While the three big technology companies fight it out to be the greenest data maker, another major online company, Amazon, specifically Amazon Web Services, was singled out in the report for failing altogether to create a green and sustainable business model.
“They’re the absolute laggards in the industry right now,” said Gary Cook, the Greenpeace legislative director who authored the report. “All the other companies have made some incredible changes in the past 24 months, but Amazon has remained totally silent.”
AWS is one of the leading providers of hosting services globally, providing services to companies such as Netflix and Spotify. It does not provide details about its energy footprint to either its customers or the public in general. In addition to being less transparent, the company uses only 15 percent clean energy sources and Greenpeace says its performance continues to slide.
"Amazon's model has been getting the biggest market share possible even if it means working at low margins," David Pomerantz, a collaborating author on the report.
Apple, which received the lowest score two years ago, made efforts to increase transparency and use of renewable energy sources and improve conservation efforts, according to Greenpeace.
“It’s not often that we get an opportunity to celebrate companies’ progress,” said Cook. “We’re not used to this, but there’s been a huge change in the past two years.”
Facebook received praise for pushing the Open Hardware movement that lets companies share information on how to create the most efficient computers and networking gear.
Facebook, Apple and Google, all of which own large data centers in North Carolina, were cited for striking a deal with the local utility company to offer industrial customers a special rate for renewable power sources.