Salesforce the latest company to commit to clean energy

by David Pomerantz

March 6, 2013

Africa's largest wind farm, the 140 MW Tangiers I "Dhar Saadane" facility was inaugurated on June 2010. With capacity to generate 526.5 GWh a year, resulting power generation is equivalent to more than 126,000 tones of oil equivalent (TEP) each year and prevents the emission of close to 370,000 tones of CO2 annually.

© Markel Redondo / Greenpeace

The effort to build a world powered by clean energy needs champions in every arena of our economy: activists on the streets, politicians in government, engineers in labs, and corporate leaders in boardrooms.

Today, were happy to recognize thatSalesforce has joined the ranks of a growing club of global technology companiesthat agree that a green cloud is important to their growth, and that a truly green cloud must be powered by renewable energy.

Despite the impressive gains in energy efficiency achieved by data center operators in recent years, data centers remain among the fastest growing users of electricity; they grew at nearly 14% in 2012, and are projected to grow at least another 10% in 2013.

Salesforce is likewise growing rapidly, as are its greenhouse gas emissions its absolute emissions are up nearly 50% over the past year. The expected growth of the Salesforce cloud means that it will need more data centers soon to store its clients data. That means using more electricity, which is why its so important that Salesforce has committed to grow using renewable energy.

Salesforces goal to power its cloud with renewable energy sends an important signal to the rest of the sector that energy efficiency is important, but not enough. Salesforce has been an early pioneer in the sectors shift to the cloud, and other major data center operators should follow the example thatGoogle,Facebook, and now Salesforce have set by being more transparent about their energy and making a renewably powered cloud an explicit goal. While the transformation of Salesforces cloud to renewable electricity will not happen overnight, the commitment and initial steps in Salesforces announcement show that the company intends to play a leading role in shaping a truly green cloud.

Salesforces leadership stands in sharp contrast to other cloud computing companies, most notably Amazon Web Services (AWS), which does not provide even basic information to its customers on the environmental impact of the AWS cloud or the extent to which it is powered by renewable energy.

Greenpeace will work with Salesforce to monitor its progress and ensure that it takes steps to meet its goal of fully powering its data centers with renewable electricity. We will also continue to call out the companies that have yet to see the light, likeMicrosoftandAmazon, which continue to lag behind the rest of the technology sector by refusing to take steps to curb their use of coal, gas and nuclear power for their data centers.

If those companies want to remain on the cutting edge, they should follow the lead of Salesforce and others by embracing clean energy as a core part of doing business in the 21stcentury.

David Pomerantz

By David Pomerantz

David Pomerantz is a former Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace USA, based in San Francisco. He helps lead Greenpeace's campaign for an economy powered by 100% renewable energy.

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