AWS Aims to be Water Positive by 2030
Amazon Web Services (AWS) revealed on Monday that it plans to be water positive by 2030, giving back more water than it uses directly. Amazon's (AMZN) cloud business has been looking into sustainability and innovation for a long time, but this is a new level of public commitment, said AWS CEO Adam Selipsky in an exclusive interview before the announcement.
Global water supplies are under increasing strain: the United Nations predicts that by 2030, global water demand will outstrip availability by 40%. For Selipsky, whose previous work has stressed sustainability both within and outside of Amazon, it's also important that, in addition to announcing the company's commitment to water positivity, the company is also releasing its 2021 global water use efficiency metric (WUE), which comes out to 0.25 litres of water per kilowatt-hour.
“That makes us the leader in water efficiency among cloud providers,” said Selipsky. “Some don’t release statistics at all, others do, and we perform best on that accepted metric. So, we’re really well on our way to becoming water positive and innovating to lower water use across our facilities.”
Other IT giants, including Microsoft (MSFT), Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), and Meta (META), have made water-friendly pledges in recent years. This is especially significant for AWS because it comes from the cloud business. A cloud business's data centres are notably water-intensive, as they frequently require enormous volumes of water for cooling. Some drought-prone localities have even begun to push back against Big Tech's water usage in their communities in recent years.
The stakes for AWS are high; its growth has long been exponential and is regarded as critical to Amazon's future; yet, part of that growth slowed slightly last quarter. However, according to Selipsky, sustainability is not incompatible with growth.
“We’re trying to embed sustainability in everything we do as a company, and I think that organisations need to do exactly that,” he said. “That said, I think there are many places where sustainability and good economics are partners, not enemies ... To look at another part of the business, since 2015, Amazon’s reduced the amount of packaging per delivery by 38%... and that's led to a 30% reduction in packaging weight."
"It’s good for the environment, it’s good for the convenience of our customers, and it’s good for Amazon economics,” he added.
As it pursues its water positivity goals, AWS is concentrating on four distinct areas: water efficiency, "sustainable sources," "community water reuse," and water replenishment programmes. Some of these initiatives have been in the works for several years. Amazon has also collaborated with The Nature Conservancy, WateReuse Association, Freshwater Trust, WaterAid, and Water.org, which was co-founded by actor Matt Damon.
AWS plans to update its WUE metric and report on its progress toward water positivity in 2023, and it has said that it will do this every year.
Source: Yahoo Finance