Using Carbon Footprint Tools for AWS Sustainability

First announced in December 2021 alongside Sustainability as the sixth pillar of the AWS Well-Architected Framework, Amazon released the Customer Carbon Footprint Tool in March 2022. This data dashboard helps businesses relying on Amazon Web Services better understand the environmental impact of their workload.

Here’s how the tool works and how it helps you improve compliance with AWS Sustainability standards.

Background Information

The Carbon Footprint Tool’s primary purpose is to help customers visualise the MTCO2e (metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent) emissions generated by their usage of AWS services and make each customer an active element in reducing worldwide emissions and the overall environmental impact of cloud computing.

What the Tool Displays

The Carbon Footprint Tool is a free tool available to customers in the AWS Billing Console, under Cost & Usage Reports. It functions like other data dashboards, allowing you to set start and end dates and display data relevant to the selected period.

The carbon emissions data displayed are Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, as defined by the EPA. The data used is fully compliant with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, an international standard system for reporting emissions of greenhouse gases, such as CO2.

After setting your start and end month, the data displayed is broken down into the following sections and categories:

● Carbon emissions summary
This section displays your estimated AWS usage carbon emissions and how many MTCO2e emissions you saved using AWS over local hosting. It provides a quick, at-a-glance number that helps visualise the effectiveness and sustainability of AWS services.

● Emission savings summary
This section further breaks down your total AWS emissions savings into two categories: savings from using AWS computing services and AWS renewable energy purchases.

● Emissions by geography
This section shows a pie chart with your emissions in three geographic areas: APAC (Asia-pacific), EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), and AMER (Americas).

● Emissions by services
This section lists the AWS services utilised (EC2, S3, etc.) and the emissions produced per service. It can help you understand which services consume the most energy and give you clues on how to optimise your resource consumption.

● Emissions graphs
The second half of the dashboard comprises two emissions graphs:

● A timeline graph of your carbon emissions month per month, with settings to see your emissions quarter-by-quarter and year-by-year
● A graph showing the projected progress to 100% renewable energy based on your current consumption.

Become Fully Sustainable With an AWS Partner
At WOLK Technology, our role is to help you transition to the cloud efficiently and ensure your data’s safety, operational excellence, and sustainability. Contact one of our experts today to learn more about AWS sustainability compliance.