Meta details its latest efforts to combat climate change as COP26 starts

The company formerly known as Facebook is trying to help individuals and businesses reduce their carbon footprint.

Carlos Barria / reuters

Meta (Facebook's parent company) has joined other major tech companies in making more climate change pledges as the UN’s COP26 summit commences. Along with taking measures to reduce its own carbon footprint, Meta is focused on "helping people find accurate, science-led information, while also tackling misinformation," according to Nick Clegg, Meta's vice-president of global affairs and communication.

The company says that when its fact-checking partners rate a piece of content as false, a warning label is added and the post pops up less often on users' News Feeds. There's a keyword detection feature that Meta switches on during "critical public events" to help fact checkers find relevant content faster. This will be enabled during COP26 to help fact-checkers in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian, German, French and Dutch find and debunk climate misinformation more quickly.

The Climate Change Information Center, which debuted last year to provide users with knowledge from experts on the issue, is now being rolled out to more countries and it will soon be available in more than 100 territories. The hub will also show national greenhouse gas emissions alongside countries' targets and commitments to perhaps make governments more accountable. On top of that, in more than a dozen countries, Facebook is expanding its use of labels on climate change posts to direct users to the center.

The UN will soon update its ActNow chatbot on Messenger, Instagram and its website to suggest 10 more actions users can take to fight combat change. There are new camera stickers on Messenger, Instagram and Messenger Kids that aim to help users "strike up a conversation" about climate change.

In addition, Meta is starting up a program to help businesses that use its apps reduce their carbon footprint and adopt more sustainable practices. The Green Boost for Small Businesses project will start this month in the UK and Spain, primarily centered on food producers, restaurants and the hospitality sector. Meta will broaden the program to Italy, France and other nations in 2022.

Elsewhere, Meta says it's a founding member of the Sustainable Aviation Buyers Alliance. The group's goal is to push toward net zero air travel by investing in sustainable aviation fuel.

These efforts are intended to complement internal actions Meta has undertaken to combat climate change. The company hit net zero carbon emissions in 2020 and as of earlier this year, it's using 100 percent renewable energy. Other environmentally conscious efforts include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 97 percent in the last four years and supporting measures to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Like Microsoft, Meta aims to restore more water than it uses by 2030.