Commercial, Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions - December 18, 2020
Upwork achieves carbon neutrality with focus on eliminating employee commuting
Upwork announced Dec. 17 that it achieved carbon neutrality for the first time in 2019 and plans to remain carbon neutral going into the future.
This was the first time the online work marketplace released a carbon emissions report and with this achievement, the company plans to further lower its emissions in the future. The company achieved its carbon neutral status through factors like sourcing renewable energy for certain offices and switching to the use of Amazon Web Services facilities instead of onsite servers, which significantly cut operational and equipment energy use.
Upwork also purchased RECs and carbon offsets from Native Energy’s UN REDD in the Yaeda Valley project, which helps prevent deforestation in Tanzania.
“At Upwork, it is our belief that being a successful business is not enough, we must also be an accountable one,” Hayden Brown, President and CEO of Upwork, said in a statement. “For us, this means both building a work marketplace and committing to values and initiatives as a company that are intrinsically climate-friendly. Remote work is a powerful force for growth in the economy, and this report demonstrates its benefits for the environment as well.”
The emissions report details the positive impact on the environment that Upwork’s business model of enabling remote and freelance work can have. A large contributor to its own carbon neutrality status was its hybrid model of a team of employees and contracted workers around the world, rather than conducting an entire team in person. In 2019, 73% of Upwork’s workforce had no commute time at all, and in 2020 the company moved to a fully remote-first work model, further reducing emissions associated with employee travel and commuting.
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