Does Google Fit In Our Future?

I ran an assessment to find out: does the company contribute to—or undermine—the future we want? Here’s what I learned.

B. Lorraine Smith
8 min readMay 13, 2022
Cover slide for the Alphabet (Google) Matereality assessment available here.

What’s this all about?

After twenty years of sustainability consulting, including conducting a lot of materiality assessments where I felt like we were side-stepping the real conversations — e.g., about business models and economic structures that incentivize harm — I launched a project called Matereality. It’s a twist on the materiality assessments done for environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting and strategy, infusing a dose of reality. (See more context here or a 4-minute explainer video here.)

This is an experiment, like an art project, not a client engagement nor a prescription. It’s just me standing back, using the tools I’ve been exposed to and offering up some ideas.

This article outlines what I found out when I conducted a Matereality assessment on Alphabet (aka) Google. The assessment is free to access here, and the findings are summarized below as well as in a 5-minute explainer video, here.

So what happened?

I examined the company’s business model, their ESG-related communications and their four most recent investor…



B. Lorraine Smith

Former sustainability consultant replacing ESG with reality-based insights about corporate purpose and impact.