Salesforce, a company that pioneered and helped define the cloud computing market, announced yesterday a goal of becoming fully powered by renewable energy. Salesforce’s commitment sends an important signal to the rest of the IT sector that energy efficiency is important, but not enough: The sector must shift its explosive growth in electricity demand to renewable sources.
“We see the development of renewable sources of energy as an important part of our sustainability strategy, and we believe the cloud should be powered by clean sources of energy,” the company said in its announcement. “That’s why we are committing to work to steadily increase the amount of renewable energy we use in our data center operations, to reach our goal to be fully powered by renewable energy.”
To this end, the company committed to taking the following steps this year:
- Adopting a data-center siting policy that prioritizes access to clean and renewable energy supply
- Researching energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions for future data centers
- Encouraging data center energy providers to increase the supply of renewable energy
- Convening peers, sustainability specialists and energy experts around data center energy issues.
In response to Salesforce's announcement, Greenpeace senior IT analyst Gary Cook said, "Greenpeace applauds Salesforce for joining Google and Facebook in the growing club of global technology companies who agree that a green cloud is important to their growth, and that a truly green cloud must be powered by renewable energy.
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“The transformation of Salesforce’s cloud to renewable electricity will not happen overnight, but the commitment and initial steps in its announcement show that the company intends to play a leading role in shaping a truly green cloud.”
Greenpeace announced it supports Salesforce’s efforts to move toward completely renewable energy, and will monitor its progress and that of other companies in the sector that are working to achieve a cloud that is 100 percent powered by renewable electricity.
This commitment to environmental sustainability is the latest addition to Salesforce’s ongoing corporate responsibility efforts: The Salesforce Foundation’s 1/1/1 philanthropic model supports employee volunteer work; offers grants to youth, technology, and employee-inspired projects; and donates or discounts its core product, Salesforce CRM, for nonprofits and mission-driven companies.