Google Employees Write Open Letter. Demand Climate Action

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Workers protest against Google's handling of sexual misconduct allegations at the company's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Early Novermber 2019 1,100 Google employees wrote an open letter to CFO Ruth Porat asking for a climate plan that incorporates specific asks that have similarly been set by workers at other tech companies, including Amazon and Microsoft. 

They called for:

  • Zero emissions by 2030;
  • No contracts that enable or accelerate the extraction of fossil fuels
  • No funding for think tanks, lobbyists or politicians who deny climate change
  • No collaborating with those enabling “incarceration, surveillance, displacement, or oppression of refugees or frontline communities.”

The workers belonged to a group called Google Workers For Action on Climate.

Google Launches Social Impact Startups Accelerator

Google, early November 2019, recently launched a Startups Accelerator focused on sustainable development goals. Geared toward social impact startups working to create a healthier and more sustainable future, the accelerator provides access to training, products and technical support. Startup founders will work with Google engineers and receive mentoring from over 20 teams at Google, as well as outside experts and local mentors. 

Kate-Brandt

A note by Kate Brandt, Google Chief Sustainability Officer, said Google will select the startups based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals including poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice.

Applications will open for startups from across Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the next few weeks and eight to ten startups will take part in a six-month accelerator program in early 2020. A second cohort will be selected later in the year. 

She said the program is designed to address the unique challenges founders face when building a social impact company: 

Product and engineering expertise

People with social impact expertise don’t always have experience building tech products. So our program seeks to bring startups together with the best technology products, data and people to help them build expertise. Excerpts from her note:

Business development

Monetization for social impact startups is complex and can involve multiple parties: The people who pay for it may not be the people who use it, or the people who benefit from it. Our accelerator will help founders connect with the audiences they need to, such as potential users, investors and advertisers. 

Access to funding

While investors are increasingly seeing the value in social impact startups, there are unique challenges in attracting the right investors, and competing with traditional startups who are focused primarily on growth or acquisition. This accelerator will help participants connect and work with a wider base of potential investors.   

The new accelerator is part of Google for Startups which help startups build and scale great products by matching them with the best of Google. https://blog.google/around-the-globe/google-europe/supporting-social-impact-startups/

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