Unity says it's committing to net-zero carbon emissions to help fight climate change

Unity says it's already reached net-zero emissions, and will be keeping that number down with a mix of carbon offsets and internal policy changes.

Unity is announcing today that it's making a concentrated push to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions at the company--and that it's already achieved that goal for 2020 thanks to a set of policy changes and purchases of carbon offfsets. 

The 3D engine company is also aiming to align with climate groups working to reduce emissions that are contributing to the ongoing climate crisis. It is also signing on to the Science Based Targets initiative, a business-focused movement with the goal of reducing the average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

Unity says that it's already invested about $500,000 in carbon offsets based on its 2020 calculations that provide "co-benefits" to local communities. Vice president of social impact Jessica Lindl didn't specify the exact nature of these offsets, but did tell Game Developer that in the future, it's considering investment in carbon capture and storage projects "in addition to nature-based carbon sinks that are ecologically sound."

Lindl also shared some insight on the company's internal audit of what parts of Unity's business contribute to its carbon footprint. Employee commutes are apparently a "very small part" of the overall picture (though she says the company is working to support employees so that they have to use less CO2-emitting travel).

"Over 75 percent of our carbon emissions are from purchased goods that we use to support our company," she explained. "Think about a printer, for example, and the entire lifecycle from manufacturing, shipping, the energy to use it, etc. We are taking a deep look at our entire supply chain and procurement process and determining where we can make reductions."

The third part of Unity's climate efforts is to "fund, align, and partner with" groups that "demand better from the world and are setting new industry standards." Unity cited its partnerships with South African engineering consultancy Zutari, as well as its support for the Māori development team behind Ahi Kā Rangers as two of these partnerships Ahi Kā Rangers.

Unity also noted its contributions to Western University, Project Drawdown, and Conservation International as part of its financial efforts to combat climate change.

We did ask Lindl if Unity would be making any demands, or cutting ties with partners that are known to be large CO2 emitters. This, ironically enough, includes the United States Military, as well as oil and gas company Schlumberger. 

Lindl said that the amount of US carbon emissions from the entire U.S Military "is not specific to Unity," and reiterated that Unity's strategy is to establish new partnerships with climate-focused groups. She did not state if Unity plans to cut any business relationships based on company emissions.

"We also believe that Unity is uniquely positioned to be a part of the solution to the climate crisis, and that includes working with all types of customers to decarbonize their operations through the use of real-time 3D," she said.

For more on Unity's CO2 reduction efforts (and to see what practices your company might want to adopt), you can find more info here.

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