Greenpeace Fails Apple, Amazon, Microsoft for Not-So-Green Cloud Efforts

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2012-04-18 Print this article Print

Cloud computing isn’t as eco-friendly as some companies suggest, says a new Greenpeace report that applauds efforts by Yahoo and Google while frowning on Apple, Amazon and Microsoft.

Greenpeace is calling on the increasingly cloud-based IT world to make its energy sources as smart as its technologies. In a new report, €œHow Clean Is Your Cloud?€ the organization takes a grounded look at the cloud phenomenon, offers suggestions for improvement and calls out the worst offenders as well as sector leaders.

Apple, Amazon and Microsoft each received a thumbs-down, as they€™re all €œrapidly expanding without adequate regard to source of electricity and rely heavily on dirty energy to power their clouds,€ reports Greenpeace.

Yahoo and Google, on the other hand, €œcontinue to lead the sector in prioritizing access to renewable energy in their cloud expansion, and both have become more active in supporting policies to drive greater renewable energy investment.€

Facebook, supporting and storing the data of more than 800 million users, was also acknowledged for its efforts; its newest data center in Sweden can be fully powered by renewable energy.

Akami, an Internet content-delivery service responsible for carrying what Greenpeace called a €œtremendous€ amount of Internet traffic, was also applauded. It€™s the first company to begin reporting its carbon intensity under a new carbon usage effectiveness (CUE) standard.

According to the report, the cloud is expected to usher in a fiftyfold increase in the amount of digital information by 2020 and half a trillion dollars in investment in 2013. Explaining that data centers, many of which €œcan be seen from space,€ are the engines that drive the cloud, Greenpeace characterizes them as €œthe factories of the 21st century information age.€

Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.

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