Green Internet timeline

Background - 29 May, 2012
In 2009, Greenpeace launched it’s Cool IT campaign to urge the world’s largest IT companies to be true climate leaders by providing real climate solutions, supporting progressive climate policies and using more renewable energy. In May 2009 the first Cool IT leaderboard rated top IT companies on their pursuit of renewable energy sources, advocacy within their industry sectors and communities, and the actual energy use and carbon emission footprint facilities created.


April 23, 2013: Facebook chooses windy Iowa, USA for its next data center

Facebook announced that it is building another data center, a big one, this time in the windy state of Iowa, which currently leads the United States in electricity generated from wind with an eye-popping 25%! Read more.

April 19, 2013: Duke Energy plans to offer "renewable energy tariff"

Thanks to some pressure from Google, the largest utility company in the U.S., Duke Energy, now plans to offer a "renewable energy tariff" to its major customers, or an option to buy 100% renewable energy. This will allow Google, who also announced plans to double the size of one its data center in Duke’s territory in North Carolina, an option to power its cloud with clean energy.

Google showed how big Internet companies can use their market power to demand better, cleaner options from utilities like Duke, who still remain committed to more outdated dirty sources of electricity. Done right, this Renewable Tariff program could help North Carolina finally realize the benefits of a clean energy revolution, which Duke has blocked in the past. Read more.

March 22, 2013: Apple reveals new progress in path to 100% renewable energy

Apple released an environmental report showing that it has made real progress in its effort to power the iCloud with renewable energy, and not coal. The report disclosed an increase in the amount of renewable energy Apple is generating at its data centre in North Carolina, offered more details about its energy policy and principles, and gave significantly more information about how Apple is acquiring renewable energy, allowing its customers to have faith that Apple is meeting its ambitions with real action. Read more.

March 5, 2013: Salesforce the latest company to commit to a clean cloud

Salesforce joined the ranks of a growing club of global technology companies that agree that a green cloud is important to their growth, and that a truly green cloud must be powered by renewable energy.

Salesforce's rapid growth means that it will need more data centers soon to store its clients' data. That means using more electricity, which is why it’s so important that Salesforce has committed to grow using renewable energy. Read more.

September 26, 2013: Google's new wind power deal shows real corporate leadership

Google announced that it is purchasing 48 megawatts of clean, renewable wind power for its data center in Oklahoma, USA. That’s enough clean energy to power a small city! Google’s announcement shows what the most forward-thinking, successful companies can accomplish when they are serious about powering their operations with clean energy. Read more.


August 1, 2012: Facebook shows it means business in mission to Unfriend Coal

Facebook published its 2011 energy and carbon footprint data and announced a 2015 goal of powering 25% of the platform with renewable energy, setting an important benchmark for the company to fulfill its goal to be fully powered by clean and renewable energy.

The news shows that the company means business and wants the world – including all of you who helped change Facebook – to follow its progress. Read more.

June 22, 2012: eBay ditches the coal-powered grid for its data center

Ebay, the online auction house known for helping millions to buy and sell their stuff, made a savvy purchase of in June, 2012 when it bought fuel cells to power one of its data centres in the United States. More importantly, it set up those fuel cells in a way that allows the data centre to run independently from the electricity grid, which in that part of the U.S. is heavily powered by coal, the fossil fuel that destroys communities and causes climate change. Read more.

May 17, 2012: Apple responds to customers, announces it will power its cloud with renewable energy!

After hundreds of thousands of Apple customers and Greenpeace supporters asked the company to use clean energy instead of dirty coal, it announced a significant investment in local renewable energy to power its data centre in North Carolina, US. The announcement showed that Apple took seriously the hundreds of thousands of its customers who have asked for an iCloud powered by clean energy and came on the heels of a Greenpeace demonstration at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino where activists delivered messages from customers and supporters around the world. Read more.

April 17, 2012: Clean Our Cloud launch

Clan Our Cloud

The tech industry is dominated by a few very large companies who can lead by example in choosing to quit coal. Thanks to you, Facebook already has. So we are pushing Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple — three of the largest owners of data centres in the world — to make the switch to clean energy. Read more.

February 5, 2012: Cool IT leaderboard

Cool IT Leaderboard

Pitching global IT companies against each other to find who comes out top in the fight to stop climate change, the 5th edition of the Leaderboard compares the firms on their IT Climate Solutions, IT Energy Impact and Political Advocacy.

The Leaderboard recognizes Cisco, Ericsson, and Fujitsu for detailing how their innovations are leading toward significant emission reductions. Softbank stands out as leading efforts to move Japan away from dirty energy (especially significant in the wake of Fukushima), and Google, Dell, and Cisco earn praise for sourcing more than 20% of global infrastructure energy use from renewable sources.

Greenpeace's own [E]nergy Revolution blueprint outlines a sustainable pathway for a transition to having 95% of global energy needs met by renewable energy by 2050. Read more.

December 2012: Victory: Facebook friends renewable energy

Facebook unfriends coal

After close to two years of agitation and negotiation we help convince Facebook to commit to running on clean, renewable energy. More than 800,000 people from all over the world participated in this influential effort, which sends a clear message to energy producers: invest now in renewable energy, and move away from coal power.

Greenpeace and Facebook unite to promote renewable energy, encouraging major utilities to develop renewable energy sources (See the agreement here), and committing to help Facebook users save energy and engage their communities in clean energy decisions. Read more.


September 8, 2011: Google comes clean on energy use

Google comes clean on energy use

After continuous requests from Greenpeace, Google finally releases information specifying how much energy it takes to provide searches, email, YouTube videos — in short, the entirety of Google services. Google previously maintained that this information was a "trade secret", but it becomes one of the first big internet companies to be transparent about its energy use. Google reveals that it uses 2,259,998 MWh of electricity and its operations produce 1,457,982 metric tones of CO2e. The largest proportion of electricity use comes from Google's datacenters, which produce (together with Google offices) 1,226,350 metric tones of CO2e.

To the company's credit, Google had used renewable power for 25% of its operations in 2010 and vows to increase this to 35% in 2012 through direct investment in renewable energy. Read more.

May 2011: Dirty Talking - A case for telecom to shift from diesel to renewable

Dirty Talking

Greenpeace India publishes "Dirty Talking", which urges the telcom industry to shift from diesel to renewable power sources. It highlights the damaging effects of diesel generators on India's economy and environment and calls for the country's most visible telecom provider to shift its network towers to clean, renewable energy and not dirty diesel.

At this point, the telecom industry in India relies heavily on diesel generators to compensate for the inadequacies of India's power grids, which adds six-million tones of CO2 per year to the atmosphere. Read more.

April 2011: The Dirty Data Triangle of North Carolina

The Dirty Data Triangle of North Carolina

Greenpeace releases How Dirty Is Your Data?, a telling report that hones in on North Carolina's emerging role as a dirty data epicenter, being home to datacenters for Facebook, Google, and Apple. Thanks to a reliance on coal power, the area, in western North Carolina, is quickly dubbed the Dirty Data Triangle. Read more.

April 2011: New Greenpeace Report Digs up the Dirt on Internet Data Centers

Dirty Talking

Greenpeace's groundbreaking report, How Dirty Is Your Data?, provides initial illumination of the energy consequences caused by the world's giant data storage facilities. Research reveals that these data centers consume 1.5 to 2% of global energy demand (3% in the U.S.) – and the rate is growing at a rate of 12% a year. The report urges all leading Internet companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and Apple to be more transparent about the amount and sources of energy they use and make the switch to clean energy to power their data centers. Read more.

April 2011: Facebook World Record set

Facebook World Record set

Greenpeace -- thanks to more than 80,000 inspired Facebook members, makes it into Guinness Book of World Records. The Facebook 'Unfriend Coal' Campaign makes history for earning the most Facebook comments within a 24-hour period. Read more.

March 2011: Google Ups the Ante on Clean Energy Lobbying

Google launches a lobbying campaign specifically aimed at clean energy, a concern consistently at the top of its awareness efforts. Correspondingly, Google earns consistently high scores for political advocacy on the Greenpeace Cool IT Leaderboard ranking of climate leadership.

While the president's State of the Union address articulates a goal of having have 80% of electricity in the U.S. come from renewable sources by 2035, Google's efforts suggest growing public skepticism about what's achievable in this political climate. Read more.


December 2010: Cisco, Ericsson, Fujitsu Top Cool IT Leaderboard

Cisco, Ericsson, Fujitsu Top Cool IT Leaderboard

At the climate negotiations Cancun, Greenpeace releases the fourth version of the COOL IT Leaderboard, which awards top marks to Cisco, Ericsson and Fujitsu. Cisco holds onto the highest rank for its commitment to building climate solutions, such as remote collaboration, connected workplace, connected buildings and telecommute offerings, and demonstration of sound methodology in calculating their potential to cut carbon emissions across other sectors of the economy. Read more.

October 2010: Google, Sony & Cisco Back Strong EU Emissions Goal

Google and Sony make a noteworthy commitment to climate advocacy. The two Cool IT Leaderboard companies sign a declaration calling on the European Union to set a 30% greenhouse gas reduction target. Read More.

September 2010: Executive Director of Greenpeace to CEO of Facebook: Unfriend Coal!

Facebook users across the globe join up to tell Facebook to get off of coal. A Greenpeace group urging Facebook not to use dirty energy to power our profiles grows quickly to more than half a million, a significant demonstration of public comprehension that becomes critical in light of Facebook's announcement that it plans to build its second data center in North Carolina. North Carolina is supplied by Duke Energy that uses coal for more than 60% of its power. Read more.

August 2010: Google Defends Green Tech and California's Climate Bill

At an event hosted at Google's headquarters, Google's Green Energy Czar, Bill Weihl, emphasizes how critical the preservation of California's climate bill — AB32 — is to innovation and the state's economy. Proposition 23, a ballot initiative backed by oil companies, threatens to kill the existing climate legislation if it passes in November.

In opposition, Texas oil companies Valero and Tesoro, back a ballot initiative to crush AB32. This pair has four facilities on the list of the top 15 worst polluters in California, according to a study by the Ella Baker Center also released Tuesday. Read more.

May 2010: Leaderboard Launch Shows IT Companies Need to Get Political!

At the Green:Net conference in San Francisco, Greenpeace launches Version 3 of our Cool IT Leaderboard to an audience of tech companies and reporters. It highlights the growing clean energy revolution, and explains how IT can help us monitor our electricity usage push us toward using more renewables. The conference also details how IT is building the smart grid and smart electricity metering. Read more.

May 2010: Make IT Green: Cloud Computing and its Contribution to Climate Change

This Greenpeace report introduces the idea that cloud computing devices, which offer users access to the "cloud" of online services like social networks and video streaming, can contribute to a much larger carbon footprint of the IT sector than previously estimated.

The report builds on previous industry research showing that at current growth rates data centers and telecommunication networks will consume about 1,963 billion kilowatts hours of electricity in 2020 — more than triple their current consumption and more than the current electricity consumption of France, Germany, Canada and Brazil combined. The report also shows how IT can avert climate chaos by becoming a transformative force advocating for solutions that increase the use of renewable energy. Read more.

February 2010: Greening Facebook From Within

Greening Facebook From Within

In step with Facebook's plan to build a massive, primarily coal-powered data center in Oregon, Greenpeace members express a clear demand, spread on the social network, that it must be powered by clean, renewable energy sources.

In addition to keeping coal from powering Facebook profile pages, big electricity consumers are urged to use their influence to demand policies that dramatically increase the supply of renewable electricity being put on the grid. Read more.


October 2009: IT Not Yet Cool Enough to Help Reduce Global Warming

The Smart 2020 report, commissioned by the IT industry, outlines how IT solutions have the potential to cut global greenhouse gas emissions by a remarkable 15% by 2020.

Clear public support for strong emissions reductions constitutes key scoring criteria on the Cool IT leaderboard, along with a company's measurable, economy wide climate solutions and reducing their own emissions. IBM, HP and Fujitsu earn the top 3 places in this early round of assessments  but no company scores above 50/100. Read more.

March 2009: Greenpeace sets Climate Leadership Challenge for the IT industry

Launch of the Cool IT Challenge calling on the CEOs of the IT industry to provide real solutions for the imminent threat of global warming while also tackling the current economic crisis by turning climate change into a business opportunity.

Greenpeace laid down its challenge to the CEOs of Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, Google, HP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Nokia, Panasonic, Sharp, Sony, Sun Microsystems and Toshiba. Read more.