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Meta: Water Withdrawal in 2021

  • In 2021, Meta withdrew 5.04 million cubic meters of water, an increase of around 35.35% over 2020
  • Meta consumed 2.57 million cubic meters of water in 2021 which increased by 16.67% over 2020
  • Meta has a goal to become water positive by 2030

Water Withdrawal by Meta

Water is one of the critical environmental factors of ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance). Fresh and clean water is increasingly endangered despite being considered a plentiful renewable resource mainly due to population growth and economic activity leading to an increase in water demands and pollution.

According to United Nations, if current consumption and production patterns do not change, there will be a 40% shortfall in water supply by 2030. Companies are expected to face increased scrutiny such as limits on water withdrawal and tight regulations over their water use as global water resources face increased stress.

Big Tech needs a big amount of water to keep big servers in big data centers cool. It’s a fundamental element of the internet’s backend and core to each company’s business model. In October 2021, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft made respective pledges to replenish more water than they use by the next fifteen years.

As more businesses make water stewardship or positivity pledges, more stakeholders and consumers will start to pay attention to whether brands follow through on them. Boards, investors, and other business stakeholders will increase pressure on companies to make pledges and transparently report on progress.

Water Management by Meta

Meta Platforms Inc (Meta), formerly Facebook Inc, is a provider of social networking, advertising, and business insight solutions. The company, through its virtual-reality vision, the metaverse, focuses on developing a virtual environment that allows people to interact and connect with technology. Through its major products Facebook, Instagram, Oculus, Messenger, and WhatsApp, the company connects people with their friends, and families, and co-workers across the world, and helps them discover new products and services from local and global businesses. Meta sells advertising placements for marketers to reach people based on various factors including age, gender, location, interests, and behavior.

In 2021, Meta withdrew 5.04 million cubic meters of water, an increase of around 35.35% over 2020.  Of the total water withdrawn by Meta in 2021, 5.01 million cubic meters (99.33%) was sourced from third parties such as municipal water supply.

The company discharged 2.34 million cubic meters of water in 2021 which increased by 3.82% over 2020. The total water consumption by Meta was 2.57 million cubic meters in 2021. Data centers have the most amount of water consumption (93.66%), followed by offices (6.31%). Meta also recycled 0.58 million cubic meters of water in 2021.

Meta has a goal to become water positive by 2030. To achieve this goal, the company will restore 200% of the water it consumes in high-water stress areas, and 100% of the water it consumes in medium-water stress areas. Meta also aims to reduce workplace and data center water use and improve the quality of discharged water and invest in water restoration projects in the watersheds where the company operates.

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