Getting to a Green Internet, One Goal at a Time

April 29, 2016
  • Kelly Gallo portrait

    Kelly Gallo

    Director, Technology Sectors, BSR

Last July, BSR’s Future of Internet Power, which includes influential information and communications technology (ICT) companies, shared our vision of powering the internet with 100 percent renewable energy. At that time, we also set a near-term goal: By July 2016, we wanted our impact to help double the number of ICT companies publicly committing to a 100 percent renewables goal, growing from 10 to 20 companies. And in light of a timely Earth Day announcement by Etsy, a Future of Internet Power member, we are pleased share that 20 ICT companies have indeed made this commitment.*

As we celebrate this milestone, BSR, members of Future of Internet Power, and our nonprofit partners are working to make a clean internet a reality by tackling industry-specific barriers, building partnerships across sectors, collaborating to share best practices, and, together, creating a stronger voice in the industry.

Earlier this year, Future of Internet Power released a working paper to help companies that lease space in colocation data centers (colos) work with their service providers on feasible renewable energy solutions, with the aim of maximizing the use of renewable energy at U.S. colo facilities. Through this research, we found that while both colo users and owners have genuine interest in using renewables to power the growing demand of energy-intensive data centers, two challenges remain: how both parties (colo owners and users) approach greenhouse gas emissions accounting and how renewable energy certificates (RECs) are attributed to each.

Future of Internet Power is now tackling the issues of emissions accounting and REC attribution, with plans to develop industry-specific guidance that will complement existing reporting requirements (specifically, the GHG Protocol’s Corporate Standard). Developing a widely recognized, standardized approach to these two issues would make it easier to use and scale renewable energy to power colos.  

We look forward to sharing an update and inviting stakeholder feedback on this latest effort at the upcoming annual summit BSR co-hosts with our partners Rocky Mountain Institute, World Resources Institute, and the World Wildlife Fund. Together, our organizations comprise the Renewable Energy Buyers’ Alliance (REBA), an initiative that unites policy advocacy, transactional support, and industry-specific efforts to help increase market demand and scale corporate purchasing of renewable energy.

This year’s REBA Summit, held May 18-20 at Microsoft headquarters in Seattle, will be an interactive event focused on accelerating the fast-growing market for utility-scale corporate renewable energy transactions. As noted in BSR’s recent interview with Bill Weihl of Facebook, the coordination among REBA partners increases our collective impact and provides comprehensive support for companies with varying degrees of renewable energy experience.  

As BSR and our partners continue to play a role in helping companies make and meet ambitious energy commitments, we’re also proud to see our members lend their influence to similar sustainability initiatives. For example, Future of Internet Power member Adobe signed the consumer brand brief, and their technology peers, the “Tech Amici,” submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court, with both briefs pledging resounding support for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. Support for climate-smart policy goes hand-in-hand with climate action within companies. 

While technology companies continue to raise their voices on energy issues across the United States—be it from LEED Platinum corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley to Etsy’s new solar-accessorized rooftop in Brooklyn—Future of Internet Power is eager to inspire all companies that are users of colocation data centers to join us in exploring and implementing renewable energy solutions.

*ICT Companies with 100 percent renewables commitments as of April 29, 2016: Acer America, Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Autodesk, Box Company, BT, Digital Realty, Etsy, Equinix, Facebook, Google, Infosys, IO, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Rackspace, Salesforce, SAP, and Switch.

Let’s talk about how BSR can help you to transform your business and achieve your sustainability goals.

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