Categories: Sustainability

Mozilla’s journey to environmental sustainability

Process, strategic goals, and next steps

The programme may be new, but the process has been shaping for years: In March 2020, Mozilla officially launched a dedicated Environmental Sustainability Programme, and I am proud and excited to be stewarding our efforts.

Since we launched, the world has been held captive by the COVID-19 pandemic. People occasionally ask me, “Is this really the time to build up and invest in such a large-scale, ambitious programme?” My answer is clear: Absolutely.

A sustainable internet is built to sustain economic well-being and meaningful social connection, just as it is mindful of a healthy environment. Through this pandemic, we’re reminded how fundamental the internet is to our social connections and that it is the baseline for many of the businesses that keep our economies from collapsing entirely. The internet has a significant carbon footprint of its own — data centers, offices, hardware and more require vast amounts of energy. The climate crisis will have lasting effects on infrastructure, connectivity and human migration. These affect the core of Mozilla’s business. Resilience and mitigation are therefore critical to our operations.

In this world, and looking towards desirable futures, sustainability is a catalyst for innovation.

To embark on this journey towards environmental sustainability, we’ve set three strategic goals:

  • Reduce and mitigate Mozilla’s operational impact;
  • Train and develop Mozilla staff to build with sustainability in mind;
  • Raise awareness for sustainability, internally and externally.

We are currently busy conducting our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) baseline emissions assessment, and we will publish the results later this year. This will only be the beginning of our sustainability work. We are already learning that transparently and openly creating, developing and assessing GHG inventories, sustainability data management platforms and environmental impact is a lot harder than it should be, given the importance of these assessments.

If Mozilla, as an international organisation, struggles with this, what must that mean for smaller non-profit organisations? That is why we plan to continuously share what we learn, how we decide, and where we see levers for change.

 

Four principles that guide us:

Be humble

We’re new to this journey and the larger environmental movement as well as recognising that the mitigation of our own operational impact won’t be enough to address the climate crisis. We understand what it means to fuel larger movements that create the change we want to see in the world. We are leveraging our roots and experience towards this global, systemic challenge.

Be open

We will openly share what we learn, where we make progress, and how our thinking evolves — in our culture as well as in our innovation efforts. We intend to focus our efforts and thinking on the internet’s impact. Mozilla’s business builds on and grows with the internet. We understand the tech, and we know where and how to challenge the elements that aren’t working in the public interest.

Be optimistic

We approach the future in an open-minded, creative and strategic manner. It is easy to be overwhelmed in the face of a systemic challenge like the climate crisis. We aim to empower ourselves and others to move from inertia towards action, working together to build a sustainable internet. Art, strategic foresight, and other thought-provoking engagements will help us imagine positive futures we want to create.

Be opinionated

Mozilla’s mission drives us to develop and maintain the internet as a global public resource. Today, we understand that an internet that serves the public interest must be sustainable. A sustainable internet is built to sustain economic wellbeing and meaningful social connection; it is also mindful of the environment. Starting with a shared glossary, we will finetune our language, step up, and speak out to drive change.

 

I look forward to embarking on this journey with all of you.