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Google just launched a new program that seeks to promote the concept of a circular economy as the company believes that this initiative could help solve some of the world’s most elusive issues in the field of environmental care and eco-friendly corporate practices.

In a blog post published yesterday, Mike Werner, the leader of the Circular Economy team of the Google Global Sustainability initiative, summarized the problem by stating that humanity currently consumes “far more than what the planet can naturally replenish”.

Despite allowing mankind to advance at a fast pace in terms of innovation and industrial activity, the linear model – the prevailing scheme at the moment – has also caused “environmental harm, injustice, and disparities”, Werner acknowledged.

To help companies that are innovating in this up-and-coming field, Google is launching an initiative that aims to help startups to grow and succeed. The program was named the Google for Startups Accelerator: Circular Economy”.

Up to 15 Companies from North America and Asia-Pacific Will Participate

All entrepreneurs in North America and the Asia-Pacific region whose businesses promote the concept of a circular economy can send an application from 3 October to 14 November this year with the program being scheduled to commence in February 2023.

For this cohort, Google (GOOG) will be choosing from 10 to 15 organizations that are in an early stage of their development (seed to Series A) including non-profits.

The selected candidates will participate in a 10-week virtual program that will cover several technical areas of business along with mentorships, strategic support, and early access to the new products and services that will be launched by the search engine giant.

The accelerator is an equity-free program meaning that the startups that will be selected to participate will not have to give up ownership of their ventures.

“To create a circular economy that can be safer, sustainable, and more equitable for everyone, we need to rebuild our relationship with physical resources and how we make, process, use, and recycle them”, Werner commented in the blog post that announced the program’s creation.

The Environmental Impact of Google’s Practices Has Been Questioned Many Times

Despite its best efforts, Google’s businesses continue to be heavily associated with practices that are detrimental to the state of the environment. For example, the company runs an extensive network of data centers, all of which need significant amounts of water to function adequately.

A report from Time Magazine published in 2020 indicated that Google requires at least 1 million gallons of water a day to keep a data center running. However, the amount can multiply by four if the project expands as the firm expects.

Google is very secretive about how it uses water for cooling down its servers and has been reluctant to disclose the actual amount of the liquid it uses. However, petitions filed by the company with public utilities in various states have pointed to over 1 billion gallons of water being needed per year to power its facilities.

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Moreover, the company is also heavily invested in the smartphone market and depends on it in many ways as mobile ads and other similar revenue streams are critical to the company’s success.

The carbon footprint of smartphones is particularly worrying, especially during the manufacturing process where around 83% of the emissions associated with these products are said to occur.

Google has come up with many initiatives that seek to promote sustainability and the so-called circular economy but the company is far from shaping its own practices to reflect a true commitment to those concepts.

With that in mind, even though the accelerator may help businesses that are promoting the circular economy to achieve success, the true question is if the company is actively looking for alternatives to reduce the pollution that its own businesses cause.

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