Sustainability report


Sustainability is a fundamental pillar of who we are.

On a global scale, the Internet and the ICT sector are responsible for high levels of energy waste and environmental pollution. We are part of that industry, but we want to take responsibility and do what we can to lower our negative impact. This starts with hosting, as this takes up most of our energy consumption.

But green hosting at Greenhost means more than just green energy and CO₂ compensation: from the start, we have aimed at using as little energy as possible and this is still crucial in every decision we make. By openly publishing our Sustainability Report, we wish to showcase how Greenhost isn't just a name.

My name is Mercedes, UX researcher and designer with a keen interest in sustainability. I helped Greenhost shape this report, and will guide you through it — in an electric vehicle, of course.

As with every good road trip, we will make a few stops along the way:

  • Three Rs is where you can see what we do to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
  • Energy is where you will learn about our electricity consumption, both in our data centres and at our office.
  • Food showcases our efforts to adapt our office menu in order to reduce emissions.
  • Transportation covers our greenhouse gas emissions related to traveling; how we compensate these emissions; and gives you information on how, where and why we travel.
  • Conclusion, the final stop of our journey, gives you references, resources and reading material about our choices and our goals.

Three Rs

At Greenhost we practice the three "R" words of waste management: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.


We do our best to only buy what we really need.

We have a person in charge of what food needs to be bought. This person is also made aware when we have to throw away food, to prevent it from happening again.

For instance, we vary the amount of food we buy each day, since the amount of people coming to the office changes. This practice helped us prevent waste and save money: it's a win-win.

We tried different catering services, but in the end realised that by arranging it ourselves, it's easier to make sure everything we get is organic, while creating less waste.


We try to buy second-hand as much as we can: our office is pretty much Recycle Central.

For example, we only bought 2 chairs in 2019 – both pre-owned.

Our second hand furniture
Our second-hand furniture.


At the office, we have dedicated places for paper, plastic and glass waste, which the Amsterdam municipality collects.

We use all the recycling options available in Amsterdam. This means that we separate paper, plastic and glass waste in our office. Additionally, we try to give away as much of our discarded electronics as possible. What cannot be used anymore gets recycled. We use IT-Recycling for recycling old hard disks.


In 2017, Greenpeace estimated that the IT sector is responsible for 7 percent of global electricity consumption.

At Data Centres

Iron Mountain (formerly Evoswitch) located near Amsterdam is our main infrastructure provider. We host over 20,000 websites on our own hardware colocated in the data centre.

For our Human Rights work in Southeast Asia we are colocated with our own hardware in a Telstra data centre.

For work in the Americas we make use of Colohouse, located in Miami, close to South America.

The last two data centres are less focused on sustainability than our Amsterdam data centre. Unfortunately, we did not have a lot of choice in that matter. Our priority was finding two data centres in spots that would enable us to provide a fast and stable connection for human rights defenders in Southeast Asia and the American continent. This is an area of continued attention to us.

Amsterdam (2019)

Energy Sources

100% Dutch wind energy

Energy Usage


What an average Amsterdam household uses in 33 years.[1].

Energy Efficiency

Very Efficient -PUE[2] 1.2

Power Usage
Data Centre
Efficieny (DCiE)
Level of efficiency
1.2 83% Very Efficient
1.5 67% Efficient
2.0 50% Average
2.5 40% Inefficient
3.0 33% Very Inefficient

Southeast Asia (2019)

Energy Sources

No information available.

Energy Usage


What an average Amsterdam household uses in 10 years. [1]

Energy Efficiency

Efficient -PUE[2] <1.5

Power Usage
Data Centre
Efficieny (DCiE)
Level of efficiency
1.2 83% Very Efficient
1.5 67% Efficient
2.0 50% Average
2.5 40% Inefficient
3.0 33% Very Inefficient

Miami (2019)

Energy Sources

No information available

Energy Usage


What an average Amsterdam household uses in 8 years. [1]

Energy Efficiency

Average -PUE[2] <1.7.

Power Usage
Data Centre
Efficieny (DCiE)
Level of efficiency
1.2 83% Very Efficient
1.5 67% Efficient
2.0 50% Average
2.5 40% Inefficient
3.0 33% Very Inefficient

At our Office

To complete the picture of the energy consumption, here is our energy consumption at the Amsterdam office. While we do our best to keep consumption at minimum, our office houses servers that store company data and development (staging) environments, which means our office consumption is never zero — even during Corona lockdowns.

Our office (2019-2020)

Energy Sources

Mix of 100% Dutch wind and solar energy

Energy Usage (2019)


What an average Amsterdam household uses in 6 years.[1].

Energy Consumption (2019-2020)

Our energy supplier

We chose Pure Energie as our office electricity provider, because they:

  • Provide us with a sustainable mix of Dutch wind (98.6%) and solar (1.4%) energy;
  • Their investment strategy is sound - a significant amount of their profits are invested in sustainable energy sources;
  • They have scored 10 out of 10 for 7 consecutive years in the yearly sustainability report published by the Dutch Consumer Union (Consumentenbod).
Pure Energie has a perfect score of 10/10.
Image source: "Pure Energie"
  • [1]: The yearly average electricity consumption of an Amsterdam household is estimated at 2990kWh according to City Centre Retreat
  • [2]: PUE is a ratio that describes how much energy is used by the actual computing equipment at a data centre, versus the energy consumption of overhead, e.g. cooling.


Free organic vegetarian and vegan lunches for employees working in the office.


Since the simplest way to reduce our emissions is to not eat meat, we provide vegetarian and plant-based lunch options.

Image source: BBC article on how plant-based diets can fight climate change.

Food procurement policy

We have a policy of buying seasonal, local, organic and sustainably grown food. That's a lot of adjectives but it reduces out footprint a lot. It means:


Our food isn't grown in greenhouses, which rely on heating, lighting and literally producing CO2 by burning fossil fuels for crops to grow "efficiently".

Additionally greenhouses leave their lights on at night, causing light pollution, the effects are largely unclear but we know it affects nocturnal wild-life.

Buying seasonal food means we get vegetables we have never heard of before, or haven't eaten in 20 years. It forces us to look up recipes for them which is sometimes impractial but it's inspiring too!

If you live in the Netherlands too, you can find out which seasonal fruits and vegetables are available on the Voedingscentrum calendar.

Locally sourced

Our food doesn't spend as many kilometers on the road to our plates. Which is still mostly done conventionally, consuming fossil fuels. Some fruits and vegetables are even transported by airplane.


As the song goes..

Hey farmer, farmer
put away that DDT now
give me spots on my apples
but leave me the birds and the bees
Big Yellow Taxi (1970) by Joni Mitchell

We've known for a long time that we need bees to pollinate our fruits and vegetables. There have been massive bee die offs for years. Which is of course very bad in itself, but it's still just an obvious superficial effect. Pesticides and in particular neonicotinoids are responsible for many other insects dying too, which has a real effect on biodiversity, for instance birds rely on insects for food.


We don't use products from greenhouses, or purchase products from areas with deforestation.


Balancing between commitment to community and responsibility to nature.

Besides commuting every weekday to the office, we travelled to attend conferences and other activities around our internet freedom and human rights projects. It is important to stay in touch with our community and (prospective) funders so we can do more work promoting human rights and internet freedom.

CO2 Emissions

19.59 tonnes

In 2019, a total of 19.59 tons of CO2 were produced due to our travel activities. This is almost the same amount as what two people living in the Netherlands produce over a year[3].


To compensate those travelling emissions, we invested 5 percent of the total travel costs in 2 equal parts: planting new trees, and investing in renewable energy.

Trees for All


We invested half of that 5 percent into planting trees through Trees for All.



The other 2.5 percent was invested in renewable energy (wind power) at Meewind.

Commuting to the office

During 2019, most of the weekdays, 12 employees commuted to the office. Half of them came by bike. Three came with NS trains and a bike. The other three people used their car. One of them is electric, another hybrid and the last one a petrol car.


Even though physically attending a conference is not a very sustainable practice, we think it is very important that we do so. We attend conferences to exchange knowledge and experiences with others. We also promote Greenhost and communicate with partners in the human rights community. We think that if we don't attend these conferences, we cannot do work that is important for protecting human rights and internet freedom.

To keep it as sustainable as possible, we do have a rule: if a place is reachable by train in less than one day of travel, we take the train instead of flying.

Internet freedom projects

We travel to participate in projects regarding digital security and human rights. Through these travels we share knowledge, support partnerships and support development of open source applications.


We do our best to reduce our footprint and are making continous efforts to improve. We hope you agree.

We want to be able to provide more data: in some cases, we weren't able to acquire any. We also wish to improve on different fronts: notably, we're not happy we don't know the impact of our data centres besides our Amsterdam one. In all honesty, while we'll keep trying, we aren't optimistic about that changing in the foreseeable future. Options that satisfy our specifications are limited, and if we do find a better option, relocating infrastructure also holds a cost that we need to be sure that the migration will mitigate. For now, we do our best to make rough estimates and compensate above that estimate.

We hope that you enjoyed reading our sustainability report, and that you found the information you were looking for. We are very interested to hear what you think about this sustainability report. If there is anything more you would like to know, or information that is unclear or missing, please get in touch.