Greenpeace activists stage ‘cloud cleaning’ demonstration at Toronto Apple store

Feature story - April 24, 2012
Today, Greenpeace activists staged a demonstration at the Apple store in Toronto’s Eaton Centre as part of a campaign to get the company to power its massive data centres with renewable energy instead of coal.

Greenpeace activists descend on the Toronto apple store to protest Apple's coal powered iCloud.


Activists floated a ‘dirty’ cloud made of over two hundred black balloons above the store’s entrance. Inside the store, activists covered devices with signs that read ‘Cloud Cleaning in Progress’ and spoke with employees about Apple’s use of dirty energy to power its cloud.

“As Canadians become increasingly reliant upon cloud technology, they want to use their iPhones and iPads knowing that our cloud is being powered by clean energy, not dirty pollution from coal and nuclear energy,” said Christy Ferguson, climate and energy unit head for Greenpeace Canada.

Last week, Greenpeace released its “How Clean is Your Cloud?” report, which evaluated 14 information technology 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found that Google and Yahoo are showing commitment to clean energy while Apple, Amazon and Microsoft rely heavily on outdated coal and nuclear energy to deliver their clouds.

“Of all the IT companies we’ve examined, Apple has the greatest potential to lead the sector in renewable energy and innovation,” said Ferguson. “Their history of out-of-the-box thinking and huge cash reserves position them as the best IT company to transform the sector.”

Companies like Google, Yahoo! and Facebook are beginning to lead the sector toward a clean energy future through innovations in energy efficiency and by prioritizing renewable energy access when building their data centres and demanding better energy options from utilities and government decision-makers.

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

  • Share innovative solutions to improve the rest of the sector;
  • Implement more transparent measures relating to their energy usage and carbon footprint;
  • Commit to powering the cloud with renewable energy;
  • Prioritize renewable energy when deciding where to build future data centres;
  • Invest in or directly purchase renewable energy;
  • Demand governments and electric utilities to increase the amount of renewable electricity available on the grid.

Alongside the Toronto protest, Greenpeace activists also demonstrated at Apple stores in San Francisco and New York today asking Apple to “Clean our Cloud”.

Urge Apple to power our cloud with renewable energy.