Carbon and Energy

Carbon Neutrality

We have pledged to be carbon neutral from fiscal year 2015 onward.  This commitment includes global Scope 1 and 2 emissions and Scope 3 business travel.

In 2016, we again achieved our carbon neutrality commitment through the implementation of our Carbon Reduction Framework, which prioritizes energy reduction initiatives across our facilities and enables the procurement of renewable electricity (Green-e certified RECs and Guarantees of Origin) and high-quality certified carbon offsets that support the growth of renewable energy markets where we operate. In doing so, we continue to explore the evolving marketplace of direct and indirect green power purchases and carbon offsets. We are taking a measured approach to build a portfolio of diverse assets at practical cost with:

  • Maximum verification and accounting integrity
  • Minimal delivery risk
  • Social, environmental and health co-benefits and/or the benefit of furthering environmental market solutions

As part of our Carbon Reduction Framework, we factor an internal price on carbon into energy efficiency, renewable energy and other emission reduction activities through the use of a return on investment model. This return on investment model prioritizes internal reduction measures across both our offices and data centers.

Renewable Energy

We are committed to use 100% renewable power to meet our global electricity needs by 2020, which enables us to achieve carbon neutrality while supporting the expansion of renewable energy projects. Our procurement strategy prioritizes direct renewable energy sourcing through long term power purchase agreements and where this is not feasible, through high-quality, credible renewable energy certificates.

We believe the firm can act as both an important investor in renewable energy and also a credit worthy user in support of our own 100% renewable power and carbon neutrality goals. In 2016, we continued our procurement of Green-e certified RECs to cover 100% of our US and Canadian operations as well as Guarantees of Origin for 100% of European operations. Additionally, we achieved renewable power procurement for 100% of our Brazil and China operations through the purchase of I-RECs. Having achieved these milestones, our total procurement of certified renewable energy credits was equivalent to 90% of our global electricity needs in 2016. We will continue to evaluate high quality renewable electricity options, including acting as a potential credit worthy off-taker of renewable energy for our own electricity consumption, as we aim for 100% renewable power use by 2020.

ReNew Power

We have invested nearly $370 million in ReNew Power, helping establish the first dedicated renewable energy developer in India to surpass 1 gigawatt in commissioned wind and solar projects.  In recent months, we signed a new long-term power purchase agreement, which enabled ReNew to build a 50-megawatt solar power plant. Together with existing wind capacity, this will meet up to 70 percent of the energy needs of our Bengaluru campus, equivalent to 14 million kilowatt-hours.

Energy Efficiency

We aim to reduce our absolute energy use across our operationally-controlled facilities by 10% from 2013 to 2020 by continuing to utilize our global Carbon Reduction Framework.

Maximizing the Efficiency of Our Offices

We reduce the carbon footprint of our offices by consolidating into more energy efficient real estate and by using our space and technology more wisely.

Optimizing existing buildings

We completed several energy efficiency projects in our global offices in 2016, and commenced several others. We invested approximately $1.2M in energy efficiency retrofits that will result in annual carbon savings of over 3,400 metric tons. Some examples of our projects include:

  • Installing variable frequency drives in our chiller plant and data center air handlers
  • Retrofitting our lights to LED
  • HVAC equipment scheduling based on occupancy, and temperature setpoint optimization

Additionally, we are working in partnership with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories and the Building Energy Exchange and have created a Living Lab at our headquarters by retrofitting lightings, shading and controls to pilot new technologies and promote continuous innovation. The most effective solutions developed will be the basis of educational materials made available to the design, construction and real estate communities.  

Using space smartly

We have increased the efficiency of our real estate by adopting the Global Workplace Standard. As a result, we have decreased the floor area per seat by 25 percent or more, resulting in reduced energy costs and material use.

The Global Workplace Standard includes an open floor design and reduction of enclosed offices. Desks are located along the perimeter, and offices along the building core. These efforts enhance our operational efficiency, promote collaboration and communication by increasing our people’s access to each other and improve our working environment by increasing access to daylight and views.

We are also piloting new workplace designs to support our flexible work patterns. Currently, more than 5,000 of our people are participating in pilots across multiple divisions and locations. Implementing this program will further decrease the area per staff allocation, which increases our energy efficiency.

Deploying new technology solutions

Our Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) enables a highly efficient desktop computing environment in our offices and facilitates:

  • Desktop Power Management: Our proprietary power-management solution, which is deployed on approximately 40,000 Network Desktop Client PCs across our global office footprint, saves an estimated $1 million annually on power and associated cooling costs.
  • Desktop Video Conferencing: Our continued adoption of personal computer and smart device-based video collaboration solutions enables wider access to video conference services for our global communication needs. The strategy results in reduced global travel requirements, less energy consumption than traditional video conference rooms, and access to firm video services from any global location.

Reducing the Impact of Our Data Centers
We work to maximize the operational efficiency of the building infrastructure and technology systems in our data centers by consolidating facilities, by driving efficiency in how we power and cool them and by optimizing the efficiency and utilization of technology equipment.

Data Center Efficiency

We continue to seek out efficiency opportunities by exiting older inefficient facilities, migrating our application servers to new data centers that provide lower power usage compared to legacy facilities and by championing greater efficiency across our data centers. We have also adopted the use of high-efficiency modular data centers globally: pre-fabricated “data centers in a box” which houses servers and the data center infrastructure in secure shipping-container-sized modules. Adopting these modular data centers allow us to scale our operations more efficiently, and further advance our broader commitment to environmental stewardship and carbon reduction for our global operations.

Server Power Management

All new servers deployed in our data centers are configured with optimized power management settings that significantly reduce power consumption during periods of low server utilization.

Driving Efficiency in Our Technology
Sustaining the growth of our business, while minimizing the environmental impact of our technology, is a constant balancing act. As a financial services firm, computing represents the largest portion of the environmental impact from our technology. Through a combination of market-based and in-house developed products, our engineers seek the best technology solutions with the lowest power consumption to meet the requirements of our business, working alongside the CSRE team to achieve the firm’s operational goals.

Shared Solutions 

We will seek additional efficiency in our computing solutions through shared computing and virtualization. For example, while we utilize private cloud solutions that right-size our computing resources for applications, we will also leverage public cloud technology as secure solutions become available, including using on-demand computing capacity as needed to reduce our permanent computing footprint.

Innovation and Collaboration
We look to adopt innovative solutions across our technology platforms and share best practices across the industry. For example, we have adopted modular data centers and are actively engaged as a member of the Open Compute Project (OCP), which promotes the development of higher-efficiency server hardware.

Open Compute Project

Goldman Sachs senior technologists are actively working with a broad consortium of industry members in the Open Compute Project (OCP), to innovatively design the most efficient computing infrastructures at the lowest cost. OCP’s philosophy of standardizing hardware, managing at scale, and driving towards energy efficiencies has benefited Goldman Sachs and other data center users across industries enormously and we intend to continue to engage and benefit broadly.

Additional Links

Carbon Accounting & Reporting Methodology

2016 Carbon Emissions Verification Statement

2016 Verification Statement Water Withdrawal

Environmental, Social and Governance Report