Some of the top executives at Amazon are touring the world right now, attending sales conferences and trying to persuade smaller businesses to store their data in Amazon’s massive cloud operations.
Those businesses are looking to reduce their own costs – and perhaps their own energy usage – by storing their information in the cloud instead of in their own office buildings. But what they may not realise is that with Amazon, they are getting a prospective new business partner who runs a dirty cloud powered by coal.
So today, Greenpeace Germany brought that message to one of Amazon’s conferences, using balloons to float a message to Amazon’s executives that it should clean up its cloud by powering it with clean energy, not coal.
Amazon's customers got the message too. They asked questions, took photos, and thanked use for informing them about the issue. Many said they were shocked and would reconsider whether or not to do business with Amazon.
"This is really important. I have good contacts within Amazon, and will actually ask them how they plan to change this," one representative told the activists.
Unfortunately, Amazon has so far not shown the slightest inclination that it feels like listening.
Since Greenpeace started its Clean Our Cloud campaign in April, we’ve seen responses from Apple and Microsoft in which both companies are talking a lot more about adopting clean energy.
Both Microsoft and Apple have a long way to go before they power their data centres with clean energy, but their executives’ statements show that they are at least considering the demands of the hundreds of thousands of customers who have asked for that.
Unfortunately, Amazon is not paying attention, doesn't listen or doesn’t care what it's customers think, as the company has yet to offer a substantive response.
The stakes are high for Amazon, whose cloud services are massive. The company won’t say exactly how many servers it has, but a recent study estimated that one third of all daily internet users will access an Amazon AWS cloud site on average at least once a day.
If you used a web service like Netflix, Pinterest, Dropbox or Instagram today, you were routed through Amazon’s cloud platform.
Unfortunately, 64% of the electricity Amazon uses for that massive cloud operation comes from dirty coal and dangerous nuclear power.
Amazon just doesn’t seem to be paying attention to the mounting pressure on tech companies to clean up its act and risks falling to the bottom of the tech sector for having the dirtiest cloud of all.
Come on Amazon, you can do better!