A chance meeting in 1995 gave birth to a legend. Stanford University student Sergey Brin was assigned to show around a prospective student, Larry Page. From there: history. Just Google it. The pioneers went on to complete a research project that would become the world’s premier Internet search engine.
Along the way, Brin and Page promised each other that no matter how grand their company became, Google wouldn’t damage the environment. “They believe that a company can be both sustainable and successful,” said Kate Hurowitz, Google’s senior manager in communications.
That belief resulted in another promise: By the end of 2007, Google would be carbon neutral. It was an ambitious goal, one the company claims it met through the use of carbon offsets. But with over 70 offices worldwide, a fleet of Google Maps cars, 12 data centers and the Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., eliminating the corporation’s carbon footprint hasn’t been simple — or without controversy.