Talk:Sustainability Initiative

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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)

Geocoordinates /Photos of protected plants and animals[edit]

In my opinion, an initative on Commons should be startet to sensitize users to environmental problems of geo-coordinates. Protected plants like Orchidaceae often are lifted by people. Also many protected plants are sensitive to soil compaction. It is no need to know where a protected bird has its nid. Y 've spoken about this problem with several people working for nature conservation authorities or cooperating with them. Most of them evaluate coordinates as an additional risk for protected plants and animals. --Belladonna2 (talk) 09:02, 25 June 2018 (UTC)

Feel free to do it but that's a different topic and has got nothing to do with this sustainability initiative. NNW (talk) 10:16, 25 June 2018 (UTC)
This behavior can seriously dammage species and also influence in a negative way wildlife conservation programs. Why should this not be a topic for a sustainability Initiative? --Belladonna2 (talk) 10:51, 25 June 2018 (UTC)
Is this one of the three main goals? No. There are many things that damage nature, coordinates in exif data may be one (but not necessarily like using coal as a source of energy), but it's also driving by car when you may take your bike or eating less meat. That all would help to save the planet but not everything can be goal of this initiative. NNW (talk) 11:12, 25 June 2018 (UTC)
Btw: addressee of this initiative are the foundation and the national chapters. They all do not upload photos of animals or plants with coordinates. You need to talk to the community. NNW (talk) 11:26, 25 June 2018 (UTC)
These coordinates will stay in web forever. The dammaging potential can not be reduced by an other behavior. This is the significant difference between your examples and my concern. I don`t understand why it`s not possible to discuss the topic. Sustainability means also wildlive conservation. Have you barred this goal from the initiative? And who is responsible for this? --Belladonna2 (talk) 11:30, 25 June 2018 (UTC)
I didn't write that it is impossible to discuss it. I just wrote that this is the wrong place. I am sure you are able to find the history of this page and the name of the user who created it. NNW (talk) 11:48, 25 June 2018 (UTC)
Hi, we touched on this topic at Wikimania 2015: "Non-copyright restrictions to free knowledge". --Gnom (talk) Let's make Wikipedia green! 20:43, 25 June 2018 (UTC)
I cannot see, that this topic has been discussed. I`ll show you now some articels dealing with this subjet.
Berichte der bayrischen botanischen Gesellschaft, Artikel Süddeutsche Zeitung, Landschaftsinformationssystem der Naturschutzverwaltung Rheinland-Pfalz
In my opinion the freedom of knowledge cannot ignore the situation of endangered species, which are threatended by the freedom of knowledge. In this regard, a discussion about approaches would be a really contribution to sustainability. --Belladonna2 (talk) 18:45, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
Yes, can you give a specific example concerning Wikipedia? --Gnom (talk) Let's make Wikipedia green! 22:01, 1 July 2018 (UTC)
On commons you'll find many photos taken of highly protected species with exact positioning. These dates are directly linked to Geohack. In which way these informations will be continued to use- for example by Google Earth- is incalculable. There is also a strong trend to postulate geo-coordinates in the context of competitions like Wiki loves Earth. Raising relevant user groups awareness of this topic would be a step in the right direction.--Belladonna2 (talk) 08:20, 2 July 2018 (UTC)
Thanks, can you point me to a few examples? --Gnom (talk) Let's make Wikipedia green! 09:24, 2 July 2018 (UTC)

Any updates?[edit]

Has anything major been done since Wikimedia 2015? Any chance for an update at the next metrics & activities meeting? Cheers, Daylen (talk) 20:45, 28 June 2018 (UTC)

Hi Daylen, thanks for asking! The information on the page is nearly up to date, with two exceptions:
  • On 19 June 2018, the Wikimedia Foundation published a new investment policy that names sustainability as a core objective. (Note: This policy is for the WMF's own investments, and not for the Wikimedia Endowment.)
  • The draft Wikimedia Foundation annual plan for 2018/2019 contains an Environmental Sustainability Program. The final version of the plan will probably be published tomorrow, 30 June 2018.
I will try to update the page soon. I'd be happy to give an update at the next Metrics and Activities Meeting, if requested! Kind regards, --Gnom (talk) Let's make Wikipedia green! 06:52, 29 June 2018 (UTC)
Done. --Gnom (talk) Let's make Wikipedia green! 05:04, 30 June 2018 (UTC)

Wiki Loves Vegan[edit]

Wiki Loves Vegan is a wiki community group advocating for vegan participation options at Wikimedia events.

Most events serving food at Wikimania for example do not have vegan options. When vegan options exist they often are not labeled. When social events serve food for some people but not others then that makes the event less accessible for broad participation. Vegan food is the most accessible food choice as every diet includes some vegan food.

There are many reasons why people choose veganism. Among them, en:Environmental vegetarianism to promote sustainable living is one reason.

How would the Sustainability Initiative feel about advocating that all major Wikimedia events have a clearly labeled vegan option at meals? Wiki Loves Vegan could coordinate discussion around this if the Sustainability Initiative can support the idea. Right now having vegan food is either haphazard or a luxury option. I would like for it to become a norm. Blue Rasberry (talk) 13:33, 25 September 2018 (UTC)

Hi User:Bluerasberry, making vegetarian or vegan food at events would obviously help. To my knowledge, this has already been tried and met with criticism from Latin American participants. --Gnom (talk) Let's make Wikipedia green! 17:09, 27 September 2018 (UTC)
@Gnom: Are you aware of any documentation on past experiments or requests? Do you have any recollection of where I could look to possibly find old discussions?
I think there is no need to make any fast decision but I wanted to put the idea out. Blue Rasberry (talk) 00:36, 28 September 2018 (UTC)
I think Wenke Storn (WMDE) and her team might know from the past Wikimedia Conferences. Kind regards, --Gnom (talk) Let's make Wikipedia green! 08:12, 28 September 2018 (UTC)
Hi Bluerasberry, hi Gnom, Unfortunately we don’t have any documented discussion or feedback regarding vegan food at the Wikimedia Conference or other bigger events we organize. In our event registration forms, we always ask for food preferences and provide vegetarian and vegan as options to choose from. Across all events, the percentage varies a lot – approx. 15-40% choose vegetarian, 3-8% choose vegan. It depends on the type of event and the respective participant/target groups. Wenke Storn (WMDE)

After it's really hard to say that it's responsible to continue business as usual with meat at events. Cf. Without having any hasty decision, Wikimedia Foundation could set a target for the events it funds, such as "reduce meat consumption by 90 %", and then leave the specific implementation to the organisers. --Nemo 10:55, 23 October 2018 (UTC)

Sustainable ETFs[edit]

Today on FT: BlackRock stakes claim on sustainable investing: Fink forecasts such ETF assets will rise from $25bn to over $400bn in a decade. Which reminds me I still have to share an earlier paper article on FT. --Nemo 10:46, 23 October 2018 (UTC)

Tetra Pak[edit]

Worth keeping a PR eye on given donations to WMF: --Nemo 15:41, 9 December 2018 (UTC)