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Tech Companies Preaching Sustainability Are Actually Making Carbon Footprints Worse

March 14, 2019, 8:12 PM UTC

Tech companies with a mission to create small carbon footprints might be doing the opposite, according to a new study published in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.

The report, called “Contradictions of the Climate-Friendly City: New Perspectives on Eco-Gentrification and Housing Justice,” alleges that the quest to be sustainable is, in fact, fueling gentrification in some neighborhoods across the United States and causing larger carbon footprints.

The issue comes from companies building campuses in major cities, attracting employees that want to do things like ride public transportation, reports Fast Company. When they do, those employees want to live near public transportation lines, causing housing prices in those area to increase and pushing out lower-income families that may have lived in those areas before.

It’s a phenomenon the paper calls “carbon gentrification,” because rather than an area being gentrified due to amenities like restaurants or stores, individuals are attempting to move there in an effort to be more “green.”

The group doesn’t have data yet on exactly what impact carbon gentrification will have on areas and the earth long term, but the thought is that more affluent people, such as tech workers, tend to have a larger carbon footprint than their less affluent counterparts, ultimately leading them to have a larger environmental impact in the areas they’re living in with the expressed purpose of having a lower one.