Sustainability

Amazon Australia refuses to reveal emissions data, claiming “trade secrets”

Matthew Elmas /

Amazon doesn’t want to reveal how much greenhouse gasses its Australian data centres are pumping into the atmosphere because competitors could find out how it is saving energy.

In the same week officials from around the world meet in Europe to chart a roadmap for dealing with climate change, Amazon has sought to keep its own initiatives from the public eye.

An ABC report published yesterday reveals the e-commerce giant has applied to block the broadcaster’s freedom of information request concerning its Australian emissions data. 

The company cited a “trade secret” and another matter of commercial value concerning its energy saving initiatives, the ABC reported. The company reportedly believes the initiative is commercially advantageous. 

Information about Amazon’s local greenhouse emissions for the 2017-18 year would otherwise be published on the Clean Energy Regulator’s online database.

Amazon Australia didn’t respond to questions on Friday about whether it believes holding back the information is responsible in the context of international efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions. 

Research published in the journal Nature last year found data centres contribute around 0.3% of the world’s overall carbon emissions, chewing up 200 terawatt hours of electricity each year. For context, the entirety of Australia uses 248 terawatt hours annually.

Amazon’s cloud hosting business Amazon Web Services has promised to go 100% renewable, claiming to have exceeded 50% last year.

Amazon was also targeted by not for profit climate group CDP earlier this month alongside oil giants like Exxon Mobil as a company not doing enough to be transparent about their environmental footprint.

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Matthew Elmas

Matthew is the news editor at SmartCompany. You can contact him at [email protected].