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Google leads on clean energy ranking of IT companies

Internet search engine giant Google takes tops honors among 21 information technology companies for using and advocating clean energy, followed by Cisco and Ericsson, according to a scorecard Thursday by environmental group Greenpeace.

By Brendan Hoffman, Getty Images

“Google tops the table because it’s putting its money where its mouth is by pumping investment into renewable energy, saidGreenpeace International analyst Gary Cook in releasing the fifth edition of its “Cool IT Leaderboard.” He said the IT industry is driving significant energy demand with its data centers and global infrastructure but is not doing enough to address the impact on pollution. “What we’re seeing is a lot of talk from companies about moving toward clean energy, but so far, not much of action,” Cook said.

The leaderboard, which scored companies on their use and public advocacy of clean energy, said Google, Cisco and Dell stand out for sourcing more than 20% of their global energy use from green sources such as solar and wind. It ranked Oracle lowest overall for failing to disclose the details of its energy use.

It added six IT companies since its last edition, including brands from India and Japan, but did not include Apple or Facebook. It said those American brands did not meet its criteria. It said Apple has not shown leadership in seeking clean energy solutions, despite record profits, and Facebook only recently committed to renewable power. It said Facebook, which announced a partnership with energy-management company Opower to help Facebook users compare their energy usage, will be included in next year’s ranking.

Google has invested heavily in clean energy. Google’s Rick Needham, speaking at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum in San Francisco last year, said the company has invested more than $850 million to develop and deploy clean energy.

In September, it announced $75 million in financing to help up to 3,000 homeowners lease solar panels. In June, Google announced its first investment in residential solar — a $280 million fund with SolarCity, of San Mateo, Calif., to install solar panels in up to 9,000 homes and lease them on a monthly basis with zero upfront costs.

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Google leads on clean energy ranking of IT companies