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Google, the biggest and most famous subsidiary of parent company Alphabet, is unquestionably a sustainability leader in the business world. 

In 2007, it became the first major company to have carbon-neutral operations. Ten years later, it became the first major company to meet its electricity needs using 100 percent renewables. In March 2022, corporate accountability watchdog As You Sow reported that Google is doing a good job of reducing its carbon emissions, a standard met by only five other companies in its report. Google’s climate goals are objectively ambitious and it maintains a huge emphasis on renewable energy. 

So, it’s disappointing that in the 2022 election cycle alone, Google’s political action committee gave $229,500 to the politicians with the worst environmental track records in Congress, a figure 88 percent higher than the average amount given to the same group by other corporate PACs in the UNFK database. These are politicians with a history of voting not only against the laws that protect the natural world but also of blocking the voting rights measures that would give BIPOC people more power to fight the pollution that disproportionately impacts their communities

Google also has a relationship with both the Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable, two lobbying groups that have a long history of fighting strong environmental policy. In fact, right now both groups are publicly opposing a historic SEC proposal that, if adopted, would require big companies to report their carbon emissions. 

Think about all that for a second. Google, a company that claims to build sustainability into everything it does, has a corporate PAC that gives hundreds of thousands to the most fossil fuel-loving, renewable energy-hating, clean water-polluting, people of color-disenfranchising politicians on the Hill. It associates with two big lobbying groups that oppose exactly the kind of detailed environmental reporting that Google itself has been doing for over a decade. 

Is Google engaging in a sophisticated form of greenwashing? Until its policy actions match its environmental ones, we have to conclude it is. Google and, by extension, YouTube and Android, can’t claim to be sustainability heroes while stuffing money into the pockets of the biggest climate villains in Washington.

Factors affecting Alphabet’s UNFK score

  • Has a relationship with the US Chamber of Commerce and/or its affiliates: yes
  • Has a relationship with Business Roundtable: yes
  • Has a relationship with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC): not likely
  • InfluenceMap Grade: B-
  • Carbon Disclosure Project: Climate Change Grade: A
  • Science Based Targets Initiative Commitment: Near Committed
  • As You Sow Racial Justice Score (0-100): 50
  • As You Sow Road to Net Zero Score (0-18): 13
  • Banking Score (0-100): 0

Alphabet’s contributions last election cycle: 2022

(source: Open Secrets)

Alphabet’s Total PAC Contributions to Climate FKers:


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Alphabet’s Total Individual Contributions to Climate FKers:


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Total amount Alphabet contributed to Climate FKers (PAC + Individual Contributions)


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Alphabet’s PAC and employees contributed funds to the campaigns of 75 Climate FKers

Patrick’s Portrait
Patrick T. McHenry

Republican Representative from North Carolina

They gave Patrick $75,750

John’s Portrait
John Thune

Republican Senator from South Dakota

They gave John $13,800

Don’s Portrait
Don Bacon

Republican Representative from Nebraska

They gave Don $13,300

How Alphabet Can Raise Its Score

  • Cut ties with Business Roundtable and Chamber of Commerce (and affiliates)
  • Stop contributions to congresspeople with lifetime LCV scores of 20 and below
  • Include environmental justice as part of company’s overall racial justice stance
  • Define a year (with SBTi) by which company will achieve net zero emissions
  • Ensure the company’s business operations are environmentally just