Member Spotlight: AWS’s Commitment to Bettering California Communities, Businesses and Environment

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Silicon Valley is the global hub of tech innovation — making Northern California a natural home for the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS). Bay Area data centers allow startups, established enterprises, and leading government agencies to access cost-effective and efficient computing, data storage, and database technologies.

California is a hub of cloud computing innovation for AWS, driving technological advancements and fostering economic growth. California AWS data centers account for $2.11 billion of the state’s GDP. AWS is also committed to advancing California’s sustainability and environmental efforts, developing the skills, education and opportunities of tomorrow’s leaders and environmental progression and supporting the communities in which it operates. 

Read about AWS’s commitment to communities>>

AWS has invested over $108 billion in cloud computing infrastructure and contributed nearly $38 billion in the U.S. gross domestic product while supporting about 30,000 jobs since its launch in 2011-2022. AWS’s Economic Impact Study released this week reported a significant impact AWS’s data centers have on the job market, educational opportunities, environment and local business within the communities hosting AWS data centers. According to the report, much of this economic impact is credited to the construction, connection, maintenance, and operation of AWS’s data centers. 

AWS is committed to being water-positive by 2030 — meaning AWS is working to return more water to communities and the environment than it uses in its direct operations. Investing in water replenishment projects in the communities where it operates is just one method AWS uses to meet this goal. In the Bay Area, AWS partners with The Freshwater Trust and the Omochumne-Hartnell Water District to preserve and restore groundwater along the Consumnes River, one of only a few undammed rivers remaining in California. 

“At AWS, we are committed to ensuring we have a positive impact on water resources in Northern California and other regions where we operate.” said Will Hewes, AWS Water Sustainability Lead. “While we rely on water from the Bay Delta to cool some of our Northern California data centers, we are also working with local governments, public utilities, and nonprofits to recharge groundwater and invest in recycled water infrastructure to help solve water challenges in the region.”

At a recent forum hosted by the Bay Area Council, Hewes helped lead a discussion with other top water sustainability leaders on the many innovative ways big companies like AWS are using technology to reduce, conserve and reuse water.

Watch the forum on water sustainability>>

California has long been a pioneer in environmental sustainability and has embraced cloud computing to address energy consumption and carbon footprint concerns. Cloud providers have invested heavily in energy-efficient data centers and implemented innovative cooling technologies to reduce power consumption. By consolidating computing resources and optimizing utilization, cloud computing reduces the need for individual organizations to maintain and operate their energy-intensive data centers. This consolidation also enables organizations to take advantage of renewable energy sources on a larger scale, contributing to California’s ambitious renewable energy goals and promoting a greener future. 

Additionally, AWS is working towards its water positivity goal by leveraging AWS cloud technology to mitigate the impacts of climate change and promote water conservation. AWS has been working with Epic Cleantec (another Bay Area Council member) to implement a water return system and water leak detection program to prevent water waste throughout San Francisco.

By democratizing access to advanced computing power and storage, cloud computing has leveled the playing field for businesses of all sizes. Startups and small businesses in California can leverage cloud-based platforms to reduce infrastructure costs, enhance operational efficiency, and scale their operations rapidly. Among these is “AWS Think Big for Small Business,” a program created by AWS to provide small and minority-owned public sector organizations unique access to business, technical, and marketing enablement support and cloud-based solutions. By utilizing cloud services, these companies can focus on their core competencies and rely on the expertise of cloud providers to handle their infrastructure needs.

AWS is dedicated to building and staffing data centers today, developing the talent it will need for tomorrow’s workforce and supporting the communities in which it operates. As cloud adoption continues to rise and new applications emerge, California remains at the forefront of this revolution, leveraging cloud computing to foster innovation, improve efficiency, and shape a better future.

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