Category Archives: Todd Larsen

Green America hits out at Amazon for its dirty cloud

Amazon has committed to bolstering its use of renewables, but Green America thinks it needs to go further

Amazon has committed to bolstering its use of renewables, but Green America thinks it needs to go further

Notforprofit environmental advocacy group Green America is launched a campaign to try and convince Amazon to reduce its carbon footprint and catch up with other large cloud incumbents’ green credentials.

Green America said Amazon is behind other datacentre operators – including some of its large competitors like Google, Apple and Facebook – in terms of its renewable energy use and reporting practices.

“Every day, tens of millions of consumers are watching movies, reading news articles, and posting to social media sites that all use Amazon Web Services.  What they don’t realize is that by using Amazon Web Services they are contributing to climate change,” said Green america’s campaigns director Elizabeth O’Connell.

“Amazon needs to take action now to increase its use of renewables to 100 percent by 2020, so that consumers won’t have to choose between using the internet and protecting the planet,” O’Connell said.

Executive co-director Todd Larsen also commented on Amazon’s green cred: “Amazon lags behind its competitors, such as Google and Microsoft, in using renewable energy for its cloud-based computer servers.  Unlike most of its competitors, it also fails to publish a corporate responsibility or sustainability reporting, and it fails to disclose its emissions and impacts to the Carbon Disclosure Project.”

Amazon has recently taken strides towards making its datacentres greener. In November last year the company committed to using 100 per cent renewable energy for its global infrastructure, bowing to pressure from organisations like Greenpeace which have previously criticised the company’s reporting practices around its carbon footprint. But organisations like Green America still believe the company is way off the mark on its commitment.

Green America’s campaign is calling on Amazon to commit to full use of renewables for its datacentres by 2020; submit accurate and complete data to the Carbon Disclosure Project; and issue and annual sustainability report.

An Amazon spokesperson told BCN that the company and its customers are already showing environmental leadership by adopting cloud services in the first place.

“AWS customers have already shown environmental leadership by moving to cloud computing, which is inherently more environmentally friendly than traditional computing. Any analysis on the climate impact of a datacentre should take into consideration resource utilization and energy efficiency, in addition to power mix,” the spokesperson said.

“On average, AWS customers use 77 per cent fewer servers, 84 per cent less power, and utilize a 28 per cent cleaner power mix, for a total reduction in carbon emissions of 88 per cent from using the AWS Cloud instead of operating their own datacentres. We believe that our focus on resource utilization and energy efficiency, combined with our increasing use of renewable energy, will help our customers achieve their carbon reduction and sustainability goals. We will continue to provide updates of our progress on our AWS & Sustainable Energy page,” she added.