Apple has been found to have the lowest carbon footprint among large tech companies, the third year in a row, according to a new report. Greenpeace’s "Clicking Clean" study released on Tuesday found that the company has made the best use of renewables.
The study assesses a company’s use of renewable resources, hydroelectricity, coal, natural gas and nuclear energy in comparison to traditional energy sources. The assessment also includes a company's transparency about its energy policies.
The report credits Apple with playing “a catalytic role within its IT supply chain, pushing other IT data center and cloud operators ... to follow its lead in powering operations with renewable energy.” Apple has been investing in solar energy in China since 2015.
Apple came at the top of Greenpeace’s clean energy index with 83 percent. Facebook followed it with 67 percent, Google with 56 percent and Microsoft with 32 percent. Meanwhile, Amazon scored poorly at 17 percent due to its lack of energy policy disclosure.
In the United States, though, Google led the IT sector in using renewable resources since its U.S. facilities use around 1,850 megawatts of energy, mostly sourced out from renewables.
Greenpeace also said that the footprint of the global IT industry accounted for only 7 percent of global electricity needs. Furthermore, the dependency on cloud computing operations for video streaming services such as Netflix could increase their carbon footprint, it added. Virginia was marked out by the report as it is where companies such as Amazon and Microsoft have major data centers.