Greenpeace targets users in renewed clean energy datacentre push

Environmental campaign group Greenpeace outlines its green technology push at Cloud Expo – but says AWS could do better

Greenpeace wants users to put pressure on their datacentre providers to power their facilities with renewable energy.

The environmental campaign group has been pressurising some of the IT industry’s biggest datacentre service providers and users – including Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook – for several years to use clean and sustainable energy sources.

Now the environmental lobbying group is turning its attention to lesser known datacentre operators, and wants users to lead change.

Speaking at the Cloud Expo Europe conference in London, Andrew Hatton, head of IT at Greenpeace, said users can make a stand on this issue with their IT suppliers.

“Now you might think, ‘I’ve got a small company, I can’t get much traction in this area.’ But we all have a role to play, as purchasers of services from datacentres and other organisations, about making the case for why we want that provider to use clean energy,” said Hatton.

“You’ll be amazed by the openness with which you’ll be received and, once you’ve got your foot in the door, you can then have an ongoing conversation and start to see change.”

Read more about Greenpeace's green datacentre push

Big players and their big commitments

Turning his attention back to the bigger players, Hatton hailed the progress Apple, Google and Facebook had made in recent years to make their datacentre operations more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

He cited Apple’s recent investments in solar power, Google’s moves to adopt wind energy and Facebook’s decision to open a datacentre in the Arctic Circle.

Hatton applauded Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) pledge to make its operations and global infrastructure more sustainable – but said the cloud giant still had work to do.

“It was great to hear in November 2014 that they finally made a commitment to go 100% renewable. What we now call on them to do is to be really transparent about how they plan to do that,” said Hatton.

Amazon's carbon-neutral regions

“To start sharing with the public, with their customers and become really strong advocates. What is the roadmap for that transition actually going to look like? That’s a really important thing they need to do in 2015 if we are to believe in their commitment.”

When Computer Weekly contacted AWS for an update on its renewable energy plans, the company advised interested parties to consult its sustainability web page for further information, where it originally stated its aim to achieve 100% renewable energy usage in its global infrastructure. 

A spokesperson for Amazon said the firm already had three carbon-neutral regions available to customers in the US and Frankfurt.

Read more on Cloud computing services