emission certificates’ via zoom and youtube live stream. We took questions from both platforms during the meeting and the notes were copied/pasted from the etherpad into a pdf and published on Commons. The conversation surrounded two questions:

  • Should the Wikimedia Foundation's annual carbon footprint calculations disregard emissions that are 'compensated' by its vendors through carbon credits (or emission certificates)?
  • Should the Wikimedia Foundation commit to 'offsetting' its carbon footprint by buying emission certificates? If yes, should this option be viewed and clearly communicated as an 'intermediary solution' toward reducing its carbon footprint?

Our action from this conversation was that the Foundation will continue to be as transparent as possible in our annual reporting of our carbon footprint and will encourage our vendors to provide their annual emission statistics with and without emission certificates / carbon offsets that they might have participated in over the calendar year.

Our final project for the quarter was to investigate if our endowment investments were environmentally sustainable and if the Foundation’s default 401k investment plan contained sustainable options.

  • The Foundation’s Director of Endowments reviewed the current Tides investment policy while also getting a deeper understanding of sustainability ratings and added that information to the Wikimedia Endowment page. The endowment is 100% invested in funds that have been carefully screened for their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors.
  • For our 401k investment offerings (maintained by Fidelity), there are at least 36 investment options that are available to applicable Foundation staff, however our default investment choice does not contain a sustainability-focused fund. Our next steps will be to continue to learn more about the Foundation’s investment committee, and to propose adding sustainable funds as part of the default investment options.

Over the quarter, the Sustainability Consortium will be holding another editathon that will concentrate on women in the climate change movement. Our goal is to do at least one per quarter that is focused on various aspects of climate change. We’ll also hold a Sustainability Community Roundtable, in December (topic to be determined).. We’ll also begin the annual process of organizing collection of the data needed for the 2020 carbon footprint report and start an internal discussion on if the Foundation will offset it’s footprint using carbon offsets through strategic partnerships.

Thanks! deb (talk) 17:19, 23 October 2020 (UTC)Reply

Wikimedia Foundation Sustainability Consortium 2020-2021 programmatic roadmap
Hello Deb, Thank you for this update! Here is my (belated) follow-up:
  • Hello Gnom, our first activity to tangibly reduce is our partnership exploration work. We hope to announce our progress on this activity soon. (Thanks for the noting of the roadmap line, we've fixed it!) deb (talk) 21:07, 25 November 2020 (UTC)Reply
  • Next, I have the impression that we were apparently unsuccessful in answering the two questions from the September roundtable, or am I mistaken? Can we follow up on this so that we have clear ‘yes/no’ answers to these two questions?
  • @Gnom: I have to disagree on this, as I don't think we were unsuccessful - we had a good discussion and determined that in general, people are open to using carbon offsets and we will continue to explore options like this. deb (talk) 21:07, 25 November 2020 (UTC)Reply
  • Concerning the endowment, I was able to speak to Lisa Gruwell yesterday about her ‘quest’ to define a sustainable investment policy for the Wikimedia Endowment. Since this has been one of the three demands of the Sustainability Initiative since 2015, I am excited to finally see this become a reality.
  • Restating my question from back in August: When will it be possible for interested community members to join the Sustainability Consortium (per Janeen Uzzell’s Dezember 2019 statement)?
  • @Gnom: Currently, community member participation in the Consortium is via the Community Roundtable and our editathons that are held quarterly. The information in my original post was meant to be informative on what the Consortium has been doing. Is there more information sharing that should be done, in your opinion? deb (talk) 21:07, 25 November 2020 (UTC)Reply
  • Finally, please allow me to restate my wish that we spend more of your valuable staff time on projects that we as community members can't do, especially on work that can lead to a tangible reduction of the Wikimedia Foundation's carbon footprint (fewer miles flown, fewer kilowatt hours from coal-fired power stations used, fewer shares in oil corporations held), and less on projects such as WMF-hosted editathons, especially considering how many community-led projects there already are in this area (such as the Wikipedia for Peace Climate Justice camp, which ended yesterday, or the Wiki4Climate editathon at the end of November).
  • @Gnom: In regards to making tangible reduction, I think we are doing as much as we can. We can't really restrict travel of staff (other than in times of a global pandemic as we are in right now), but restricting fewer kilowatt hours used is difficult to do and we are looking into several options for a new data center that uses sustainable energy. For the shares in oil corporations, we have explored this and updated the statement on our endowment. However, I disagree with the suggestion to reduce holding editathons on climate change, we feel this is still very important to do. deb (talk) 21:07, 25 November 2020 (UTC)Reply
Thank you again, --Gnom (talk) 23:18, 15 November 2020 (UTC)Reply
Hi, as Gnom I also thank you for the update. I really like how the regularity of them lately. I concur with all that Gnom says, but would also like to thank for the recent activity from the WMF social media accounts in this topic area. Those have great reach and I believe supporting volunteer driven events with those are really valuable and is something that volunteers really can't do, thanks for that. I would also like to add that even though carbon footprint is important, if the goal is to be a Sustainability Consortium a larger framework is needed and the Sustainable Development Goals could play a role here. As inspiration, the European Union publishes a great report on how they are doing on them and I would love to see something similar from WMF. Ainali talkcontributions 19:54, 16 November 2020 (UTC)Reply
I just updated the Sustainability Initiative page, but as mentioned before, I was unable to add the 2019 numbers indicating the overall WMF emissions and the data center emissions because they are 'distorted' through our vendors factoring in emissions certificates of unknown origin and in unknown quantities. I'd appreciate your suggestions in that regard.
Also, I'd like to ask a question to Lisa Gruwell: Are we able to say whether or not the Wikimedia Endowment, either directly or indirectly, is currently invested in one of the following corporations: Chevron (CVX), ExxonMobil (XOM), BP (BP), Shell (RDSA/RDSB), Lockheed Martin (LMT), Boeing (BA), Raytheon (RTX), BAE Systems (LSE: BA), Northrop Grumman (NOC), or General Dynamics (GD)?
Thanks again, --Gnom (talk) 20:37, 22 November 2020 (UTC)Reply
Thank you for your replies above, deb!
Please allow me to follow up again concerning the September roundtable. What was the exact result of our discussion concerning the two questions now? You wrote, "people are open to using carbon offsets", but if I am not mistaken, the only two community attendees, Lane Rasberry and me, were quite opposed to carbon offsets...
Also, I have to say that your reply, "I think we are doing as much as we can. We can't really restrict travel of staff" left me speechless at first. I mean we can surely agree that the Wikimedia Foundation is not "doing as much as it can", right? And yes, restricting staff travel is pretty much the whole point when we're committed to becoming more sustainable. The WMF's own sustainability reports clearly show this, don't they? This is why, in the September community roundtable, I said that one way in which carbon offsets would be acceptable to me could be that each time a staff member flies, their department has to "pay twice", once for the plane ticket and hotel stay and once for the according offsets, and both bills are paid from that department's travel budget – in that way possibly disincentivising flights. Another measure could be to require all flights to be signed off by upper management. (Writing travel policies that disincentivise flights is really a collaboration possibility for the WMF and Wikimedia affiliates, I think.) But that first requires us to acknowledge that we're still far from "doing as much as we can" and that yes, we will have to significantly reduce the number of miles flown across the movement.
Finally, you asked about my expectations for the Sustainability Consortium: In December 2019, it was announced that it would be a cross-functional team of Foundation staff and interested community members that are dedicated to helping to create, implement, and advise executive leadership on potential activities to reduce the Foundation’s global carbon impact. Well, how can I become a member of this team, meet the other members, attend its meetings, join its mailing list and slack channel, discuss its agenda, etc.? If that is not what Janeen meant to announce, then please make that clear, because that is what I understood.
Thanks again, --Gnom (talk) 08:37, 2 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
Hi @Gnom:, I’d like to chime in on a few items:
  • Carbon offsets: When offsets were discussed during the community roundtable, you shared that you were open to offsets as an intermediary step and supported disincentivizing travel by including emissions in the cost of travel. Lane shared from their perspective that the Foundation’s strength supporting the publishing/creation of content and funding more community environmentalism work, alongside possibly considering selling offsets for community-related efforts. The Foundation members that joined Matt, Alex and Cassie all shared that they were open to offsets as well until we reduce or eliminate our footprint. This is how we arrived at the statement “people are open to offsets”. Additionally, in our most recent Foundation partnership announcement with Plant Your Change, you were quoted stating "planting trees is an important strategy to mitigate climate change” thus further acknowledging the significance of offsets. We all can agree that the right course of action is not to stop at offsets and do more to reduce our footprint.
  • Staff travel: When Deb shared "I think we are doing as much as we can. We can't really restrict travel of staff", it wasn’t intended to be a statement on the behalf of the Foundation. It was an earnest response to the amount of influence we (Deb and Lydia) have to make broad sustainability edicts that the Foundation absolutely must adhere to. Suggestions like the one you’ve made here, to disincentivize travel by means of a department paying for both tickets and offsets, is one that we can and will explore further in the annual plan for the upcoming 2021-2022 fiscal year.
  • Sustainability Consortium: Community engagement in the Sustainability Consortium is via roundtable discussions, editathons, and other community-facing events like our most recent talk with Dr. Johnson.
Thanks,-- LHamilton (WMF) (talk) 23:31, 14 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

Comments by Tony1 @DTankersley (WMF): Deb, I'd like to thank you and your colleagues for spearheading the Consortium. It's most welcome, though I have queries about it. None of them is aimed personally: my comments are targeted at the institution, not the people, including my disappointment at a statement by you that I refer to below – a statement I regard as a reflection of the movement as a whole.

Are the imprecision, linguistic loopholes, and contradictions in the WMF Board's resolution – passed nearly three years ago – consistent with the tardiness and lack of urgency in our response to the wicked threat to civilisation we face. Let's take a look:

  • "We aim to always act responsibly and sustainably as possible" – Note the present tense: it was not credible for the Board to claim this in early 2017, given the amount of flying by WMF staff and the holding of Wikimania and other physical meetups for more than a decade, which continued unabated until the pandemic hit.
  • Item 2: "We will consider sustainability as an important part of decisions around servers, operations, travel, offices, and other procurement". Note the future tense, "will consider", devoid of procedure and timeline. The operations listed in Item 2 are a disordered collection of those that are very hard to act on (servers) without relying on the notorious uncertainty of "offsets", and those that are logistically easy to act on (travel) but require the Board and staff to stand up to volunteers who are (in some cases stridently) opposed to moving Wikimania and other physical meetups online. Politics trumps practicality? I see no specific resolution from the Board on evolving an intrinsically online organisation away from physical meetups – for both staff and volunteers, WMF and chapters – only the vaguest of propositions. I note that your editathons were all held online, which is a great start. But ...

Have we yet gathered, compiled, and interpreted movement-wide information on the amount of travel (aviation emissions, mainly) by staff and volunteers? The Roundtable fitly proposes that "Air travel is the biggest part of the Wikimedia Foundation's carbon footprint." So it's very disappointing to see your statement above: "We can't really restrict travel of staff". What's going on there?

Are we getting better at holding online meetups? Some progress has been made elsewhere (I find myself attending more events that would have been impractical offline in my population-dispersed part of the world). But do we have guidelines on how to organise and run them smoothly, and how to get the best out of the chosen system, e.g. Zoom? Specific guidelines are needed for editathons, for wikimania, and for chapter-led meetups that formerly involved carbon indulgence.

Is Wikimania going to rise out of the ashes of the pandemic to again be an annual splurge of carbon emissions? Or will it morph into what could in some ways be a better experience for more Wikimedians at far less cost, with the old physical event reserved for very special occasions (perhaps the 25th anniversary of the start of WP). Curiously there has never been a serious cost–benefit analysis of wiki meetups, which themselves rarely if ever report in concrete terms on their wiki-impact (collaborations and networks established/strengthened, new plans to improve the sites, for example). And there's little or no acknowledgment of the much greater accessibility and inclusiveness of online meetups. As a member of the old Grants Assessment Committee (GAC) at Meta, way back, I couldn't avoid feeling critical of the frivolity with which funding was requested by volunteers for carbon-intensive meetups.

Is there any awareness of the contradiction of running WikiTravel as a huge, explicit encouragement to emit carbon?

Again, I thank you and others for your work, but would like to see greater focus on logistics and the political task. Clear, specific leadership is needed from the WMF Board, with adequate staff resources for implementation. Tony (talk) 00:45, 5 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

Hi @Tony1:,
Thanks for joining in on the conversation and clarifying your comments are targeted at the institution and not the people. There are quite a few opinions and observations that you’ve shared, and I’d like to respond to a few as some of these have been previously responded to in conversations above.
Our carbon footprint focuses on assessing the emissions impacts of offices, data centers, and travel across three areas: internal staff convenings, community convenings, and miscellaneous Foundation business travel. To assess the footprint of the entire Movement would be a heavy and time-intensive lift that would be hard to guarantee as exhaustive. If we were to embark on that effort, what would you see as the appropriate next steps following?
Regarding getting better at holding online meetups and the need for more guidance on this, I would encourage you to consider participating in our Events Refresh Community Input survey and focus groups shared recently on wiki-l. The team is kicking off a series of consultations to advise some upcoming community-facing projects, one of which is participation accessibility. Their intention is to create a detailed accessibility toolkit that covers a host of topics – including convening models, such as virtual. If participating in this is of interest to you, visit the team's Meta page to learn more.
More information will be forthcoming on the virtualization of Wikimania. The Community Events team recently hosted office hours and the following was shared in the meeting Etherpad:
  • Wikimania: More information on this will be shared before the end of the year. Short answer is yes, 2021 Wikimania will be virtual. This will be communicated before the end of the year. We are working with the Wikimania Steering Committee to design the first virtual edition. More information on how the community at large can be involved will be shared next year.
  • Working on designing what a virtual wikimania will look like. Foundation / Katherine will be annoucing this soon (before the end of 2020). By the end of January we will be sharing with the community on ways to be involved. Bangkok group will not be hosting 2021 and are reserving the right to host an in person wikimania.
Lastly, in my opinion, it’s a little one-sided suggest that WikiTravel can only be used by those who are visiting other locations, sometimes people that live within a region utilize it to explore their own towns!
Thanks,--LHamilton (WMF) (talk) 23:31, 14 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

@LHamilton (WMF): Lydia, to take a few of your points in turn:

"To assess the footprint of the entire Movement would be a heavy and time-intensive lift that would be hard to guarantee as exhaustive. If we were to embark on that effort, what would you see as the appropriate next steps following?"
There's a logical flaw: why must a huge component of WM emission footprint be accurately measurable before taking action to reduce it? A rough measurement by an expert could be done in 15 minutes; it's already obvious that flying hundreds of people to WM meetups needs to be rationed. I don't have to measure how much carbon my car emits to know that the next one I buy will be an electric vehicle. If measurement before actionis part of the remit, the remit itself is an excuse for minimal action. The bonus is that many more Wikimedians will get to participate in Wikimania, without cost and with minimal disruption (timezone inconvenience beats jetlag, in my view).
Accessibility toolkit, Wikimania virtualisation.
All very good news. Next year I might, for the first time, get to see the presentations at Wikimania.
"Lastly, in my opinion, it’s a little one-sided suggest that WikiTravel can only be used by those who are visiting other locations, sometimes people that live within a region utilize it to explore their own towns!"
International travel by flight has increased precipitously over the past decade. Even if the effect of WikiTravel is to prompt a minor amount short-distance terrestrial travel, it is highly likely to feed the culture of international flight-vacation. It's like your pension fund investing in coal ports but not cigarette companies (let's be moral), and the Guardian online showing ads for flight-tourism while at the same time giving balanced coverage of the climate crisis.

In summary, I'm very pleased to hear the good news – thank you indeed; but not so pleased the political fight with entitled holiday-making conference-goers is a can being kicked down the road. Tony (talk) 00:35, 15 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

Thanks deb for the update but I'm wondering, what does the sentence «funds that have been carefully screened for their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors» even mean?
  • If that refers to the ESG ratings AUM coverage (cf. Morningstar method, «To receive a Portfolio Sustainability Score, at least 67% of a portfolio’s assets under management must have a company ESG Risk Rating»), I'm afraid that's practically meaningless, as it's mainly a factor of corporation size.
  • If it means that each index at the table Wikimedia Endowment#Endowment Investment Policy has been replaced with an ESG-corrected equivalent, for instance FTSE Emerging ESG instead of the FTSE Emerging index, then I urge the WMF to update the table so that it reflects the actual indices. It's vital for transparency that people can actually know what kind of holdings WMF has.
Thanks, Nemo 21:28, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
Hello Nemo, we only show the benchmark for each of the funds that the Wikimedia Endowment is invested in, and not the exact fund names. As far as I know, the Wikimedia Foundation has never disclosed the fund names we actually invest in - listing those exact investments publicly would be a major departure from our typical practices and would need to be weighed very carefully.
Happy Holidays! deb (talk) 15:56, 16 December 2020 (UTC)Reply
deb, I forgot to reply here. I never asked to disclose fund names, I asked about index names, so the same level of disclosure there is now. Nemo 09:26, 27 March 2022 (UTC)Reply

Wikipedia and Women in the Climate Change Movement - a live eventǃ[edit]


We're holding a live event focusing on Wikipedia and women in the climate change movement, on December 10, 2020. It will be a conversation with Dr. Ayana Johnson, interviewed by Dame Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight and introduced by Katherine Maher.

We'll also be holding two editathon kick-off meetings on December 11, 2020. All events will be held on zoom and live-streamed on Youtube; all are open to the community and public. Times and connection information can be found in the Diff blog post.

Here's a synopsis of the event:

Our planet is facing an urgent climate crisis and access to neutral, fact-based, and current information about climate change topics play a critical role in our ability to respond. In turn, the role of Wikipedia has never mattered more (as highlighted in a recent Mashable article). But Wikipedia can only fully realize this mission by working to close gaps in climate change content that is about and by women.
It is with this in mind that the Wikimedia Foundation is pleased to announce a special live discussion with passionate conservation strategist Dr. Ayana Johnson. Dr. Johnson is the founder of Urban Ocean Lab, a think tank for coastal cities, and is co-editor of All We Can Save, a book of essays from women at the forefront of the climate movement. Dr. Johnson has been editing Wikipedia since 2015 when, during a World Oceans Day editathon, she created an article for ocean zoning.
Dr. Johnson will be interviewed by Dame Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight, the co-founder of the Women in Red, a WikiProject to address the current gender bias in Wikipedia content. Rosie and Dr. Johnson will have a conversation about Wikipedia and the role it plays regarding women in the climate change movement, as well as how we can all help to turn the red links blue in regards to women environmentalists. Wikimedia Foundation CEO Katherine Maher will provide welcome remarks to kick off the conversation.

If there are specific questions that you'd like to give to our speakers in advance, please add them to the blog post in the comments section. We'll also have time at the end of the conversation for Q&A.

Thanks and we're looking forward to your participation!

--deb (talk) 21:42, 2 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

A quick reminder that our live event focusing on Women in the Climate Change Movement is happening today, Thursday, December 10th at 18:00 UTC.
This very special event is a conversation with Dr. Ayana Johnson, interviewed by Dame Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight and introduced by our very own Katherine Maher. They'll be discussing the important role that Wikipedia plays in spreading knowledge of the most excellent work that women are doing in the climate change movement and how we can help turn those red links into blue for women environmentalists.
In her latest book All We Can Save, Dr Johnson documents the women leaders who are bringing more awareness to the local impacts of climate change. We have copies of this electronic book available! To request your copy, please sign up using this form by December 13, 2020. Quantities are limited (one per person) while supplies last. We’ll need your name, what country you are in, and email address for ordering purposes. deb (talk) 17:39, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

WMF 2020/2021 annual plan sustainability programme[edit]

Slide from the "Tuning Session" presentation about the 2020-2021 sustainability programme

Today, two documents were published that I would like to share on this page:

The WMF annual plan for 2020/2021 (adopted on 28 September 2020 and published on 15 December 2020) contains a "Shared Services" programme titled "Sustainability: Delivery of initiatives that align with the Foundation’s sustainability framework and seek to reduce our carbon footprint."

As detailed in the Q1 "Tuning Session" presentation (presented on 26 October 2020 and published on 15 December 2020), the WMF Operations department have set an objective named "Advance towards carbon neutrality" which contains the goal of reducing the WMF's carbon footprint by 1% (243 tCO2-eq). By the end of the fiscal year, the WMF is planning to have "activated" a "mission-aligned" carbon offset programme.

--Gnom (talk) 00:10, 16 December 2020 (UTC)Reply

Live event: Wikipedia and agriculture of the future[edit]


We are holding a new live event with Louise Mabulo on 11 March, followed by a Wikipedia edit-a-thon on sustainable agriculture and climate change justice on 12 March!

The live event on Thursday, 11 March 2021 will be an hour long discussion with time reserved for questions and answers from the audience. And, we are also hosting two, one hour editathon meetings on Friday, 12 March 2021 that are open to everyone.

All events will be held on zoom and live-streamed on Youtube; all are open to the community and public. Times and connection information can be found in the Diff blog post.

Here's a synopsis of the events:

We'll be chatting with Louise Mabulo, an environmentalist, farmer, social entrepreneur and chef from the Philippines. Louise is the founder of The Cacao project, which helps to mitigate climate change with the use of resilient and resistant crops. She was also named in the 2020 Forbes' list '30 under 30 Asia’ and a finalist in the 2016 Junior MasterChef Pinoy Edition.

Louise will be interviewed by Vanj Padilla, a Wikimedian and Farm Forward advocate from the Phillipines community who is currently working on the community consultation processes on Board Governance.
This conversation is the second in a new series that is working to close gaps in climate change content and awareness that is about and by women on Wikipedia. The first conversation was held in December 2020, with conservation strategist Dr. Ayana Johnson, founder of Urban Ocean Lab, and Dame Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight, co-founder of the Women in Red project.
The topic of agriculture and sustainable, local food sources is directly connected to this year's #WikiForHumanRights campaign that will launch in time for Earth Day, 22 April. This month-long campaign has the theme of “Right to a Healthy Environment” — connecting Wikipedia's 20th Birthday theme, “20 years human,” with the global conversations around COVID-19, environmental crisis, climate change, and human rights.

Thanks and we're looking forward to your participation! deb (talk) 18:08, 4 March 2021 (UTC)Reply

Exxon general assembly[edit]

«Exxon's business strategy hung in the balance on Wednesday as it took the uncommon step of recessing its shareholder meeting as it scrambled to stave off a challenge from investors aiming to reshape its board to better align the oil giant with global moves to combat climate change. BlackRock Inc (BLK.N), Exxon's second-largest shareholder, joined the dissidents, as it will support three of Engine No. 1's nominees.» https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/shareholder-activism-reaches-milestone-exxon-board-vote-nears-end-2021-05-26/

If the "dissidents" proposal ends up being defeated, I very much hope the Wikimedia Foundation's shares won't be found to have been used on the wrong side of the vote. Nemo 17:42, 26 May 2021 (UTC)Reply

I see even Vanguard voted for some of the Engine No. 1's nominees (maybe only 2 out of 4). When the dust settles it would be nice to know directly from WMF what their shares were used to vote for. Nemo 07:33, 31 May 2021 (UTC)Reply

Annual carbon footprint and sustainability impact statement reports published for calendar year 2020[edit]

Hello - just a quick note to let you all know that I've published the new carbon footprint report and the sustainability impact statement report for calendar year 2020. deb (talk) 20:57, 8 September 2021 (UTC)Reply

Thank you, deb. It's interestnig to see some very significant reductions in some areas, but little change in other key areas. I wonder if I could I make a few observations? Future report would really benefit from a glossary explaining all the specialist acronyms and terms like 'WUE', 'PUE', 'WWT' etc. to aid clarity and comprehension.
Secondly, are the various energy and water consumption figures for the entirety of each data center (and are these centers all therefore dedicated purely to processing WMF-related activities? - or are WMF activities only part of their userbase, and are all figures provided pro rata for WMF activities?
Finally, water usage for cooling seems significant, but I gain no idea of how such water is used and then utilised. Is it returned, albeit heated, to rivers, or is it lost as steam to the atmosphere, or is it allowed to flow into agricultural irrigation systems? I assume the second option, but can't see a way to assess this useage. WMF travel was impressively reduced in 2020, and it was a pleasure to participate for the first time in a Wikimania event because it was wholly online. I sincerely hope we will recognise the benefits of this, as set against the small loss of face-to-face events in real life, and continue with more online events and far less kerosene-based travel. Cheers, Nick Moyes (talk) 23:44, 8 September 2021 (UTC)Reply
Hi @Nick Moyes: - thanks for your feedback!
(1) We'll be sure to add in an appendix (or something like that) for next year's report, good call!
(2) The consumption numbers from the data centers are not strictly for WMF-related activities, as we are in shared data centers.
(3) Unfortunately, I don't believe information about how the water is used / utilized has been published by any of our data centers. The information that has been published, for each data center we are in, can be viewed on the main page under the title: Foundation Data Center Supplementary information. I also hope we can continue to have a full virtual option for upcoming Wikimania's and other large events! deb (talk) 16:25, 13 September 2021 (UTC)Reply
Thank you, Deb. As you know, I have been waiting for the report to come out so that I can finally update the data centre graph on the Sustainability Initiative page. For that, I need the following information:
data centre energy consumption and energy sources (2020)
data centre 2020 energy consumption


% renewable (site, alternatively grid)

(disregarding 'goals', disregarding 'region averages', disregarding RECs)

eqiad DC total: 1,741,488

WMF share: 136

codfw DC total: 1,096,051

WMF share: 80.3

? (2018: 18.2%, source)
esams DC total: 79,786

WMF share: 7.56

100 ("100% green power", source)
ulsfo DC total: 34,634

WMF share: 3.55

100 ("[a]chieved 100% renewable energy coverage [...] for U.S. colocation business",

source; "greenhouse gas-free power", source)

eqsin DC total: 47,830

WMF share: 3.86

eqord DC total: 1,226

WMF share: .077

eqdfw DC total: 1,226

WMF share: .077

knams DC total: 972

WMF share: .077

100 ("100% of our energy is from renewable sources", source)
Am I missing something or is the information for the third column (again) missing from the report? :-/
Also, can I ask you to re-upload the report in a version where the links in the PDF document are clickable? None of them seem to work for me right now. Thanks, --Gnom (talk) 23:09, 9 September 2021 (UTC)Reply
Hi @Gnom: the answers you're looking for are indeed in the carbon footprint report, in the breakdown for each data center. For your ease of use, I've copied the information in your table, from that report. I've asked several people to confirm that they can see / use the links in the PDF (and they can)...can you try your download again? deb (talk) 18:02, 13 September 2021 (UTC)Reply
@Deb: Thank you for your quick response and for helping me look into the numbers. I tried to re-simplify the table and removed some of your input per the restraints marked in purple (the goal of these restraints is to save us from greenwashing from the data centre operators). Can you help me find these numbers?
Also, where do the numbers in green come from? I could not find them anywhere (I tried to use crtl+F in the documents, but without success). Thanks, --Gnom (talk)
Hi @Gnom: unfortunately, I don't have those numbers that you're looking for in purple - I don't believe they are in any of the documents I've seen from the data centers. The numbers in green are what we've captured internally for power usage but they're slightly different than the numbers that we got from SSC, as they were doing the carbon footprint work. I've reached out to them to get clarification and I'll post back here when we can resolve this. deb (talk) 20:47, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply
Nice that the power usage is tracked internally! Is that the power measured by netbox? If so it would exclude previous transformations, cooling etc. It can't be compared to the numbers SSC is using. Nemo 21:45, 22 September 2021 (UTC)Reply
Hi @Nemo bis: - thanks for the follow up questions. We pull the power information of all our data center hardware from the PDUs that the devices are connected to. These PDU readings are monitored via LibreNMS, then reported through Grafana. To your point, it only calculates the amount for IT load, so it doesn't include mechanical power for transformers, backup generators, cooling, etc. We might be able to figure out the additional power usage based on each site location's PUE, but it would be very, very rough estimate. In regards to the SSC numbers, those appears to take into account the power usage for the entire data center building. This includes all the other customers from various companies, who also have hardware located at these sites. Since there are numerous customers at each location, these numbers hopefully show just how small of percentage the WMF footprint is compared to the overall (entire data center building) load. Hope this helps a bit. Thanks! (posted on behalf of Willy) deb (talk) 13:11, 29 September 2021 (UTC)Reply
Thank you, Deb, for helping to find the "purple numbers", that would mean a lot. --Gnom (talk) 20:56, 27 September 2021 (UTC)Reply
Thanks Deb! Clearly this is a year dominated by the pandemic, and it shows in the scope 3 emissions. It's good to see that even CyrusOne is taking some baby steps. I have some comments, please forward them to the authors. (I don't expect you to have the time to answer everything!)
  1. It's a bit difficult to read such a report when non-standard metrics are used. It would be helpful to add numbers in the metric system, at least.
  2. What is included in scope 3 emissions? The definition "everything else" sounds unrealistic. Are we including the electricity consumption caused by the execution of the instructions we send our clients, e.g. CPU usage due to JavaScript on Wikimedia wikis?
  3. What equipment bought by WMF is included in these calculations?
  4. I see that part of the reduction in scope 2 emissions is attributed to the fact that "Electricity consumption at the San Francisco office decreased by over 27%". Was the corresponding increase in electricity usage at the employees' homes tracked in scope 3?
  5. At p. 6 it's stated that «Total Building Consumption Information prorated for WMF % of total area». This is underwhelming. Are there plans to track more closely what's the real consumption, for instance by installing thermal and electric metering on those floors? Consumption is affected for instance by temperature settings; without measuring, it's impossible to tell whether the office is being used more responsibly.
  6. I'm extremely confused by the very different units used for the datacenters. Digital Reality's measure by tCO2 per "occupied kW", seems the most realistic. I don't understand how the measures relative to the area occupied are used: does this mean that the DC's consumption was prorated to the WMF based on space rather than actual electricity consumption? Also, does Digital Reality only report carbon impact of electricity because they don't use any other energy source for heating etc.?
  7. What plans are there to use more comparable metrics in the future? For instance, I would suppose that the easiest way to calculate the carbon impact of colocated servers would be to get the carbon impact of the entire DC, divide it by the total W delivered to the customers' PSU, and then multiply by our measured power intake. Without accurate measuring, it's impossible to tell whether WMF is doing better or worse: for instance, square meters used tell us nothing about how power efficient the servers and PSUs are.
  8. "Data Center emissions do not include Scope 1 diesel combustion from back-up generators." This is an important note. Given the Texas DC is connected to an extremely fragile and outdated power grid, which suffered extensive outages in 2021, it will be important for the 2021 statistics to get information on the carbon impact of the alternative generation at least for the days/weeks when the power grid collapsed.
  9. In general, this report does not seem to include any mention of any activity undertaken by WMF to reduce its carbon impact in the various areas. Does this mean that nothing is being done, and instead the carbon reduction goals will be outsourced to suppliers?
Nemo 07:10, 10 September 2021 (UTC)Reply
Hi @Nemo bis: thanks for the questions and indeed, I don't have all the answers for you and for some of the questions, I don't think we'll ever get answers for them (just being honest). However, here is what I can answer:
  1. we don't have a way to measure the electricity consumption caused by the execution of the instructions we send our clients, e.g. CPU usage due to JavaScript on Wikimedia wikis, as far as I know, there are just too many variables.
  2. We have also not tracked electricity usage at employees' homes.
  3. For the TX power outages in 2021, we hope to get more information on the diesel combustion from back-up generators that might have been used, but that is up to the data centers to provide; I don't know if they are planning to release that information. And, if they did release that information, it might well be impossible to tell how much was due to WMF usage.
  4. I will definitely suggest that we use more standard units of measurement and try to make it consistent across the carbon footprint report for next year.
  5. We, as a foundation, have pledged to do better with travel and have implemented several new practices - once travel becomes a thing we do again, noting that we're still in the midst of a global pandemic where travel is restricted. Thanks, deb (talk) 20:47, 20 September 2021 (UTC)Reply
Thank you for the answers. Unfortunately, as far as I understand this means that this report does not contain metrics which would tell us whether WMF is doing better or worse at energy efficiency. Mostly we'll know whether the WMF suppliers are doing something or not. That's a useful information to have, but does not help catalyze action within WMF. (If I were a WMF employee, I would be discouraged by the thought that, even if working hard to reduce carbon impact deriving from WMF's actions, I would not see the result of said work in this report.) It would be good to state the limitations of the report somewhere, and in particular drop that "everything else" for scope 3 emissions, or specify that the figures are lower bounds. Nemo 21:33, 22 September 2021 (UTC)Reply

Harvard endowment and carbon divestment[edit]

Harvard announced that «As we reported last June, HMC has no direct investments in companies that explore for or develop further reserves of fossil fuels» and «legacy investments are in runoff mode and will end as these partnerships are liquidated». Most reports have interpreted this to mean that Harvard has sold all its direct stakes in fossil fuel producers as well as public funds which have stakes in them, but keeps some private equity. No information is provided on the carbon intensity apart from a goal of net zero by 2050.

Some of the news reports are clearly exaggerated, for instance Harvard has said nothing about fossil fuel consumers like power generation businesses, so it might still own a number of coal power plants for all we know. That said, it's remarkable that Harvard, with such a huge fund, was more nimble than WMF, which is still a shareholder in ExxonMobil etc. I would expect WMF to be able to reach net zero carbon intensity in its investments by 2025, given the much smaller amounts involved. It's rather easy to replace each ETF with its fossil-free equivalent, and ways can be devised to offset what's left. Nemo 07:21, 10 September 2021 (UTC)Reply

Exxon is bullying a mayor who wants to protect its community from climate disaster. Your regular reminder that WMF is complicit, as long as it doesn't divest. Nemo 17:34, 18 October 2021 (UTC)Reply

Carbon impact from investment[edit]

S&P now publishes easy to digest numbers on the carbon intensity of its indices, something that WMF's index providers appear to be laggards in. To have an approximate idea of the carbon intensity of WMF's overall investment we can probably compare one index to the other [2] and conclude that it will be in the ballpark of 54, 133 and 261 tCO2e/$1M invested, for an average of 111 per M$ invested in equities. At 100 M$ in assets, the estimated 7300 tCO2e/y in emissions of the Wikimedia Endowment equities alone are almost three times the emissions so far disclosed by WMF. Quite the omission. Nemo 07:26, 26 October 2021 (UTC)Reply

UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons[edit]

Given the Wikimedia Foundation Human Rights Policy, will WMF join the nuclear divestment? Nemo 12:23, 6 January 2022 (UTC)Reply

Climate workshop - action starts with community[edit]

Our planet continues to face an ever changing and urgent climate crises, and access to neutral, fact-based, and current information about it has never been so important than now. Bringing our virtual Wikimedia communities together to learn and to help build a strong collaborative global network that is ready to tackle the shared challenges that are shaping our world, including the climate crisis, is so important.

In partnership with Teams for a Better Planet, the Wikimedia Foundation will present a workshop dealing with the global climate crisis - Race to Net Zero. This workshop will have interactive, team-building sessions with educational content, discussions and innovative approaches to problem-solving. The goal is to present clear, actionable information about the causes of climate change and the solutions we must rapidly scale to meet this challenge, and to host conversations to help build our community of practice. We are excited to encourage active peer-to-peer learning, reflection, and thoughtful discussions that will bring teams closer together while empowering individuals to take action.

The Race to Net Zero[edit]

Join a special event hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation!

  • Thursday, 24 February 2022 at 1500 UTC
  • Participate live via Zoom

Please join us for this special workshop – there is a maximum of 25 people that can join, and the session will last for approximately 2 hours; sign-up below. This workshop will not be recorded and sign-up is on a first come, first served basis. After completion of the workshop, there will be a certificate of participation available.

About the workshop[edit]

Science-based targets, carbon neutrality, net zero emissions – these terms show up on a daily basis in headlines, press releases, corporate climate goals and everyday conversation. But what do these terms actually mean for companies, governments and individuals? Are we on track to reach our climate goals? In this session, we learn all about setting strong climate commitments and give you the tools to understand the ambition of the public pledges that companies and governments are making and evaluate their progress toward realizing these goals.

In this workshop, you’ll come away with:[edit]

  • Understanding of key language and terms
  • Actionable schema for reducing and eliminating CO2 across sectors and scales
  • Understanding of carbon footprinting, including Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions
  • Framework for carbon reduction measurement and accountability
  • Enhanced headline interpretation skills

Sign up![edit]

For the Race to Net Zero workshop happening on Thursday, 24 February 2022 at 1500 UTC:
Note: Once you've signed up, please email deb @ wikimedia.org for more detailed information.

Name / User Name (up to 25 participants)

  1. NANöR (talk) 13:27, 11 February 2022 (UTC)Reply
  2. Ptinphusmia (talk) 13:49, 11 February 2022 (UTC)Reply
  3. Tinyspec514 (talk) 20:30, 11 February 2022 (IST)
  4. --Gnom (talk) 22:42, 11 February 2022 (UTC)Reply
  5. --Jirka Dl (talk) 15:15, 14 February 2022 (UTC)Reply
  6. ...RDamenshiebrown (WMF) (talk) 14:21, 15 February 2022 (UTC)Reply
  7. ANKAN (talk) 14:33, 15 February 2022 (UTC)Reply
  8. Hasnat Abdullah (talk)15:10, 15 February 2022 (UTC)Reply
  9. J. N. Squire (talk) 22:13, 15 February 2022 (UTC)Reply
  10. IqbalHossain (talk) 05:18, 17 February 2022 (UTC)Reply
  11. ZI Jony (talk) 09:40, 17 February 2022 (UTC)Reply
  12. Naznin S. Niti (talk) 10:18, 17 February 2022 (UTC)Reply
  13. Saikattanu (talk) 03:01, 18 February 2022 (UTC)Reply
  14. KSiebert (talk) 09:28, 18 February 2022 (UTC)Reply
  15. --Cbrescia (talk) 17:10, 20 February 2022 (UTC)Reply
  16. Daria Cybulska (WMUK) (talk) 10:29, 21 February 2022 (UTC)Reply
  17. Alhassan Mohammed Awal (talk) 15:50, 21 February 2022 (UTC)Reply
  18. Golam Mukit ☆ (Talk) 10:23, 24 February 2022 (UTC)Reply
  19. ...
  20. ...
  21. ...
  22. ...
  23. ...
  24. ...
  25. ...


Editː time for Climate workshop - action starts with community[edit]


Apologies all, I made a mistake on the time for this event - it is at 1500 UTC not 1300 UTC as previously published.

deb (talk) 14:01, 14 February 2022 (UTC)Reply

Editː length of session for Climate workshop - action starts with community[edit]

Apologies again - the previously sent calendar invitation was originally sent for one hour and the workshop is for two hours. Please make adjustments as needed, to be able to attend the entire workshop. Thanks! deb (talk) 13:58, 22 February 2022 (UTC)Reply

WikiProject Women in Red - Climate[edit]

Hello friends, Our year-long initiative at WikiProject Women in Red this year focuses on Women and Climate - scientists and activists, both past and present who are working to combat the climate crisis. The initiative has not had the take up we hoped for (so far), so we wondered if folks here could help to share the idea with your networks? Or if you've got more ideas on how we might make this really important work better known, please let us know on our talk page. If you're working on a biography of a relevant woman, it would be fantastic if you could add it to the project page, and add WIR-214 as a template on the article's talk page! It doesn't matter whether it's a new page, or editing climate work into an existing one. Happy editing! Lajmmoore (talk) 08:40, 23 February 2022 (UTC)Reply

Climate workshopː Risk and Resilience[edit]

Thanks to those who participated in the Race to Net Zero climate workshop that was held on February 24, 2022 and hosted by Teams for a Better Planet! It was an insightful session and based on the overall experience, participation, and knowledge sharing, we'd like to offer another two hour workshop focusing on Risk and Resilience, on March 9th, 2022.

Please join us for this special climate workshop – there is a maximum of 25 people that can join, and the session will last for approximately 2 hours; the zoom meeting will have English subtitles enabled. This workshop will not be recorded and sign-up is on a first come, first served basis. After completion of the workshop, there will be a certificate of participation available.

A bit about the Risk and Resilience session:
We as global stewards have a big job. Not only must we reduce and eliminate carbon from the atmosphere, we must also prepare our communities and infrastructure for the environmental changes already baked into the system. But what are the risks associated with rising global temperatures and where do they show up? What is our role in fortifying communities and preparing for inevitable climate changes? And how do we ensure we address climate risk equitably across our cities, states, countries and the globe?

In this workshop, you’ll come away with:

  • Comprehensive understanding of climate risk on both a micro and macro scale
  • An understanding of the importance of making decisions through a climate justice lens
  • Tools for community preparedness and protection
  • How to identify and support communities facing outsized risk
  • Community-led case studies for inclusive planning for resilience

Sign up![edit]

Sign up here for the Risk and Resilience two hour workshop on Thursday, 09 March 2022 at 1500 UTC:
Important note: Once you've signed up below, please email deb @ wikimedia.org for the zoom meeting link

Name / User Name (up to 25 participants)

  1. Emilio Velis (talk) 18:54, 3 March 2022 (UTC)Reply
  2. ...Justine Msechu
  3. J. N. Squire (talk) 14:02, 9 March 2022 (UTC)Reply
  4. ...


Is this workshop being advertised to Wikimedia Foundation staff too? Are there internal training programs for Wikimedia Foundation staff on the issues of climate change? Nemo 09:22, 27 March 2022 (UTC)Reply

Carbon impact of client-side computing[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation discloses a metric of carbon impact due to datacenter electricity usage: "11.26 kWh per 1M pageviews" for 2020. (This figure has significant issues, but see above at #Annual carbon footprint and sustainability impact statement reports published for calendar year 2020 for that.)

I've always wondered how big a proportion of the total carbon impact of a page load this might be, given the power usage of client-side devices, their networking etc. tends to be significant. There are a few studies in this field but not many I'd rely on. I found a few which can provide some usable figures:

  1. Pourghassemi, Behnam; Bonecutter, Jordan; Li, Zhou; Chandramowlishwaran, Aparna (5 February 2020). "adPerf: Characterizing the Performance of Third-party Ads". arXiv:2002.05666 [cs]. 
  2. Chauhan, Jagmohan; Kaafar, Mohamed Ali; Mahanti, Anirban (2015-11-27). "The Web for Under-Powered Mobile Devices: Lessons learned from Google Glass". arXiv:1507.01677 [cs]. 
  3. Varvello, Matteo; Katevas, Kleomenis; Plesa, Mihai; Haddadi, Hamed; Bustamante, Fabian; Livshits, Ben (2022-01-29). "BatteryLab: A Collaborative Platform for Power Monitoring". arXiv:2201.12614 [cs]. 

From Varvello et al. we learn that «energy (J) consumed across websites [...] the other devices, with most websites (∼80%) consuming between 10 and 20 J». That's by using Brave, so without most client-side energy consumption cauesed by ads, which Pourghassemi et al. estimate to be about one third. So, if we assume Wikimedia wikis are in the lower end of most ad-free websites, we probably need to add something in the region of 10 MJ or 2.8 kWh to the energy consumption per 1M pageviews. They also provide an estimate of 0.5-1 W consumed while interacting with websites.

After the estimates of direct energy consumption by Wikimedia Foundation servers are fixed, it's probably worth asking Strategic Sustainability Consulting (or a competitor) to commission some rough estimates of client-side power consumption considering at very least a few factors we already monitor for performance and other reasons, such as mobile vs. desktop, screen size, maybe time spent loading/interacting.

Alternatively, if the goal were to assess trends of the Wikimedia Foundation's direct contribution to carbon emissions, it turns out that some simple metrics may already give us most of what we need. According to Chauhan et al., there is a very strong correlation (0.8) between power usage and bytes downloaded (or web objects contained in a page). So, simply measuring the average weight of web pages served by the Wikimedia Foundation, or even the total bandwidth served by Varnish, could be enough to tell in what direction we're going. Nemo 12:45, 11 June 2022 (UTC)Reply

Environmental Sustainability (Carbon Footprint) Report for 2021 & Board Resolution update[edit]

Today, we've published the Environmental Sustainability (Carbon Footprint) report for calendar year 2021 with an accompanying blog post.

The Board of Trustees met last week and among other things, updated their resolution on Environmental Sustainability Commitments. deb (talk) 16:24, 27 June 2022 (UTC)Reply

  • Thanks! I've not read the report yet but I want to say that the changes reported in the blog post sound sensible. Nemo 17:46, 27 June 2022 (UTC)Reply
  • Ok, I have my first question. At p. 17 I see that "real" power usage was estimated: if this completely supplanted the estimates based on area occupied, that's very good! However, the GHG emissions from said electricity usage are calculated with «Emission Factors for GHG inventories, EPA (2021); Google report for Singapore and Netherlands; Statista for France», and I'm not quite sure how this can reflect for instance the weeks when Eqiad was probably/potentially running on diesel generators due to the breakdown of the Texas power grid. Nemo 17:54, 27 June 2022 (UTC)Reply

Environmental Sustainability Report for 2022[edit]

Today, we've published the Wikimedia Foundation's Environmental Sustainability Report for calendar year 2022 with an accompanying blog post. EMorris (WMF) (talk) 14:16, 20 April 2023 (UTC)Reply