CSR and Sustainability at Facebook


Facebook, the leading social network of the world has more than 2.85 billion members. It is the most popular social networking site and also an innovative company founded by Mark Zuckerberg. Apart from his talent and leadership, Zuckerberg is also known for his charitable activities. He and his wife Priscilla Chan founded the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in 2015. The focus of the initiative is upon science, education, justice and economic opportunity.  Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have pledged to donate around 99% of their Facebook shares during their lifetime.  In 2017, the couple donated $1.9 billion to the initiative.

From education to social justice and building a healthier community, the initiative is using the power of technology in each of these areas to change lives. According to Priscilla Chan, “We want to point the promise of technology towards the challenges that will shape the future for our kids. So we’re enabling engineers and technologists to further empower those on the front lines, teachers, advocates, scientists, to take on those big problems that we face as a society”. Technology is a  great tool to bring higher social equality and for the empowerment of the poor and the marginalized as well as addressing several other problems affecting millions of lives the planet. Apart from its focus on CSR, Facebook also excels in the area of sustainability. Environment is also an important concern and Facebook is investing both cash and technological resources into it to solve the environmental challenges. The brand partners other organisations also  as a part of its CSR and Sustainability strategy.

Corporate social responsibility:

The main focus areas for Facebook in the field of Corporate Social responsibility are education, technology, social justice and economic opportunity. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is the main platform through which the Facebook founder invests in philanthropic activities.

Education :-

In  the field of education, CZI partners with students, educators, and families for creating  tools and programs and providing support that makes it easier to apply the science of learning and human development. The summit learning program is a special program built keeping the needs of students in mind and designed to help them meet their needs and goals in best ways possible. The education team at CZI partners with educators to provide continual support for this program. There is a special education team that consults teachers and educators to build tools and programs which can fulfil the needs of students. The team tries to understand the complexities associated with today’s classrooms and accordingly provide resources and tools which can facilitate learning for students. The Summit Learning program also supports a mentoring program. Teachers are an important part of this program and embracing their viewpoint makes it easier to understand and tackle the challenges related to classroom learning.

Social Justice :-

Like education, CZI has dedicated a special team to social justice as well. The main focus areas of social justice program at CZI are Criminal Justice Reform, Housing affordability and immigration reform. In many cases, a criminal record even an arrest for a brief period which never led to conviction can become  a lifelong barrier to opportunities. In the field of Criminal Justice Reform, the focus is upon transforming prosecution and expanding opportunities. The company is also helping people find affordable housing and take million of immigrants who have become one with the American society, closer to citizenship.

Science and Technology:-

Science and technology is also a very important focus area for CZI. A special team focuses on scientific and technological developments which can solve biological and economic problems. It has created several projects and tools that make it easier for the scientists to continue with their research. Some of the most notable ones among these projects and tools include Meta, IDseq,  Human Cell Atlas and Starfish. Meta is an innovative AI enabled tool that helps the scientists discover biomedical research with ease. The focus of IDseq is detection and discovery of infectious diseases. IDseq offers the computational power, training, and data exploration tools to researchers and clinicians globally,making it easier to analyse data and generate insights. Similarly, the focus of Human Cell Atlas is  to create a reference map of all human cell types and that of image-based transcriptomics.


Facebook is also investing a lot in sustainability. On the one hand, while it drives efficiency and helps better manage the organisation’s environmental impact, on the other, there are larger benefits to be derived in the longer run including a better social image. At the same time, partnering with other organisations and providing them with the tools and resources that can help them achieve their sustainability goals is beneficial for the broader community. Most important focus areas for Facebook in the field of sustainability include climate change, renewable energy, water and sustainable workplaces.

Climate change: –

Facebook actively supports the ‘We Are Still In’ coalition that supports the Paris Agreement. The company reduced its GHG emissions from 2017 to 2018 by 44% and has achieved more than half of its 75% target.

Renewable Energy and water stewardship:

The goal of Facebook was to use 100% renewable energy to power all its facilities and processes by 2020.  Facebook had committed to renewable energy long back in 2011 only and started working in this direction. By 2018, it had achieved at least 75% of its full renewable energy target. The data centers of Facebook are among the most energy efficient ones in the world and Facebook also buys renewable energy from others to support its data centers and other processes. Moreover, when it opens a new data center, it also adds to the existing renewable energy grid. These data centers are also 80% more water efficient compared to the average data center. The company has prioritized water stewardship across its facilities and operations and is committed to creating circular systems that reuse as  much of water as possible.

Sustainable Supply Chain and Workplaces:

Facebook’s sustainability strategy also extends to its supply chain and workplaces where the focus is on minimizing emissions and managing environmental impact in most efficient ways possible. The company  is working with its supply chain partners to help them manage their human resources and work processes in a sustainable and effective manner. It has also engaged its supply chain partners in several areas including labor and responsible sourcing.

Workplaces at Facebook are subject to rigorous design standards in order to ensure that they are healthy and sustainable workplaces.  “Its Menlo Park headquarters includes a LEED® Platinum certification and all of Facebook data centers have achieved LEED® Gold certification. The aim behind creating sustainable workplaces is to maximize employee health and well-being as well as productivity.

Facebook Sustainability 2020 Highlights:

  • In 2020, Facebook achieved the net zero carbon emissions targe it had set in 2017. The company reducced carbon emissions by 94 percent and supported carbon removal projects to do so.
  • Facebook achieved 100 percent renewable e.nergy for its global operations. It now has more than 2.8 gigawatts of solar and wind energy projects online.
  • In 2020, Facebook locally restored around 5.8 million cubic meters of water in high water-stressed regions.
  • The company also worked actively to support the sustainability of its supply chain during the pandemic. It limproved its collaboration with priority suppliers, working to address labor, human rights, health and safety, and environmental issues across Facebook’s supply chain.
  • The company continued to expand its portfolio of climate products in 2020. It launched the climate sciece information center, which is a dedicated hub offering authoritative information from the leading climate science sources globally.
  • The company also expanded its susitainability initiatives in other aspects of its operations including datacenters and company workplaces.

Here is a list of Facebook’s priority environmental, social, and governance topics (ranked higher to lower):

  • Transparent and ethical business practices
  • Data privacy and consumer trust
  • Innovation and IP protection
  • Societal impact of products and services.
  • Data security
  • Human capital
  • Human rights and labor issues
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Water management
  • Energy and emissions
  • Climate resilience
  • Operational Waste
  • Access to internt/connectivity
  • Prodcut stewardship and circular economy
  • Community relations and engagement.