According to a report from an environmental group, Apple produces some of the dirtiest data in the world.
report from environmental watchdog Greenpeace found that although Apple has
become increasingly transparent about the environmental footprint and
operational performance of its products, especially laptops and iPhones, it has
not been as forthcoming about the current or expected impacts of its online
products. Its research revealed that while many IT companies have pointed to
the benefits of downloading entertainment over traditional delivery methods,
one of the largest online destinations for such media-iTunes-does not provide
any data to evaluate these claims or allow comparison with offerings from other
vendors, and Apple does participate in the Carbon Disclosure Project voluntary
researchers found that Apple previously touted its operations in California as
much cleaner than those that use energy produced on the average grid. However, Apple's
decision to locate its iDataCenter in North Carolina, which has an electrical
grid that is among the dirtiest in the country (61 percent coal, 31 percent
nuclear), indicates a "lack of a corporate commitment to clean energy supply"
for its cloud operations.
fact that the alternative location for Apple's iDataCenter was Virginia, where
electricity also comes from very dirty sources, is an indication that, in
addition to tax incentives, access to inexpensive energy, regardless of its
source, is a key driver in Apple's site selection," the report said.
report also noted that while Apple has reported a significant increase in the
amount of clean energy it has purchased for its operations in the past two
years and has said that it will continue to look for sources of renewable
energy and buy green power wherever it can be found, Apple has not declared a
renewable energy or greenhouse gas target to shape this commitment.
massive iDataCenter has estimated electricity demand (at full capacity) as high
as triple Apple's current total reported electricity use, which will
unfortunately have a significant impact on Apple's environmental footprint,"
the report stated.
major cloud brands, Google talks the best and most consistently about the need
to not only increase efficiency, but to also move to renewable sources of
electricity to power the cloud, the report said. "But if Google is serious
about climate leadership, it should open source its emissions footprint,
confess to the world that it has a carbon problem, and put its mitigation
strategies on the table so others in the sector can learn from and build on
them," the report noted.
only publicly acknowledges the existence of seven data centers globally, though
informed estimates place Google's fleet in the range of 20 to 30 data centers.
The report also noted Google fails to disclose information on its energy use or
GHG emissions, though it claims to be carbon neutral through the purchasing of
carbon offsets and renewable energy. "Google needs to be transparent about the
size and growth of its carbon problem, and follow in the footsteps of other
companies that have set absolute reduction targets," the report said. "Google
does participate in the Carbon Disclosure Project voluntary reporting program,
but provides very little actual data on its operational footprint or energy