Carbon emissions targets at leading technology companies, such as Samsung, Intel, Microsoft, Apple and Fujitsu, are being hit by a shift to cloud computing and supply chain reporting, says sustainability data publishing site Ecodesk. Samsung and Intel in particular have seen their CO2 emissions rocket due to the inclusion of their supply chain.
Ecodesk profiled more than 50 of the top technology companies among hundreds of other global businesses. Its data shows that in fact tech companies with the highest carbon footprints are actually the most responsible.
Samsung, Intel and Apple, for example, have high CO2 emissions, but they include the emissions of their respective supply chains (called GHG Scope 3) as part of their standard reporting, which follows recent guidelines by the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD). The result is that on the surface they look like big polluters. Intel's carbon footprint is 46m tonnes of CO2, but its supply chain accounts for about 96 percent of its total emissions.
"Tech companies in particular are leading the charge and being very bold by forfeiting their own emission targets to embrace the emissions produced by third parties," said Robert Clarke, CEO at Ecodesk. "The shift to embrace cloud computing and supply chains has meant that each company that embraces what we feel is the most comprehensive model experience their own emissions shoot up although the overall impact on the environment is reduced significantly by cloud computing, and supply chain imperatives. I have no doubt that this is the right move for the environment although on first glance it doesn't look good in terms of hitting emissions targets."
The problem with cloud computing is also compounded by whether a cloud is deemed 'clean' or 'dirty.' While embracing the cloud does have longer term environmental benefits, technology companies have to ensure they are dealing with data centres which employ progressive sustainability measures and use renewable power sources and highly advanced efficiency in power consumption, from lighting to cooling.
Ecodesk claims to be the world's largest, public, sustainability database of carbon, energy, water and waste, with data on more than 17,000 global organisations.
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