For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Cassady Craighill, ccraighill@greenpeace.org, 828-817-3328

Amazon Responds to Greenpeace Stating Commitment to “Achieving 100% Renewable Energy”

Report finds Amazon web services relying on fossil fuels to power its Virginia cloud

WASHINGTON - Responding to Greenpeace USA’s Clicking Clean Virginia – The Dirty Energy Powering Data Center Alley report that found Amazon Web Services breaking its commitment to power its cloud with 100 percent renewable energy, a spokesperson said, “AWS remains firmly committed to achieving 100% renewable energy across our global network, achieving 50% renewable energy in 2018.” The AWS spokesperson issued a full response to Windpower Engineering & Development.  

Greenpeace USA stands behind the projections of AWS’s energy footprint in our Clicking Clean Virginia report, which are based on permits its subsidiary, Vadata, filed with the Commonwealth of Virginia and Greenpeace obtained via information requests filed with relevant agencies.

Greenpeace USA Senior Corporate Campaigner Elizabeth Jardim said,

“Amazon Web Services and Amazon have consistently refused to report their energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions leaving the public in the dark about their carbon footprint. Unlike other leading internet companies, who have steadily improved their transparency and environmental reporting since Greenpeace began our evaluations of internet companies in 2010, both AWS and Amazon have unfortunately steadfastly refused to make public even the most basic data on the energy and environmental footprint of its operations, in stark contrast to Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook."

“While both AWS and its parent have indeed signed a number of renewable energy deals, you can’t begin to evaluate their significance collectively or individually without the underlying context of their energy demand. To prepare our analysis of AWS energy demand in Virginia, we used data filed by AWS with relevant Virginia environmental agencies. Amazon Web Services has added 23 new data centers in Northern Virginia since 2016, but added zero new renewable projects to match the pace of the company's energy demand. Proper transparency is core to any sustainability effort, yet Amazon remains the largest publicly traded company that does not submit data to CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), earning them an “F” for consecutive years from the organization who gathers environmental data from companies and grades them on their transparency. We're glad to see Amazon Web Services reaffirming its commitment to 100 percent renewable energy, but to hold the company accountable for its progress, it has to be transparent.”

Thursday morning Greenpeace USA rebranded National Landing, the future home to Amazon’s HQ2, with a human-sized Alexa, lamppost signs and street posters highlighting the company’s stalled progress towards its commitment to power its cloud with 100% renewable energy.

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Morning commuters could “ask Alexa” questions about why Amazon’s cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services, still powers its data centers in Virginia with dirty energy despite its public 2014 commitment to use 100 percent renewable energy.

“We asked Alexa if she thought Amazon would be a good neighbor to Virginians and she replied, ‘that depends how much you like breathing clean air,’” said Jardim, also a Northern Virginia resident. “Amazon’s cloud including Alexa is powered largely from Northern Virginia, where it uses 88 percent dirty energy – meaning every question to Alexa is driving carbon emissions.”

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