Greenpeace published its “How Green Is Your Cloud?” report this week, giving Amazon.com a failing grade for not being transparent enough about its cloud infrastructure and its lack of clean energy.
In the report, Greenpeace assesses 14 of the biggest IT companies in the world for categories like energy transparency, energy efficiency, greenhouse-gas mitigation, renewables and advocacy, etc.
The report also looks at each company’s use of coal, nuclear energy, and clean energy. Amazon and Apple received the worst rankings in the clean energy category.
Greenpeace estimated the power usages of both Apple and Amazon, and while both companies stated the numbers were inaccurate, neither has publicized the actual figures.
Overall, Amazon got the worst report card ratings, with an F in transparency, an F in infrastructure siting, a D in efficiency, and an F in renewables and advocacy.
“AWS has seen tremendous growth over the past year, but fails to disclose information on its environmental footprint at either a company-wide or facility level,” Greenpeace wrote. “AWS is tight-lipped when it comes to the details of the energy sourcing for its data centers, [though] a recent analysis indicates that the vast majority – over two thirds – of the servers powering the AWS E2 Elastic Computing cloud computing platform are based in data centres in northern Virginia, an area where the grid is particularly coal-heavy.”
Amazon defended itself, citing the overall environmental benefits of cloud computing, which allows countless companies to consolidate their data center use.
Google was the only company to receive an A in the renewable energy and advocacy categories, and received the highest rating overall.
“Three of the largest IT companies building their business around the cloud — Amazon, Apple and Microsoft — are all rapidly expanding without adequate regard to source of electricity, and rely heavily on dirty energy to power their clouds,” Greenpeace said in its report. “Yahoo and Google both continue 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.”