Customers join Greenpeace to call for clean-energy iCloud at Apple stores

Press release - 2012-05-05
5 May 2012 – Apple customers joined Greenpeace’s activities around the world today to ask Apple for a cleaner cloud as part of a campaign to get the company to power its massive data centres with renewable energy instead of coal. In Hong Kong Greenpeace activists played off the theme of Apple’s “genius bar” by setting up their own “Supergenius bars” near of store in Central, where they gave customers advice on how to ask Apple for a cleaner cloud. Besides Hong Kong, activists around the world visited Apple Stores in 20 other cities.

“The growing support from Apple’s customers – including the ones at stores today and the hundreds of thousands online – should send a signal to Apple that it’s time to catch up to companies like Google, Facebook, and Yahoo, who are taking steps to ensure that as the cloud grows, it grows in a clean way,” said Yeung Man-yau, Greenpeace Campaigner. 

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 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that Google and Yahoo are showing commitment to clean energy while Apple, Amazon and Microsoft rely heavily on dirty, outdated coal and nuclear energy to deliver their clouds.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. 

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.  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.

Online Petition

Media Contact

Yeung, Man-yau, Greenpeace Campaigner  
2854 8337 / 9648 5995

Josephine Ng, Greenpeace Senior Communications Officer  
Phone 28548332 / 9704 6210