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InfoQ Homepage News Reduce the Environmental Impact of AWS Workloads with the New Customer Carbon Footprint Tool

Reduce the Environmental Impact of AWS Workloads with the New Customer Carbon Footprint Tool

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AWS recently released a new customer carbon footprint tool to allow its customers to calculate the environmental impact of their workloads. 

The company co-founded The Climate Pledge in 2019 to increase sustainability and reduce carbon emissions. Along with the 216 other signatories to the Pledge, it is committed to reaching net-zero carbon by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement. In an AWS news post, Jeff Barr, chief evangelist at AWS, stated that customers now understand that running their applications in AWS Cloud can help them to lower their carbon footprint by 88%. This reduction is detailed in The Carbon Reduction Opportunity of Moving to Amazon Web Services, published by 451 Research.

The carbon footprint tool provides customers with simple data visualizations to help them understand their historical carbon emissions to evaluate emission trends as their use of AWS evolves. In addition, it gives an estimation of carbon emissions they have avoided by using AWS instead of an on-premises data center and review forecasted emissions based on current use.

Customers can access the tool through the Cost & Usage Reports in the AWS Billing Console. Next, they can view their carbon emissions data by geographical location and AWS services. Furthermore, as they deploy new cloud resources, they can track changes in their carbon footprint over time. All measurements are provided in Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (MTCO2e).


The tool uses data that complies with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the international standard for reporting greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the calculator shows scope 1 and 2 emissions defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Next to the tool, customers can also leverage the AWS Well-new Architected's Sustainability Pillar, which contains six design principles for sustainability in the cloud. It will show them how to understand the impact and get the best utilization from the minimal number of necessary resources while also reducing downstream effects.

In a tweet, founder and CEO of Aokumo Inc., Younes Hairej, stated:

Great to see AWS adding a sustainability pillar to Well-Architected Review. Service providers should make it easy for customers to bake sustainability in their business/technology strategy.

Note that AWS and its competitors in the public cloud space, Microsoft and Google, globally operate large-scale data centers and thus consume a vast amount of energy. Yet, they are more efficient in energy consumption than traditional data centers. An IDC report from last year estimates that between 2021 and 2024, the shift to cloud computing should prevent at least 629 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. 

Adam Selipsky, the CEO of AWS, emphasized the importance of the tool in a tweet

With the launch of our customer carbon footprint tool, we are making it easy for customers to understand—and even forecast—how #AWS is helping to lower their carbon footprints.

In addition, Adrian Cockcroft, VP Amazon Sustainability Architecture, stated in a response tweet:

This isn't about personal carbon footprints, which was the BP usage. It's about corporate IT carbon footprints of AWS cloud usage, which are far lower than data center equivalents.

Lastly, the Customer Carbon Footprint Tool is available at no cost, and more details are available on the documentation page.

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