Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/08/greenpeace_it_leaderboard/

Greenpeace releases 'Cool IT' rankings

By Lewis Page

Posted in Science, 8th February 2012 12:25 GMT

Opinion Greenpeace has issued a "Cool IT leaderboard" of apparently randomly selected major firms which it has assigned meaningless self-generated scores intended to indicate how eco-friendly the companies are.

The list includes Google (top ranked with a score of 53 out of a possible 100) and other major names like Cisco, Microsoft, Dell and Oracle. However many others including Apple, Samsung, Nokia, Sony and Amazon (to name just a few) don't appear.

Also missing is Facebook, which is odd as the giant social network has lately been much loved-up by the hippies for issuing a meaningless agreement [PDF] - containing not a single number or date other than that of its publication - stating that its "goal is to power all of our operations with clean and renewable energy".

The "leaderboard" scores for those firms listed include sub-ratings from Greenpeace on "solutions" and "energy impact", though these mostly don't reflect much in the way of actual carbon-emissions savings, as you can score big simply by announcing plans and targets or releasing figures (in effect the scores reflect a willingness, or lack of willingness, to have any dialogue with the hippies at all).

In any case as most estimates indicate that the IT sector is responsible for a few percent of humanity's greenhouse-gas burden at best, even the most swingeing genuine cuts in IT-biz emissions wouldn't mean a whole lot in the doomsday global-warming scenarios advocated by Greenpeace**. This is perhaps why there's another scoring area, "advocacy", where each IT company is rated on its efforts to push green policies on governments and the energy sector.

In theory this ought to be a place where the hippies could get some traction, as the tech biz heavies don't actually use very much energy in Western countries - not compared to other industries anyway. They wouldn't mind too much if Western energy prices went up, provided this happened to their competitors too: as electricity and other energy prices rise, they could flog a lot of IT equipment for smart metering, smart grids and the like, kit which is only marginally necessary at best given current prices. And with Western political leaders often seeming rather mesmerised by IT companies at the moment, they might have the clout to get some policies in place.

But it seems that the IT majors are nonetheless unwilling to be seen as trying to hurt the Western economies in these times of hardship.

“The IT sector might like to consider itself forward-thinking, but it is keeping far too quiet while the dirty energy industry continues to exert undue influence on both the political process and financial markets," laments Greenpeace's Gary Cook.

As you were, then. ®