Invisible Dirty Energy

Submitted by Mary Meade on June 16, 2020
Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

Green businesses are committed to the highest standard of sustainability and are often leaders in their industry. Many of the Green Business Network members purchase renewable energy and invest in wind and solar for their storefronts. Despite this, fossil fuels are ubiquitous in the sneakiest ways—which can make it hard to truly unplug. Here are a few ways fossil fuels may be dirtying your business without you knowing.

Dirty Energy on the Web

A website is a digital storefront. This is where customers can see and purchase your products, where they can learn about your values, and where you can promote your brand. In an increasingly connected world, your website is your key to reaching consumers located miles away. During the COVID-19 pandemic in particular, e-commerce may be your only touchpoint with consumers.

Unfortunately, your website may be dirtying your business without you knowing. Unless you host your site yourself, your website likely lives on a data server in a warehouse powered by fossil fuels. Data servers consume vast amounts of energy since they must be powered on and kept cool at all times.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is one such hosting platform that uses fossil fuels. AWS is a laggard in the industry, as Google and Apple have both powered their data centers on 100 percent clean energy for years. Green America has mobilized thousands of consumers to pressure Amazon to switch its servers to renewable energy and has successfully pushed the company to reach 50 percent renewables; however, that is not enough.

You can confirm if your business website is hosted by AWS by searching your website URL on this page. If so, your business voice is crucial in pressuring Amazon to unplug from dirty fossil fuels. Add your organization to the open letter and tell Amazon to switch to 100 percent renewable energy.

Additionally, you can switch your hosting service to a sustainable one—green hosting services purchase Renewable Energy Certificates to claim their clean energy usage. The Green Business Network is home to several certified green hosting services, including CanvasHost and Sustainable Hosting. Search for more green computing services on the National Green Pages. 

Dirty Energy at the Bank

Where you lend from also has an impact on sustainability. When you acquire a business loan or open an account at a bank, your dollars are going to projects the bank chooses to fund. Some banks will choose to loan to small businesses like yours; some banks will loan to drilling projects in the Arctic.

Currently, megabanks fund fossil fuel projects around the world. JPMorgan Chase is the biggest fossil fuel financer, providing $75 billion since the Paris Climate Agreement for drilling, fracking, and extraction projects. While they have announced plans to end loans for Arctic drilling and coal mining due to pressure from consumers and the industry competition, it appears the megabank does not prioritize climate initiatives—it even recommended its shareholders to say no to multiple climate resolutions earlier this year.

If you bank with JPMorgan Chase, your voice matters. Urge Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, to stop financing fossil fuels and invest in clean energy. Add your organization’s name to the growing list of businesses demanding better.

You can also change your bank to one that invests in the community. CDFIs, credit unions, and green banks invest in local projects to enhance community welfare. Find a better bank using the Green America better bank directory and break up with your megabank with these 10 easy steps.

As your business grows, it is important to ensure expansion does not equal waste. There are more steps you can take to ensure your business’ carbon footprint remains low—from food waste to refrigerants—at 9 Ways Your Small Business Can Reduce Carbon Emissions.

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