Greenpeace is a true blue — well, a true green — working for the betterment of society since its passionate and humane beginnings. Greenpeace International may be associated with nature, but it also impresses upon us the fact that the same businesses that brought us the cloud, internet-powered smart phones, and search engines will also, in fact, help to successfully address our planet’s deep troubles with climate change.
As part of its tech agenda, Greenpeace recently released its sixth “Cool IT Leaderboard,” which ranked 21 technology leaders to see if they’re truly fulfilling their green promises.
Since the last century, Greenpeace has been pushing for environmental responsibility and compassion; and since 2009, Greenpeace has focused a great deal of attention on the technology sector and key energy solutions related to that sector. Can such big players in the technology sector, businesses that have increased our energy needs, also show conscious proclivity for environmental efforts to improve the climate condition?
Well, news from the Cool It Campaign indicates that many of them are implementing renewable energy solutions in good form. Greenpeace International writes: “Tech giants Google and Facebook have both announced great steps in the past week that will lead to a cleaner energy grid in the United States, with Facebook building its next data center in wind energy rich Iowa, and Google announcing that it had gotten U.S. utility giant Duke Energy to agree to offer a new renewable class of electricity service to large customers in North Carolina.”
Evaluating Google, they found the company’s recent leadership with Duke Energy was just one part of the larger trend in this sector, but also a significant one that helped it to tie with Cisco for the report’s leading spot. “The ranking found that Google and Cisco are leading the way, followed by Ericsson in third place, Fujitsu in fourth, and Sprint, Wipro and HP tied for fifth.” Many companies have become well versed in mitigating environmental degeneration, and propose products and services enabling clean energy growth. Engagement with renewable energy is increasing through them. However, as Greenpeace puts it, real Energy Revolution, will not come about rapidly enough until a shift to energy policies comes about that will open the lock to greater investment in clean energy solutions. This will only happen when technology companies wield their political power to not only appeal for this but politically command this.
Pomerantz adds: “Monopoly electric utilities, such as Duke Energy in the US or TEPCO in Japan, have shunned the innovative potential of the IT sector in favor of polluting, centralised electricity generation like coal and nuclear power. Those companies have dominated the power grids and markets for over 100 years in many parts of the world, and have entrenched their political power during that reign.” This pattern is one that is deprived of sight, and given to the status quo, which functions through spiritual denial.
However, as Pomerantz puts it, “Technology companies have political leverage too: they have amassed money and cultural power in recent decades, and can create a counterweight against the polluting lobby, but only if they use their political leverage to push for smarter, cleaner, more efficient energy grids and buildings.”
Some technology companies who do advocate for smarter, saner energy policies include Sprint, Google, Wipro, and SoftBank — and they are advocating for such change around the world, in countries like the US, Japan, and India. The policies they have promoted prioritize investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
The time is now, as we keep hearing and stating — it is 5 minutes to midnight — so technology giants must use their forces, their voices, to promote smarter energy solutions politically at this moment, before the tipping point of climate change.
Here’s one final quote from Greenpeace to close: “While it wasn’t released in time to be included in this report, Google’s announcement that it would push utilities to deliver more renewable energy to large customers, a practice that will start with Duke Energy in North Carolina could be a potential breakthrough; Duke’s current energy mix is powered by only 0.2 % renewable energy in the Carolinas, a stark contrast to Google’s goal of being 100% renewably powered. Other companies ranked in the Leaderboard, like AT&T, Cisco, Google, IBM and Wipro all operate in North Carolina too, and could work together to follow Google’s lead and demand more renewable energy from Duke Energy, or step in to defend state renewable energy policies currently under attack by fossil fuel funded groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).”
Let’s hope that more of these companies follow Google’s lead, and let’s push them to do so.