The Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg shares a Greenpeace report on the environmental impact of data centers. Guess who apparently doesn't give a shit about the environment?
The Clicking Clean report praised six companies – Apple, Box, Facebook, Google, Rackspace and Salesforce – for committing to power their data centres with 100% renewable energy. Apple in particular had cleaned up its energy profile, Greenpeace International said.
But Amazon Web Services, which provides a cloud platform for Netflix, Tumblr and Pinterest, was singled out for being secretive about its energy use, and for siting data centres in areas that rely heavily on coal.
The company lagged "far behind its major competitors, with zero reporting of its energy or environmental footprint to any source or stakeholder", the report said.
Amazon must consider this report to be incredibly damaging, because they responded to the Guardian, and they only deign to respond to the press when they feel threatened. Their response was typically weak, though, arguing that Amazon Web Services are a form of conservation because they offload computing power to one big data center, rather than a bunch of data centers. They didn't address the central problem, which is that they refuse to communicate their energy use to anyone. This is an issue that's not going to go away for Amazon. On the one hand, they don't like communicating any information about their business, especially their Web Services, which is an especially secretive division of Amazon. On the other hand, they don't want to be portrayed as dirty, coal-guzzling monsters. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.