In the face of mounting public pressure, Amazon has announced new plans to use more clean energy to power its computing subsidiary Amazon Web Services (AWS). With this move, the company hopes to be on track to meet its goal of reaching 100% renewable energy use by 2030.
The retailing giant announced plans for four new renewable energy projects to power its data centers – an announcement that came only after intense activism on the part of Green America and allied groups.
Todd Larsen, executive co-director of Consumer and Corporate Engagement at Green America, said: “Despite AWS’s prominence in the cloud computing space, the company has not kept pace with competitors in terms of renewable energy use. While Amazon has committed to 100% clean energy by 2030, other companies are getting there much faster. The climate crisis is impacting us now. While this announcement is a step in the right direction, ten years is too long to wait for one of the world’s richest companies to catch up on renewable energy.”
In 2014, Green America launched its Build a Cleaner Cloud campaign urging Amazon to shift to renewable energy to power its cloud computing services and protect workers in their warehouses and supply chain. Consumers involved in the campaign canceled their Amazon Prime subscriptions, stopped shopping on Amazon.com, and sent messages directly to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and the company. More than 42,000 consumers joined in the Green America push, which was the largest of its kind.
After years of intense consumer pressure, Amazon finally reached 50% renewable energy use in 2018. Last year, Amazon adopted a 100% clean energy target for powering its widely used AWS cloud computing operation.
While Amazon has made progress on renewable energy use, worker safety remains a concern. In the current context, Amazon needs to meet its workers’ demands to protect their safety.