In January 2017 Ethical Consumer viewed the updated Greenpeace Report ‘Clicking Clean: who is winning the race to build a greener internet?’ dated January 2017.
The Clicking Clean reports benchmark the IT sector, ranking IT companies on their use of renewable and dirty energy within their data centres. According to the 2017 report the IT sector was estimated to consume about 7% of the world’s global electricity and was predicted to increase threefold in global internet traffic by 2020, resulting in the internet's energy footprint rising further, fueled both by our individual consumption of data and by the spread of the digital age to more of the world's population.
Apple received an ‘A’ grade in the 2017 Clicking Clean Report and was therefore not marked down under Climate Change. This story is for information only. Also receiving an 'A' was Apple's messaging service iMessage.
Greenpeace stated "Apple has remained among the most aggressive in the sector in its efforts to power its online platform with renewable energy. Apple continues to play an important role in opening access to renewable energy new markets where it has located its data centers, such as the company’s most recent data center in Arizona. Apple has also played a catalytic role within its IT supply chain, pushing other IT data center 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, though with slower success than its own data centers thus far."
Transparency (A): The report stated "Apple provides the clearest and most detailed reporting of the major data center operators on the energy performance of its own data centers, including detailed consumption and details on how its renewable contracts or investments have changed the grid mix for each data centers. While Apple’s reporting on its collective colocation footprint has improved this year, Apple should take the next step forward by making public those companies who are working to help Apple achieve its goal to have a 100% renewably powered corner of the internet."
Renewable Energy Commitment & Siting Policy (A): The report stated "Since adopting its 100% renewable commitment in 2012, Apple has maintained a strong siting policy, requiring any new data center location to have the ability to secure 100% renewable energy. Also to its credit, Apple has also maintained strong principles guiding its pursuit of its renewable electricity supply, with the requirement that any new load Apple is creating is also met with the equivalent new renewable supply, regardless of underlying grid mix."
Energy Efficiency & GHG Mitigation (A): The report stated "In addition to its efforts to increase its supply of renewable energy, Apple reports its efforts to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas footprint associated with its data centers through a variety of measures, and like a number of other companies, has deployed data center designs in northern latitudes to take advantage of open air cooling opportunities."
RE Procurement (A): The report stated "Apple continues to match the expansion of its own data centers with an equivalent local supply of renewable energy to match this growth. Although details on the renewable energy supply for its most recent data centers in Denmark and Ireland have not yet been announced, Apple recently confirmed a significant new solar project that will provide renewable energy to its new data center “Control Center” in Mesa, Arizona, with the local utility agreeing to a long-term PPA for the output of the 50MW project owned by Apple. Apple has also been busy keeping up with its rapidly growing data center in North Carolina, bringing its third solar project online, and become the second customer to publicly announce a deal under Duke Energy’s Green Rider renewable tariff program.
Advocacy (B): The report stated "Apple has continued to evolve as an even stronger corporate advocate for climate and clean energy policies. Apple filed a brief in support of the US EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Apple has also been very active at the state level in the U.S. In North Carolina, where it operates its largest data center, Apple joined Facebook and Google to defend existing renewable policies from attack. While Apple had some success in getting its colocation suppliers to provide a renewable hosting service, its recent decision to significantly expand its reliance on Dupont Fabros Technology infrastructure in both Chicago and Virginia seem to be a step in the wrong direction."
Apple was found to have a positive policy in relation to environmental reporting and its data centres and it did not lose marks in relation to this story under climate change as a result.
Greenpeace USA Clicking Clean Report update (January 2017)