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Google Topples Cisco To Top Greenpeace’s Cool IT Leaderboard

Google has dethroned Cisco in the environmental NGO’s fifth edition of its environmental awareness, green leaderboard

Greenpeace’s fifth version of its Cool IT Leaderboard has revealed Google to be the top green technology company, beating out Cisco and Ericsson which were placed second and third respectively.

The Non-governmental organisation’s (NGO) leaderboard ranked the 21 companies on their IT Climate Solutions, IT Energy Impact, and Political Advocacy, to determine which tech firm is doing the most to reduce their impact on climate change.

Rating eco-friendliness

Google Solar Plant

Google’s rise from second place last year is attributed to an ‘overdue shift’ from the company to disclose its energy footprint, which raised its Energy Impact score. The report praises Google’s plans to increase reliance on renewable energy to 35 per cent this and their $915 million (£576m) investment into renewal energy products. However, it does express disappointment in Google’s scrapping of the RE>C project.

“Google’s commitment to transparency, new investments in clean energy solutions, and success in powering a significant percentage of its operations with renewable energy is what we expect to see from leading IT companies,” said Gary Cook, a Greenpeace International IT analyst, in a statement.  “Given their rapidly increasing energy demand, these companies must work to change the rules needed to drive greater investments in clean technology and renewable energy deployment.”

Despite garnering praise from Greenpeace and coming out triumphant in this year’s leaderboard, Google’s score was only 53 out of a potential 100 points, a meagre figure compared to Cisco’s score of 70 in the last leaderboard. Greenpeace’s report suggests that the latter’s fall is partly due to a redistribution of points allocation in the Solutions criteria, but also because of their failure to be more vocal advocates of climate and energy policies.

The environmental NGO cites Google and Vodafone’s support of a 30 per cent European Union emissions-reduction target as one example where others are outperforming Cisco in the advocacy criteria.

Softbank, the Japanese Telecommunication company, was particularly impressive in this category. Following the Fukushima disaster, the firm is noted for its tremendous support of clean-energy policies in that country.

Apple and Facebook

In a statement, Greenpeace notes that companies are ranked based on “their clean leadership potential, including opportunities to enable clean energy solutions and ability to influence decision on all levels of government”. Notable absentees are Facebook and Apple, though Greenpeace recently announced an agreement with the former to “unfriend coal” and plans to include the social network in next year’s report.

Apple, meanwhile, was excluded for having “not demonstrated leadership or elected to pursue market opportunities to drive IT energy solutions that many of its competitors have, despite record profits and large cash reserves”.

The full version of the Cool IT Leaderboard is available to read here.