25 April 2012 – Today 10 Greenpeace activists visited the Apple flagship store in Central with 4 gigantic “black clouds’ with the text ‘iClean?’ as part of the global campaign to get the company to power its massive data centers with renewable energy instead of coal. Greenpeace activists also visited Apple stores worldwide in Canada, the United States, demanding the brand to ‘Clean our cloud’.
26 April 2012
Greenpeace activists hold large 'black cloud' balloons at the Hong Kong’s flagship Apple store. Image © Ian Alexander / Greenpeace
“Of all the IT companies we’ve examined in our recent report ‘How Clean is Your Cloud?’ Apple has the greatest potential to lead the sector in renewable energy and innovation,” said Yeung Man-yau, Greenpeace Campaigner. “Their history of out-of-the-box thinking and huge cash reserves positions them as the best IT company to transform the sector.”
“How Clean is Your Cloud?” 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found that Google and Yahoo are showing commitment to clean energy while Apple, Amazon and Microsoft rely heavily on outdated coal and nuclear energy to deliver their clouds.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. Despite their claims, they haven’t disclosed enough information about how they will provide power for their data centre in Prineville to prove that it will be powered with renewables.
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.
Companies like Google, Facebook and Yahoo are beginning to lead the sector down a clean energy pathway through innovations in energy efficiency, prioritising access to renewable energy in siting 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:
- 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.
Yeung, Man-yau, Greenpeace Campaigner
Josephine Ng, Greenpeace Senior Communications Officer