For Okta, an innovative San Francisco-based identity company, addressing its impact on the climate is a foundational component to one of its three Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) pillars. While the company understood the need to confront its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Okta was at the very beginning of its decarbonization journey and, like many other organizations starting out, wanted to make an impactful first step. In August of 2020, Okta completed its first GHG emissions assessment which allowed it to measure its emissions, establish baselines, and begin to define renewable energy and carbon reduction goals.
With this information, Okta approached 3Degrees to help develop a plan to procure renewable energy to address its energy consumption, while also having a positive effect on its local community.
Over the past 15 years, 3Degrees has supported The California Bright Schools Program with the procurement of more than 173,000 MWhs of solar RECs from school districts throughout California. Taking into account its desire for community impact, purchasing RECs from California schools proved to be a perfect fit for Okta.
The Bright Schools Program was born out of a vision for school districts to proliferate solar energy adoption and save general fund dollars, while providing clean energy education for students and teachers. This program, implemented through the California Energy Commission, helps identify the most cost-effective energy saving opportunities and supports the installation of photovoltaic solar systems on schools across the state.
The Milpitas Unified School District, just southeast of San Francisco, is a great example of how schools are benefiting from solar development. By hosting a PV solar system, the school district reduces its energy costs and generates revenue through the sale of renewable energy certificates (RECs) generated by the system. 3Degrees has been purchasing RECs from the school district since 2009.
How we helped
Working closely with Okta, 3Degrees assessed the company’s purchase criteria and developed a portfolio of renewable energy options that would meet its energy requirements and desire for local co-benefits. Through the purchase of RECs generated from the Bright Schools Program’s solar network, Okta was able to demonstrate its commitment to the environment and the community in which it operates. The purchase helped Okta meet its renewable energy goal for 2020, while also making a positive impact on a neighboring school district.
“Every organization should be taking action on climate change, as it adversely affects our people and planet. At Okta, we’re early in our journey, but we’re committed to doing our part and reducing our Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. We’re implementing energy efficiency efforts to reduce consumption at our offices — and for energy we consume, we’re investing in renewable energy projects with positive environmental and social impacts. We value our partnership with 3Degrees and their expertise in this area.”
— Alison Colwell, Director of ESG and Sustainability, Okta
Okta’s initial purchase was large enough to address its entire Scope 2 emissions footprint in the United States. By supporting the Bright Schools Program, Okta was able to create a meaningful connection for its employee stakeholders and highlight the tangible benefits of its investment to the community in which they live.
As a participant in the Bright Schools Program, the Milpitas Unified School District is estimated to save $12 million over the portfolio’s lifespan. It is through corporate REC purchases, like that of Okta’s, that these types of educational co-benefits are possible.
Okta’s purchase is a strong example of how organizations can go beyond “checking the box” with their renewable energy investments, demonstrating that even a first step can also be meaningful to stakeholders and impactful to the community. Acknowledging that this is just the beginning of its journey, Okta is already looking ahead at options to address its international Scope 2 emissions, as well as ways to address its indirect Scope 3 emissions.