business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Greenpeace is out with a new report, "Clicking Clean: How Companies Are Creating The Clean Internet," which says that "while shifting businesses to an online model can create significant gains in energy efficiency, the energy appetite of the internet continues to outstrip those gains thanks to its dramatic growth."

The report says that "six major cloud brands – Apple, Box, Facebook, Google, Rackspace, and Salesforce – have committed to a goal of powering data centers with 100 % renewable energy and are providing the early signs of the promise and potential impact of a renewably powered internet."

But the report also - it is fair to say - eviscerates Amazon's approach to environmental issues.

"Amazon Web Services," the report says, "which provides the infrastructure for a significant part of the internet, remains among the dirtiest and least transparent companies in the sector, far behind its major competitors, with zero reporting of its energy or environmental footprint to any source or stakeholder. Twitter lags in many of the same areas."

The report goes on to say that "with an impressive array of services and the ability to quickly scale based on demand, AWS now serves as the infrastructural cornerstone of many of the most well-known online brands, including Netflix, Pinterest, Spotify, and Vine. Unfortunately, despite its dominant position and well- established business model, AWS has dropped further and further behind its competitors in building an internet that runs on renewable sources of energy, and is the least transparent of any company we evaluated."

The report gives Amazon an "F" for Transparency, Renewable Energy Commitment & Siting Policy, and Renewable Energy Deployment & Advocacy, and a marginally better "D" for "Energy Efficiency & Mitigation."

It is a complex and comprehensive report, and you can read the while thing here.
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