Talk:Sustainability Initiative

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Talk page archive[edit]

See Talk:Sustainability Initiative/Archives

Carbon offsetting: whether to use it and if so how?[edit]

Some of the discussion above mentions carbon offsets as a possible mitigation. It doesn't make sense to offset where emissions can be avoided by changing the energy source (i.e. with servers), but it might make sense to offset where emissions are unavoidable (i.e. with intercontinental travel).

I thought it might be helpful to create a separate section to try to create consensus around:

  • whether carbon offsets are worth using at all, and
    • if not, what to do instead; or
    • if so, whether the WMF should be encouraged to partner with a specific provider.

Zazpot (talk) 05:18, 9 November 2017 (UTC)

Hi Zazpot, I agree with you on this. --Gnom (talk) Let's make Wikipedia green! 11:37, 2 April 2018 (UTC)
Google just announced that its total purchase of renewable energy in 2017 exceeded the amount of electricity used by Google's worldwide operations. --Gnom (talk) Let's make Wikipedia green! 16:07, 7 April 2018 (UTC)

Should WMF offset air travel emissions? If not, then what; if so, then with whom?[edit]

  • Cautious no. Although some carbon offsetting schemes are likely to be genuinely effective, many have ended in failure, and numerous efforts to sort the genuine ones from the charlatans have not been kept up-to-date.[1][2] Because of the difficulty identifying effective offset schemes, I would prefer the WMF to instead:
  1. Adopt a decentralised Wikimania:
    • keep having a rotating host city in a different country each year; but
    • spend some of the event's funding on providing meetup spaces in cities around the world with existing concentrations of Wikimedians, for the duration of the event, and encourage participants to teleconference in from those meetups instead.
  2. Adopt a travel policy stating that in order to be reimbursed for travel expenses, WMF staff and volunteers travelling on WMF business must travel by bus, rail or carpool instead of car, taxi or air, as long as the cost of the former would be no more than twice the cost of the latter. Zazpot (talk) 05:18, 9 November 2017 (UTC)
Hi Zazpot, what do you think about this project? Microsoft Leads Movement to Offset Emissions With Internal Carbon Tax --Gnom (talk) Let's make Wikipedia green! 11:37, 2 April 2018 (UTC)
Hi Gnom, first thoughts: that article is an obvious PR coup for Micro$oft. I would encourage everybody to be sceptical of anything that Micro$oft says - especially if it is something that makes them look good - unless it has been externally audited by a trustworthy, independent team that has access to internal documents and that lacks conflicts of interest. It isn't clear that this has happened here. Even if the underlying facts are true, the New York Times should know better than to publish a piece that is so heavy on hagiography and so light on verifiability.
As for internal carbon pricing, I suppose the key quote is:

“When we started talking about carbon emissions not in metric tons, but in terms of dollar amount, the business people could understand it,” Ms. DiCaprio said. “We’re all speaking the same language now: What is the cost to my group?”

If an organisation's staff needs, as Microsoft's staff apparently does, environmental impact to be translated into dollar cost to business unit in order for the organisation to best reduce environmental impact, then yes, it makes sense to perform that translation. Otherwise, performing the translation is just unnecessary overhead. So, in the context of the WMF, the question would seem to be: is the WMF staffed with people who would most effectively reduce environmental impact only with the aid of such a translation? Answer that, and the answer to the question of whether or not to adopt an internal carbon-equivalent tax should be clear.
This is easier said than done, of course. If the WMF has not already piloted such a scheme, or anything like it, then they probably do not know, objectively, the answer to that question. So, perhaps they should try a small scale pilot - perhaps covering just two or three "business units", with another two or three as controls - to start forming an answer to that question. Zazpot (talk) 16:30, 2 April 2018 (UTC)

Sustainable investment policy adopted by Wikimedia Italia[edit]

See wmit:Politica di investimento finanziario. Apart from some local ethical financial instruments, in short the board has directed the president to (only) buy ETFs with an ESG score in Morningstar of 4/5 or more, or similar. Of course there are more sophisticated ways to do this, but WMIT only needs to park relatively small amounts of money for not so long periods in a sensible way. More information will follow. Thanks, Nemo 16:22, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

Wow, that's wonderful, Nemo! I'm currently looking into this topic as well, so I'm excited to hear more. --Gnom (talk) Let's make Wikipedia green! 18:29, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
For now I've translated the two most interesting criteria: wmit:Politica di investimento finanziario/en. Note that the ETF options available for our case (rather short-term investment) are very limited compared to a case like the Wikimedia Endowment's, and we probably won't actually buy any for several more months as it will take some time to implement the policy. --Nemo 18:47, 16 March 2018 (UTC)