Environmental sustainability at GitHub

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At GitHub, we believe in the extraordinary potential and power of a diverse, collaborative developer community to accelerate human progress. Just look at the first-ever powered flight on another planet as one amazing example of what developers can achieve together! Through the power of this community, we have an opportunity to make a positive, lasting impact on our planet, too.

In honor of Earth Day, I am excited to share GitHub’s commitment to building the environmentally sustainable home for all developers, so you can continue to write the software that the world depends on, knowing that we’re working to ensure that the platform you build on is contributing to the health of our planet.

Our approach

Our parent company, Microsoft, has made a sweeping set of commitments to combat climate change across carbon, water, waste and ecosystems. As a starting point, we have taken inspiration from their leadership and are making the following commitments of our own:

Carbon-free software

We envision a future where carbon-free software is standard—where software development, deployment, and use contribute to the global climate solution without every developer having to be an expert. Here’s how we are laying the groundwork for a carbon-free software future:

  • Carbon neutral since 2019: GitHub has been operating at net-zero carbon since July 2019, and all development on and use of GitHub.com since then has been carbon neutral.
  • 100% renewable energy by 2025: We’re on pace to power our current and projected energy needs with clean renewable energy by 2025.
  • Carbon negative by 2030: We are continually working to reduce our operational carbon intensity and will invest in carbon removal solutions to remove more carbon emissions than we create.
  • Remote workforce accountability: At GitHub, we have a remote-first culture, with the majority of our global team working remote part- or full-time (and, of course, we’re all remote right now). In addition to accounting for emissions related to work by Hubbers when they work from a GitHub office, we also account for the carbon footprint of Hubbers working remotely in our carbon reporting and renewable energy procurement efforts. We offset all emissions related to operating GitHub, including remote work.

Global circularity and zero-waste operations

Software development depends on an infrastructure built with finite resources. We are working to support a global shift to a circular economy that will perpetually keep products and raw materials in use, including computers, networking hardware, and cables. By optimizing our waste management practices, we will reduce consumption, prevent ecosystem contamination and protect global communities from pollution burdens. Here is how we are supporting circularity and aligning with zero-waste best practices:

  • Server circularity by 2025: We’re taking steps to support circularity by designing servers and decommissioning protocols that encourage repurposing our equipment and keeping our IT infrastructure out of landfills and recycling streams.
  • Zero-waste offices by 2025: While all Hubbers have been working from home during the pandemic, our offices have been optimized to achieve zero-waste certification. When our offices reopen, we will pursue certification at all GitHub offices globally, beginning with our San Francisco workspace. We’re also exploring ways to support Hubbers in reducing their individual waste footprints for remote work.
  • 75% C&D waste diversion: 75% of construction and demolition waste from GitHub office build-outs is diverted from landfills and incineration to achieve waste-related LEED certification credits and redirect recyclable recovered resources back to the manufacturing process and redirect reusable materials to appropriate sites.

Water conscious operations

Water is a core pillar of environmental sustainability, and some geographic regions do not have enough water to drink, grow food, or support ecosystem health. We calculate GitHub’s water footprint and have committed to replenishing the water that is consumed to support our operations. We’re taking these steps to achieve water sustainability:

  • Water positive by 2030: We are investing in water replenishment efforts and, by 2030, all water that we consume across our operations, including the water footprint of remote Hubbers, will be replenished with a focus on improving water security in water-stressed regions.
  • Water advocacy: All office build-outs follow LEED standards for water efficiency. Low-flow plumbing fixtures are included in standard design specs to reduce our water footprint. We have also engaged our landlords to advocate for water management best practices and low-flow plumbing fixtures in office lease agreements. We’re also exploring ways to enable remote Hubbers to reduce their individual water footprints.

What’s next?

Every line of code impacts our planet, and a carbon-negative future depends on conscious decisions during all phases of software development. We’re working to empower all developers to make sustainability-forward decisions as they go about the important work of building and shipping software. As with virtually all things, the greatest opportunity is for us to come together as a community to build tools that enable and automate sustainability-conscious or “green” decision-making. Our collective challenge is to incorporate green software decision-making into the DNA of software development, making it an embedded part of our everyday workflows.

We’re excited and committed to take on these challenges, and we’re looking forward to collaborating with you towards a greener future. Happy Earth Day!