Did you know some of the apps we use every day can make a difference in driving a green future by choosing to power their data centres (and our digital lives) with renewable energy? 

The Renewable Revolution is here and some of the most innovative tech leaders are embracing green energy, but there are many who still rely on coal and other sources of dirty energy contributing to climate change.

From Facebook to Netflix, here’s a list of renewable energy champions, others that are improving, and laggards still stuck on dirty energy like coal.

Leading the race:

Facebook (Grade: A)

Since we all convinced Facebook to Unlike Coal in 2011 this tech giant has been pushing the renewable energy agenda and ensuring our likes and shares are greener than ever!

Activists showing Facebook signs used in the campaign against Facebook's use of coal. 13 Apr, 2011  © Peter Soerensen / Greenpeace

Google (Grade: A)

The king of the search engines was the first internet company to sign a major deal for renewable energy back in 2010 and has been making impressive progress toward its 100% renewable commitment!

WhatsApp (Grade: A)

Since falling under social media titan Facebook’s ownership since 2014, this popular messaging service has joined the effort to build a renewably powered internet. The 30 billion WhatsApp messages sent every day are driving toward a renewably powered future.

iTunes (Grade: A)

As long as there's music, there's hope! Apple’s has been one of the most aggressive companies in making its corner of the internet green, which means that when you download a song from iTunes, Apple has lined up renewable energy to make your music renewably powered.

YouTube (Grade: A)

In 2015, video streaming accounted for 63% of global internet traffic, making streaming one of the largest categories in terms of energy consumption. By 2020, streaming is expected to increase to 80%. This will take a lot of energy! 


Etsy (Grade: B)

Etsy has taken some big steps to shift its online marketplace toward cleaner sources of energy and has already switched part of its digital operations to a renewably powered data centre. It has started to find its voice in demanding utilities and government leaders do more to accelerate our switch to renewables.

LinkedIn (Grade: B)

Is your job search increasing your carbon footprint? LinkedIn was a C student when we last evaluated the company in 2015. Since then, it has embraced a commitment to be 100% renewably powered and has been pushing both its data centre operators and utilities to provide it with more renewable energy.

Still, it is currently coming in at just 10% renewably powered. LinkedIn needs to keep the advocacy pressure up and put together a plan to make its operations entirely powered by renewable energy. We shouldn't accept any less from a company that has revolutionized the job search.

Skype (Grade: B)

Staying in contact with family and friends all over the world? Check! But are your calls renewably powered? Skype is an app developed by Microsoft which, like LinkedIn, had previously been a C student. However, it has started to take steps toward catching up with competitors Apple and Google in the race to build a renewably powered internet.

Airship Flight over Facebook in Silicon Valley. Apple, Facebook and Google have committed to powering their data centers with renewable energy, and Greenpeace is challenging other tech companies (Amazon, Twitter, Netflix and Pinterest) to join them. 3 Apr, 2014  © George Nikitin / Greenpeace

On the other hand…

Twitter (Grade: F)

While Twitter has become a platform for certain well-known climate deniers, 140 characters from even the most infamous tweeters could be renewably powered if Twitter would follow Facebook, Google, Apple and other IT leaders.

Amazon Prime (Grade: C)

While Amazon Web Services (AWS), which powers Amazon Prime Music and Video, has committed to a long-term target of being 100% renewably powered and has recently signed several large deals for renewable energy, it is still impossible for its customers to measure any progress made. The company keeps silent about its energy consumption and carbon emissions. Greenpeace’s own analysis shows AWS continues to rapidly expand in areas primarily powered by coal and other dirty energy sources, not renewables.

Alibaba (Grade: D)

The world’s online commerce platform has smashed many records when it comes to global sales, but these are still fueled by coal! To date there is no publicly available evidence on the company’s efforts to promote renewable energy. Alibaba CEO Jack Ma is often regarded as an internet visionary who has expressed his concerns on climate change – so what is Alibaba waiting for to make our shopping greener? 

Netflix (Grade: D)

Netflix has truly changed how we watch TV, but unfortunately it isn’t quite so forward thinking when it comes to how it powers our streaming. While a bunch of truly innovative tech leaders like Google, Apple and Facebook are using clean energy to power our apps and platforms, Netflix is still stuck on dirty old energies like coal. 

Thousands of TV lovers around the world are now asking Netflix to follow in the footsteps of other innovative tech companies by dropping coal and powering our favourite series and films with renewable energy.

Sign the petition to convince Netflix to go green and make a commitment to 100% renewable energy!

All company scores are derived from and explained in Greenpeace’s 2017 Clicking Clean report, available here: clickclean.org

Gary Cook is a Senior IT Campaigner at Greenpeace USA