Google Tops Greenpeace's Cool IT Rankings

Google beats Cisco to the top spot in Greenpeace's list of eco-friendly IT companies while much of the industry doesn't even have a plan in place to lower their eco-footprint.

By Pedro Hernandez | Posted Feb 8, 2012
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Not that Google necessarily needs the acclaim, but Google has another reason today to gloat. It was just ranked as the greenest tech company by Greenpeace in its latest edition of its Cool IT Leaderboard.

This time, Google "wrested control" of the top spot from Cisco, which last took the lead in December 2010's list and placed second this time around. Ericsson and Fujitsu tied for third place. IBM and HP round out the top 10 at ninth and tenth place, respectively.

Key to Google's victory is transparency, at least when it comes to the environmental impact of its IT operations. Greenpeace's Gary Cook noted the following on the organization's blog: "Google is way ahead on climate solutions and energy impacts, thanks to its disclosure of its energy footprint, and for providing its impressively detailed mitigation plan for achieving emissions reductions."

Years in the making

Over the years, Google has been steadily building an eco-friendly reputation. During Bloom Energy's splashy debut, it was revealed that Google was the fuel cell maker's first customer. Bloom Boxes are currently supplying Google's main campus in Mountain View with low-carbon power.

In recent months, the search giant has made massive investments in solar and has been offsetting its carbon footprint, in part, by inking big power purchasing agreements with wind farms.

Google also recently opened the doors to a data center in Finland in what was once a paper mill. The facility uses seawater from a nearby bay to draw less energy for cooling its servers.

But it wasn't only the company's mastery of green IT practices and its knack for embracing clean tech that earned Google the number one spot. 

In addition to factors like environmental impact and the implementation of earth-friendly solutions Greenpeace evaluates IT companies by their advocacy campaigns. Here, too, Google's got its bases covered. "On top of this, Google continues to speak up on important climate change policies, and make its voice heard on the immediate need for both US and EU governments to aggressively cut emissions," wrote Cook.

But other companies aren't following suit. According to Cook, the IT industry is scaling back its environmental advocacy efforts. He adds that companies that embark on nebulous green initiatives aren't cutting it, "Several companies dropped points for pushing vague plans to mitigate their climate footprint, and for the lack of any plans for powering their future data centers with renewable energy."

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of IT-related websites and as the Green IT curator for GigaOM Pro. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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