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Amazon, Google, and Microsoft’s Race Toward a Green Cloud

In the global corporate push toward sustainability and transparency, green cloud has emerged as the combination of two critical ideas: the transformative power of cloud computing and the imperative of environmental ethical considerations. For CTO’s at major companies, the focus shifted from merely leveraging the cloud for business benefits to doing so in a manner that is ecologically responsible.

As we move ahead in the digital age, the green cloud stands as a testament to the tech industry’s commitment to a sustainable future. It offers a promising pathway that combines technological prowess with environmental responsibility. As a result, major public cloud providers, like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, are actively looking for solutions that not only drive technological advancements but also promote environmental stewardship.

Below, we’ll dive into major initiatives of three tech giants to determine who is inching closest to the concept of green cloud computing.


Google is committed to environmental responsibility and has been a leader in green computing for over a decade. The company has set the most ambitious energy goal of running the business on 24/2 carbon-free energy by 2030. 

To power each Google Cloud region, Google uses electricity from the grid where the region is located. This electricity generates more or less carbon emissions (gCO2eq), depending on the type of power plants generating electricity for that grid and when it is consumed.

To characterize each region Google uses a metric: “CFE%”. This metric is calculated for every hour and tells us what percentage of the energy is consumed during an hour that is carbon-free, based on two elements:

  1. The generation feeding the grid at that time (which power plants are running)
  2. Google attributed clean energy produced onto that grid during that time.

The company then aggregates the available average hourly CFE percentage for each Google Cloud region for the year and generates a report for detailed analysis.

Additional initiatives:

  • Google actively invests in renewable energy sources like solar and wind power to ensure their data centers are powered by clean energy, reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Google Cloud utilizes machine learning to optimize data center operations further. These AI-powered systems identify and implement efficiency improvements, minimizing energy waste.
  • Google Cloud fosters a strong partner ecosystem with companies offering sustainability-focused solutions. These partners can help you track carbon emissions, optimize supply chains, and develop sustainable products and services.


Microsoft is committed to put sustainable technologies at the heart of innovation – to make sure we are adapting and growing along with the planet with the lowest environmental impact. In fact, Azure, as a part of Microsoft, has been 100 percent carbon-neutral since 2012 and aims to be carbon-negative by 2030. Further, by 2050, the goal is to remove all of its historical carbon emitted—either directly or by electrical consumption. Moreover, a 2018 study finds that the Microsoft cloud is as much as 93 percent more energy efficient and as much as 98 percent more carbon efficient than on-premises solutions. 

Following this spirit, Microsoft has been focusing on the following areas:

  • Adopt the multi-constraint and multi-objective optimization framework, with the aim to build a carbon-aware workload
  • Boost resource utilization efficiency to reduce future hardware purchases so that much energy can be saved during the hardware manufacturing process.
  • Optimize device lifespan and recycling by predicting hardware failures and developing a management system that fully utilizes hardware with different levels of reliability.


Amazon Web Services (AWS), one of the most well-known cloud computing platforms has set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2040 and to use 100% renewable energy by 2025.

To achieve this, the company has invested in numerous wind and solar projects around the world, which collectively generate millions of megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable energy annually. These projects are not only powering AWS operations but are also feeding clean energy into the broader electric grid, thereby contributing to a reduction in overall carbon emissions.

Additional initiatives:

  • AWS has developed the AWS Carbon Footprint tool, which offers customers detailed insights into the carbon emissions associated with their AWS usage. This transparency fosters accountability and encourages businesses to adopt more sustainable cloud computing practices.
  • The company’s data centers are designed to be highly energy-efficient and lowers carbon emissions drastically when compared to other surveyed enterprise data centers. This translates to a significant reduction in the environmental footprint of businesses that leverage AWS services.

In conclusion, all three cloud providers have made significant progress in sustainability. And they will continue to innovate in this area in their own ways to compete for the title of ‘most sustainable cloud provider’.

Moreover, it is important to remember that the size of your carbon footprint will also depend on how you use your cloud platform of choice. Hence it’s always recommended that you choose a substantial cloud provider that suits your needs and budget.

In brief

Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure offer various sustainability initiatives and are working to reduce their carbon footprints. Choosing one of these sustainable cloud computing platforms can make a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions. 

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Gizel Gomes

Gizel Gomes is a professional technical writer with a bachelor's degree in computer science. With a unique blend of technical acumen, industry insights, and writing prowess, she produces informative and engaging content for the B2B tech domain.
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