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Greenpeace is pleased with Apple, Facebook and Google, not happy with Amazon

19 companies ranked, rated and ratted on
Wed Apr 02 2014, 17:41
Greenpeace protesters at coal industry summit in Warsaw

ECOLOGY ACTIVIST GROUP Greenpeace has produced its latest report on the information technology (IT) industry and its green energy choices.

It commended Facebook, Apple and Google in the report, and said that each has worked hard on using renewable energy in the last two years.

While all three have moved forward the same cannot be said for Amazon, which is apparently not as green as its namesake. Greenpeace viewed Amazon as being left behind by the rest of the industry, and criticised it for taking other parties down with it.

"Apple, Facebook and Google are powering our online lives with clean energy, and building a greener offline world for everyone in the process," said Greenpeace senior IT analyst Gary Cook.

"These companies have proven over the past 24 months that wind and solar energy are ready and waiting to power the internet, and the rest of our economy, with clean electricity."

Greenpeace praised Apple, which it had criticised just a couple of years ago, for being the first to reach a 100 percent renewable energy goal and commended for its quick action.

"Apple's rapid shift to renewable energy over the past 24 months has made it clear why it's one of the world's most innovative and popular companies," added the analyst.

The organisation criticised Amazon for investing in "dirty" energy. It said, "By continuing to buy dirty energy, Amazon Web Services not only can't seem to keep up with Apple, but is dragging much of the internet down with it."

Greenpeace ranked companies in three performance tiers, and while Amazon lurks in the darkened end, the former three firms are all well placed in the green end. Yahoo is a slightly sickly looking green colour, which is good in this instance, and Microsoft is on the greener edge of the middle of the road players. Microsoft is marginally better than IBM and eBay, both of which have a grey hue.

Amazon is not alone in being in the black and it is joined by Twitter and Linkedin. Greenpeace said that the firms are "stuck in [the] dirty energy past", and criticised them for "using mostly dirty energy".

Amazon has something of a knock-on effect, of course, and Greenpeace reminded us that Amazon Web Services also powers outfits like Netflix, Spotify, Tumblr and Vine.

Apple meanwhile uses 100 percent solar power to run a North Carolina data centre and is buying wind energy for its Oregon and California data centres. Conversely, Greenpeace reckoned that just 15 percent of the energy that Amazon uses is renewable.

Twitter, which was ranked low, said that it does its bit where it can. "Twitter believes strongly in energy efficiency and optimisation of resources for minimal environmental impact," said a Twitter spokesperson. "As we build out our infrastructure, we continue to strive for even greater efficiency of operations."

Amazon responded to our request for comment by saying that it shares Greenpeace's concerns about the environment. However, it added that it does not agree with the Greenpeace report and has already tried to tell Greenpeace that.

"We agree with Greenpeace that technology leaders should help safeguard the environment by implementing both efficient use and clean sources of energy," said a spokesperson for Amazon Web Services (AWS).

"However Greenpeace's report, ‘Clicking Green,' misses the mark by using false assumptions on AWS operations and inaccurate data on AWS energy consumption. We provided this feedback to Greenpeace prior to publishing their report."

The spokesperson said that Amazon does run efficient and ‘highly utilised data centres' in 10 regions and has two 100 percent carbon-free units in Oregon. It added that it offers its customers options.

"We like offering customers the choice of being able to run carbon-free, and we love doing it without charging a premium over other North American regions," added the spokesperson. µ


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