IT Leaderboard showcases growing divide between talk and action on developing climate solutions

Cisco, Ericsson lead, Google sixth in latest Greenpeace assessment

Media release - April 29, 2010
The latest version of Greenpeace’s Cool IT Leaderboard (1) reveals how some global IT companies are leading the industry by proving the potential of IT solutions to address climate change and reshape energy use, while others seem unable to decide if IT climate solutions are a significant business opportunity or a simple marketing strategy.

Cisco vaults to the top of the Leaderboard, doubling its score from the previous version by demonstrating the effectiveness of its greenhouse emissions-saving solutions such as smart grid technology and office energy management. Ericsson debuts at second place, on the strength of its real world case studies, which measure how its solutions are driving down emissions.

"To play a significant role in helping make sure global greenhouse gas emissions peak by 2015, IT companies need to deliver upon the promise that their technology can provide substantial climate savings today," said Greenpeace Campaigner Casey Harrell.  "Leaders such as Cisco are actively investing in climate solutions, while others are merely signaling  commitments, hoping that lofty words are as good as action."

Greenpeace's assessment showcases examples of IT solutions (2) leadership including:

--Cisco: aggressively moving to drive smart grid technology (3) and has demonstrated the significant impact of its solutions offerings in reducing energy consumption through office design and energy management.

--Google: its PowerMeter tool provides real time energy consumption information allowing consumers to take action and reduce energy use. It is also demonstrating strong policy advocacy to require utilities to make smart meter data available in real time.

--Ericsson and Fujitsu: both have developed a strong methodology for measuring net impact of their solutions, which is essential for evaluating the impact of IT on a broad scale. Fujitsu is also the first company to set a credible goal for the overall amount of carbon savings provided to its customers.

Perhaps no company demonstrates IT's potential to make a difference while also representing the industry's significant contribution to climate change (4) more than Google. Ranked sixth, Google remains the top scoring company on political advocacy, having put forward a clear vision for moving to a clean energy economy. Google CEO Eric Schmidt has been vocal on the failure of the current political system to get the policies right to drive transformative investment in clean energy technologies.

However, Google has no emission reduction targets, nor does it release or disclose its own emissions. This lack of transparency puts Google significantly out of step with most other technology companies, and weakens its ability to be an effective advocate.

"Google and other IT companies can help shape policies to rapidly deploy IT solutions to help slow and reverse climate change, while increasing their revenue and growing in a more responsible way," said Harrell. "The company bottom line coupled with the environmental bottom line, the need to curb a growing greenhouse gas emissions, should send the IT industry to the front lines in the battle for a clean energy economy. The sector needs to step up its policy advocacy now." 

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Other contacts: Daniel Kessler, Greenpeace Press Officer, +1 510-501-1779; Casey Harrell, Greenpeace Campaigner, +1 415-307-3382

Notes: (1) The CoolIT Leadboard ranks company leadership on reducing their carbon footprint, advocating for effective climate and energy policies, and putting forward solutions to decreases greenhouse gas emissions Version 3 of the Leaderboard is available for download at www.greenpeace.org/coolit. 

Similar to Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics, the Cool IT Challenge is updated regularly, with Version 4 slated for publication later this year. (2) The Guide can viewed at http://www.greenpeace.org/international/campaigns/toxics/electronics In 2008, The Climate Group and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) issued SMART 2020: enabling the low carbon economy in the information age. The study highlighted the significant and rapidly-growing footprint of the ICT industry and predicted that because of the rapid economic expansion in places like India and China, among other causes, demand for ICT services will quadruple by 2020.The Smart 2020 report also made a compelling case for ICT’s significant potential to deliver climate and energy solutions, estimating that ICT technologies could cut 7.8 GtCO2 of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, a 15 percent reduction over business-as-usual projections. More information at www.smart2020.org/ (3) The Greenpeace report: Renewables 24/7 – Infrastructure needed to save the climate shows how the world’s power grids could be transformed to support a power mix comprising 90 percent renewable energy by 2050. The transformation would be achieved at a modest level of investment, presents a huge market opportunity for ICT companies, and would enable huge cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. More information at http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/releases/greenpeace-smart-grids-cl (4) Greenpeace's new report, Make IT Green: Cloud Computing and its Contribution to Climate Change, shows that cloud-based computing has potentially a much larger carbon footprint than previously estimated. The report finds that at current growth rates, data centers and telecommunication networks--the two key components of the cloud--will consume about 1,963 billion kilowatts hours of electricity in 2020, more than triple their current consumption and over half the current electricity consumption of the United States -- or more than France, Germany, Canada and Brazil -- combined. The report is available at http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/news/the-ipad-internet-climate-change-100329