Greenpeace releases its "Clicking Clean" report each year, comparing major internet companies in renewable energy use and their advocacy of clean energy policies. The past few years have seen familiar names leading the pack, improving every year, and it's become clear which companies have made clean energy a priority and which have not.
For the third year in a row, Apple comes out on top in clean energy use and Google and Facebook were right behind with all three companies getting an overall grade of A on the scorecard.
Microsoft, Adobe and Salesforce all got an overall B grade, while Amazon, IBM and HP all received a C. Greenpeace has called Amazon out in previous years for not being open about its energy use and it did so again this year by giving the company an F in energy transparency.
If you're wondering how to green your entertainment this year, just look to the best scoring companies for streaming choices. Google-owned YouTube scored highest with an A on the video streaming scorecard, while Netflix received a D and Hulu an F. For music streaming, Apple's iTunes received an A while other major services like Spotify, Soundcloud and Pandora did poorly.
It's particularly important that streaming services invest in clean energy as the data demand of video streaming is expected to grow rapidly over the coming years. The report says, "In 2020, the traffic due to video streaming will occupy more than 80.0% of the total traffic generated among all consumer-generated traffic. Every second, nearly a million minutes of video content will cross the network by 2020."
Greenpeace has called on Netflix, which has the highest traffic, to be an industry leader and do more than just purchase carbon offsets as it currently does and purchase renewable energy directly.
The report says that the IT sector currently consumes 7 percent of global electricity and internet traffic is expected to triple by 2020. Luckily, 20 internet companies have pledged a move to 100 percent renewables, but there needs to be more clean energy development in the areas where data centers are being built like in Asia and, in the U.S., Virginia.