SA’s Sandton customers join Greenpeace to call for clean-energy iCloud at Apple stores

Press release - May 5, 2012
Johannesburg, 5 May 2012–Greenpeace activists visited the Sandton iStore today to urge Apple to start putting pressure on utilities like ESKOM for access to renewable energy, instead of powering their cloud with coal. The South Africans joined activists from 8 other countries and 14 stores in the United States in their call for Apple to act.

The Greenpeace activists gave customers advice on how to ask Apple for a cleaner cloud. Customers walking into the store then used Apple’s own display iPads, iPhones and Macs to create virtual campaigning hubs, where they broadcast the campaign by tweeting and posting photos of the event on Facebook.

“There is growing support from Apple’s customers – including the ones at stores today and the hundreds of thousands online – which sends a clear signal to Apple that it’s time to start pushing utilities like ESKOM for access to renewable energy instead of coal. Apple needs to catch up to companies like Google[1] and Facebook, who are taking steps to ensure that as the cloud grows, it is powered by renewable energy” said Melita Steele, climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace Africa. 

Over 200,000 people have signed Greenpeace’s petition calling on Apple to commit to powering its iCloud with clean energy, and over 100,000 people have viewed its “Apple – Introducing iCoal” video spoofing the company’s iCloud.

Greenpeace is calling on all IT companies with cloud services, including Apple, to:

  • Be more transparent about their energy usage and carbon footprint, and to share innovative solutions so that the sector as a whole can improve.
  • Commit to powering the cloud with renewable energy, and make access to renewable energy a key factor in deciding where to build future data centres.
  • Invest in or directly purchase renewable energy.
  • Demand that governments and electric utilities increase the amount of renewable electricity available on the grid.

To follow the action from the stores, follow #cleancloud on Twitter, and visit http://www.facebook.com/CleanOurCloud on Facebook.

Contact:

Fiona Musana, Greenpeace Africa Communications Director: 0798940495

Melita Steele, Greenpeace Africa climate and energy campaigner: 0725608703

San Francisco: David Pomerantz, Greenpeace International Media Officer, dpomeran[at]greenpeace.org, +001-914-584-9054

San Francisco: Gary Cook, Greenpeace International Senior Policy Analyst, , +001-202-297-2370

Further information: www.cleanourcloud.com

NOTES TO THE EDITOR:

Greenpeace International released a report, “How Clean is Your Cloud?” last month that evaluated 14 IT companies based on key elements needed to build a clean cloud, including the electricity supply chain of over 80 data centres associated with major brands. The report found that Google and Yahoo are showing commitment to clean energy while Apple, Amazon and Microsoft rely heavily on dirty, outdated coal and nuclear energy to deliver their clouds.

Apple has made an investment in solar energy to provide a part of the current power for its growing data centre in North Carolina, but they can do much more to clean up their rapidly growing iCloud.  While Apple has stated that its Prineville, Oregon facility will be “100 % renewable” they haven’t disclosed enough information about how they will provide power for that data centre. The only known plans, disclosed by the utility there, are that Apple will buy renewable energy “credits,” which may help Apple’s reputation but won’t power the iCloud with one electron more of clean energy. Apple should commit to greater transparency, follow the lead of Facebook, who has committed to power its data centres with renewable energy, and set a policy to build future data centres in locations that have access to renewable energy.  Apple can also use their market power to encourage utilities like Duke Energy, which will partly power their North Carolina data centre, to provide clean energy options and stop the use of mountaintop removal coal. 


[1] Companies like Google, Facebook and Yahoo are beginning to lead the sector down a clean energy pathway through innovations in energy efficiency, prioritizing access to renewable energy in siting their data centres, and demanding better energy options from utilities and government decision-makers.