Employees wrote an open letter to Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat demanding the company address several sustainability issues, not the least of which was ending its partnerships with companies and think tanks that deny climate change. The company has previously been criticized by employees for not doing enough to address climate issues.
It appears that management has heard the message loud and clear, with Google Chief Sustainability Officer Kate Brandt penning a blog post outlining the new accelerator program.
“Today we’re launching the Google for 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.
“Startups will be selected 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.”
Looking at the big picture, Google’s announcement illustrates the power employees are beginning to wield when it comes to influencing company policy. In an age when social media can give a voice and platform to anyone, companies do well to focus on employee engagement and understanding what their employees expect.