Netflix, Amazon, and Others Don’t Fair Well on Greenpeace’s Clean Energy Report

Apple topped Greenpeace’s clean energy report for the third year in a row, while companies like Netflix, Amazon Web Services, and Samsung were much further down the list. Greenpeace, an environmental organization founded in 1971, compiles an energy index on companies every year.

This year Apple scored a clean energy index of 83 percent, an ‘A’ based on Greenpeace’s criteria. Facebook and Google received 67 and 56 percent, respectively. Switch, a data center provider, scored 100 percent. This clean energy index indicated how much clean energy each company uses from renewable resources. It also accounts for the companies’ willingness to make public how much energy they consume, as well as their commitment to using renewable energy in their data centers.

Because of the size of these companies, they wield no small amount of influence in the industry. Thus the Greenpeace report, “Thinking Clean: Who is Winning the Race to Build a Green Internet”, takes into account the role these companies play in influencing others to follow their lead. The report notes that Apple has a “catalytic role within its IT supply chain, pushing other IT data centers and cloud operators who help deliver pieces of Apple’s corner of the internet to follow their lead in powering their operations with renewable energy.”

Facebook was also named in the report for being the first major internet company to pledge to be powered by renewable energy completely. In fact, its five latest data centers are renewable powered.

Google was named for being less transparent in sharing facility level energy demand data. The company has, however, been progressing toward a renewable powered cloud service, and is currently improving its release of renewable energy in new markets.

Netflix, Amazon, Samsung, and a plethora of other companies were called out in the report. The company scorecard revealed that Amazon scored an “F” grade in energy transparency, “D” in renewable energy commitment, “C” ins renewable procurement, and “B” in advocacy. The higher grade in advocacy is a nod to the company’s increased advocacy with policymakers and utilities companies in clean energy and climate control this past year.

Netflix scored “F’s” in energy transparency, renewable energy commitment, and advocacy. Netflix accounts for one-third of North America’s internet traffic, and announced in 2015 that it planned to lessen its carbon footprint. Greenpeace notes that this plan does little to increase the investment in renewable energy.

Since the release of the report, Greenpeace has started a campaign across multiple social media platforms to raise awareness about the companies that received poor grades. A video entitled “Green Netflix” has been released, calling out Netflix in its use of non-renewable energy.

Originally published on Biznob and Rush Hour Daily on Jan 13, 2017.

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