Hey Google: The Business Case of Environmental Sustainability in Developing Corporate Social Responsibility


  • Shawna-Rae McLean Thompson Rivers University


Google, environment, sustainability, business, corporate social responsibility, ethics


What Google wants is to power the world with technology, namely their technology, and in doing so make the worldâs information universally accessible and useful (Google, 2017). With a lofty goal of empowering four billion global citizens (adding to the existing three billion) with the benefits of information, their business case strategy has become one of sustainability (Google, 2017). The company realizes that the necessary resources for their technology, energy and water, are becoming increasingly scarce (Google, 2017; Hensel, 2011). Additionally, Google acknowledges the impacts and externalities of the creation of technologies on the environment, specifically its contributions to of climate change. By entrenching major sustainability practices within their corporate structure, Google increases their triple bottom line while satisfying shareholders and stakeholders simultaneously (Slaper and Hall, 2011). This is seen through food waste reductions, renewable energies, and investment in efficient infrastructures (Google, 2017; Richey and Taylor, 2018; Gunders, 2012). Their initiatives do not go uncriticized, pegging Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a self-interested marketing tool and corporate monopoly, which affects market prices and individual agency. However, the aim of this work is not to focus on whether Google is just âanother bad corporation,â as critics emphasize, but rather to delve deeper into the good they leverage into daily accountability. Therefore, using direct examples of Googleâs sustainability initiatives and drawing upon theory, the capacity of CSR to foster ingenuity and innovation growth within multinational corporations is shown, highlighting the benefits to profits, people, and the planet.