Tencent Holdings Ltd is the best of China’s energy-guzzling cloud services providers when it comes to tackling carbon emissions and procuring from renewable sources, Greenpeace said in a research report.
Tencent took the top spot among cloud providers in Greenpeace East Asia’s latest clean energy scorecard for China’s tech sector, beating out Alibaba, which fell to fourth place. Chindata Group once again scored first in the data center operator category.
Shenzhen-based Tencent, which runs the world’s largest video games business by revenue and China’s biggest social media operation with WeChat, ranked first on the clean energy scorecard among cloud providers because of its “overall progress”, according to Greenpeace. That included the firm’s positive record on transparency, increase in renewable energy procurement and recent pledge to work towards carbon neutrality.
Greenpeace urged all Chinese internet companies to set targets for 100% renewable energy use and achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. The non-governmental organization added that carbon offsets are not a substitute for the reduction of fossil fuel emissions, and that companies must scale up their procurement of wind and solar energy.
The gaming and social media giant also said in January it would work towards carbon neutrality although it did not give a target date.
Huawei Technologies ranked second and Baidu Inc third. Alibaba fell from first place last year to fourth with Greenpeace saying it had performed poorly in disclosing energy data and switching to renewable energy sources.
Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
China’s data center industry is a significant and growing source of CO2 emissions. Energy consumption from the sector is on track to increase by 66% between 2019 and 2023, at which point electricity consumption from the industry is projected to rival that of Australia. In 2018, data centers in China were powered 73% by coal.
GDS, which hosts both Tencent and Alibaba operations, fell from second to sixth in the latest clean energy use rankings. Over the past 14 months, GDS has made no progress in the categories of energy transparency and renewable energy commitments, according to Greenpeace. By contrast, AtHub and 21 Vianet have both released energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission data.
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