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

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.€