Apple has been named world’s greenest internet company by Greenpeace for the third year in a row.
There was praise for Google, Facebook and newcomer Switch in the charity’s ‘Clicking Clean’ report, but Twitter, Spotify and Netflix were given poor scores for the carbon impact of their operations.
Greenpeace has benchmarked the energy performance of the IT sector since 2009 – an industry which, according to the report, accounted for 7% of global electricity use in 2012 and could push beyond 12% this year.
Companies are ranked on renewable energy procurement, energy efficiency and mitigation, energy transparency and clean energy advocacy.
The charity has singled out streaming service Netflix as needing the most improvement, given video streaming accounts for more than 60% of global internet traffic.
Gary Cook, senior IT analyst at Greenpeace USA, said: “Like Apple, Facebook, and Google, Netflix is one of the biggest drivers of the online world and has a critical say in how it is powered. Netflix must embrace the responsibility to make sure its growth is powered by renewables, not fossil fuels and it must show its leadership here.”
The report raised concerns over rapidly emerging East Asian tech companies such as Tencent, Baidu, Alibaba, and Naver which are well behind the US market in renewable energy commitments.
Jude Lee, senior climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia, said: “Leading tech companies in the US have shown that clean power can be both good for the environment and for business. East Asian companies must step up to embrace that reality as well.”
The report argued that the transition to a greener internet is being driven by corporate responsibility targets demanding digital infrastructure powered by clean electricity, the rising cost competitiveness of renewables and the linkage of brand identity with renewable energy.
Indeed table-topping Apple joined the RE100 initiative in September, joining UK firms Aviva, BT, Marks and Spencer and Sky.